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.

October 1, 2017: Matthew 18:21-35 (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.[a] 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.[b] 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant[c] fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii,[d] and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers,[e] until he should pay all his debt.35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Found at Bible Gateway

Timeline of Message

  • 0:05 What are the top 5 things to spill in your car?
  • 1:30 What do we do when there is bad "spill" in your life?
  • 2:35 How do we experience peace within our spill?
  • 3:00 If we do not contain it, things lead to bitterness and even wishing malice towards others.
  • 3:50 Ironically the person who wronged you becomes consuming and they becomeyour god just do towards your efforts, attention and energy.
  • 5:30 Satan loves to lead us to this point as we are consumed with bitterness
  • 6:45 Have you ever noticed how anger and malice becomes all consuming and will start to spread all across our lives?
  • 7:20 So how should we respond when the "spill" comes or when someone mistreats you?
  • 9:00 You have to forgive when someone sins against you.
  • 9:47 The way of Jesus is to forgive. Forgive the one who has hurt you.
  • 10:15 Forgiveness is releasing the punishment for what someone deserves.
  • 11:41 Jesus wants us to forgive. He wants us to release them of the penalty.
  • 12:10 Notice he says release not "remember". 
  • 13:00 It's hard to forget, so please notice God says to release/ to forgive the wrongdoing
  • 13:50 Don't feel guilty for remembering.
  • 15:00 Are we going to reflect God by the way we treat others?
  • 16:00 Story of Rich and his son and sharing a pickle
  • 17:30 Realize that we are representing Christ in our everyday lives. We are reflecting the character of God. Does your life reflect God's forgiveness?
  • 20:00 Are we consistently sharing with others what has been shared with us? Are we consistently forgiving others as Christ has forgiven us?
  • 22:45 Forgiveness is not an affirmation of bad behavior. Instead, it is controlling your response. You can not control what that other person has done.
  • 25:00 Forgiveness cannot control the behavior of the individual. 
  • 25:30 Forgiveness is not putting you in the exact same spot to be hurt again.
  • 26:15 Forgiveness does not mean that your relationship will be back to normal. This is where the church comes in, getting affirmation from an encouraging body of believers.
  • 28:40 God commands us to forgive not forget.
  • Practical Application
    • Pray "God bless those that harm you"
    • Acknowledge the hurt, don't stuff the hurt. Acknowledge the hurt to someone.
    • We need to saturate ourselves in the Gospel. The good news is that Jesus took your punishment. It reminds us that we have wronged others. Memorize Gospel related verses.
    • Speak positive things to or about the person who wronged you. It fulfills God's law to love your neighbor
    • You need to tell someone you are "taking a pass." Let someone know you that you are forgiving to help you in your journey.
  • 36:30 We received the best of God thorugh the person of Jesus Christ.
  • 37:20 Will you today (forgive) release the wrath that is owed to others as Christ has done for you.

September 17, 2017: Peace in the Midst of Pain (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage John 16:25-33

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.[a] 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Found at Bible Gateway

Timeline of Message

0:05 What we see in the world today is pain.
1:19 Many times pain can be the thing that moves us away from God. It can be really challenging.
1:40 Often in the midst of pain we are trying to find comfort.
2: 16 Often we say "God is in control." I'm not saying that's false, but say that to the mother who just lost there child.
3:45 Often we say "God has a plan." Is it's God's plan for a father who was taken away by cancer and leaves behind an 8 month year old.
5:00 Suffering and evil exists because we live in a broken world.
6:00 Jesus stated in John 16 in the tribulation I give you peace.
6:50 This "Peace" is not an experience, it is a gift from God. 
7:49 "Peace is a quite goodness in my being."
8:40 You can have peace through the presence of God
10:00 Jesus was giving peace through the presence of God. A great example of this is found in Psalm 23 when he states "I will fear no evil, Your rod and they staff they comfort me.
11:10 However, many of us are concerned about the "presents" instead of the presence.
13:00 Should we not be incredibly excited about the presence of God, regardless of any "stuff" comes with it.
13:50 We can have peace because of the promised inheritance.
15:04 In heaven we will have the blessing of being in the presence of God
16:40 Unlike a house or a car our inheritance will not decay
18:23 This is why people can walk into a mission field knowing their is a machete or some sort of harm that can be awaiting them. They are excited about their inheritance.
19:30 The promise of Peace  comes because the presence of God will always be here
20:00 Okay, we can know it, but what is some practical application.
21:00 We need to surround ourselves with people.
21:35 You might not need help, but someone else probably does
22:30 We need to elevate our awareness of the fact that the presence of God is always with us
23:00 We should pray "Jesus, than you for being with me as I do ______"
24:50 Memorize eternity verses
26:00 We also need to realize that pain is coming if you are not already going through it. Are you prepared for pain tomorrow?
27:10 If you are prepared for pain tomorrow, you can be the presence of Peace and you can extend that peace to others
27:50 Will you take steps today to have stillness in a fidgeting world?

September 10, 2017: Matthew 9 (Rich Merkouris)

Sermon Notes

00:00          As Jesus passed on from there he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth and he said to him Follow me. And he rose and followed him and as Jesus reclined at table in the house behold many tax collectors and sinners came in were reclining with Jesus and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this they said to His disciples Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners. But when he heard it he said those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means.


00:32          I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I came not to call the righteous but sinners.


00:40          The word of the Lord.


00:42          How many of you have ever been snipe hunter? Not very many. Let me tell you, snipe hunting is one of the greatest experiences. If you don't know what a snipe look likes, we've got a picture here from Wikipedia of what a snipe actually looks like. That's what you're hunting . You're trying to capture it. I've found the best snipe any method is a pillowcase and a flashlight. So what you want to do is you've got to go to an area where there's a lot of trees away from city lights kind of out in the dark because what you do is you stick to. What you call your pillowcase. Then get your flashlight and shine the flashlight through the pillowcase and then make some special sounds.


01:32          OK so what we're going to do this morning is for the next three minutes everything we talk about and do cannot leave this room. OK.

Raise your hand if you're in agreement with me for the next three minutes OK. Most of the time anything I say I want you to repeat out in the streets but we don't want to give away any secrets today.

OK. So when you're snipe hunt you take a pillow case in here put Take a flashlight and do this Snipes. Snipes like stuff like that. Take lots of practice together ok and in tone. And what do you call it when you're on the right note melody whatever you call I don't alter the pitch pitch. Thank you. Yes. So it's all got to you right.


02:15          OK. So let's practice this together ok. Side. Some of you aren't participating. Folks folks snipe hunting only works if you call them in. OK. Don't be afraid they're not going to come through the roof. They're not attracted in city lights on the explosives practice one more time so that when you do go with me you're prepared. OK here we go. One two three. All right. We're we're getting there. So what you do is you take your pillow case you take that out and you get out there and you put the flashlight in and you call them in and let me tell you when you call them in.


02:57          It gets wild. I mean sometimes you'll get three or four at the same time in your pillow case and that pillow case is just whipping around.


03:08          And so you've got to hold that pillowcase tight though.


03:11          Now I apologize if there's anyone in this morning with a sore stomach. But here's what you have to do. You've got to keep going like this. I hope the public is tight. And


03:19          so last night in the pillow case you can get really sore.


03:24          So this is now this is dangerous. OK. Now watch your neighbor very carefully. But because not everybody's doing this motion all the time we got to kind of practice this motion OK. So let's get your use your right hand or left and watch your neighbor OK.


03:37          So now you've got somebody you got couple in the pillow case. Come on. OK. OK. That's what it's like. Can you imagine the fun.


03:46          Who wants to me here tonight at 9:30. We'll head out to the Thornburg farm. It's a great time. Of my favorite memories ever was heading over to Minnesota going up to a gopher game when I was in college we took a buddy with here from Sioux Falls Mustafa's and my grandparents along the way and we took him snipe honey.


04:05          It was all a lot of fun.


04:07          Because it was thirty five minutes until he returned from the grove into the house. Because if you haven't caught on it. There actually is no snide Paani gate.


04:20          Now remember I said you can't leave this room snipe hunting is a show. It's a great joke to play on people. He was out there for 35 minutes with his pillowcase and flashlight just waiting. It was great. He came in just a little frustrated when he realized that he was hunting but there was nothing to be caught.


04:48          He was going through all of the motions. He had everything exactly right. But in reality it was all a game.


04:57          Sadly many of us are snipe hunting when it comes to religion.


05:20          We're hoping to get something by going through some specific motions. This morning God's word Jesus hopefully is going to refine our hearts and challenges us.

and say Are you a sniper in or are you actually getting what God wants. Because there's a big difference. And so this morning we're going to ask ourselves to reflect on three questions in this next week and ask that you reflect on these three questions to examine your own hearts.


05:52          So when Matthew Chapter 9 we encountered Jesus dealing with a tax collector


06:03          And he comes up and he says to a tax collector follow me and this causes all sorts of a ruckus because tax collectors are not well liked Not only are they not well liked they're hated they're despised. They're on the outskirts. They're not just people who are opposed to Jews. They're actually people who the Jews think are working directly against them. On offense you could say the Jews look at the tax collectors and say that the tax collectors are on offense against God because they're working for the Roman Empire.


06:38          So, Jesus really shake things up when he says “hey come along Matthew (a tax collector) let's go.” And so that causes all sorts of ruckus because then what happens next.


07:04          Matthew doesn't hang out with religious people. So why would somebody expect there to be religious people at Matthew's house. So Jesus goes to Matthew's house for a party who's there tax collectors and other sinners or people who are religious.


07:19          You've got Jesus the leader of the biggest religious movement at that moment in time Jesus. Jesus was the one who is claiming to be the Jewish Messiah.


07:32          Now Jesus is in this environment which the Jews would despise.


07:38          And this was getting under the religious leaders skin. They're not happy about this.


08:00          Matthew 9 verse 11.Now isn't this classic church life. You're grumbling and you're unhappy. Who do you talk to? Not the one who can do anything about it but somebody else. Is this not humanity it happens all the time. A little passive aggressive approach. I'm going to bring it up and then bring it up over here to the disciples. The religious leaders do this all of the time. They're caught grumbling but they never grumble directly to Jesus. They grumble to themselves, they grumble to each other or they grumble to the disciples but never to Jesus.


08:49          Why? Because they know Jesus is the one who has authority. They've seen it in action. They get caught and get proven wrong. Oh you are stuck. We don't know how to respond to that. And so the religious here want to kind of stay religious and safe. But Jesus catches what they're saying and then Jesus comes right at them. He comes right at the religious leaders and we might not see here so much as an attack, but this is a direct attack as pinpoint in sharp as it can come. Notice what he says to the religious leaders. Verse 13, “Jesus says Go and learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice.”

In other words Jesus is quoting to them Old Testament prophets.


09:42          Now he's quoting this to religious leaders who what study Old Testament prophets. These Old Testament prophets said brought down wrath had brought down the anger of God at different times.

Now these prophets Jesus is quoting what. Against the one who studies these prophets.


10:01          These religious leaders would have known these words well. They would have known what the prophet Isaiah specifically said at different times and recorded in Isaiah Chapter 58 about how your festivals and how your celebrations are worthless in the sight of God.

And now Jesus is saying this about them. He's saying this to the religious leaders. This should cause all of us to stop in our tracks.


10:46          Why?


10:53          You and I are some of the most religious people in the whole world. We would be considered one percenters when it comes to religion. And that's that's not a bad thing.


11:06          We have to recognize that Jesus harshest words were for the religious people.

11:20         He confronts the religious leaders festivals sort of saying “Well the seven days that you took off from work and you sacrificed and came and held the festival. Guess what. It was meaningless.”


11:58          This is an attack at their very core of their identity, saying hey what you enjoy and what you participate in it's meaningless.


12:12          Now here's where it gets challenging and catch this very clearly. Who instituted the things that the religious leaders were practicing?


This is very important.


12:50          And now And now God is saying to the people, “this stuff that you're doing which I told you to do is worthless.” Well I can imagine how much that would hurt. W


13:03          is it worth less because they've abandoned the very heart of the one who instituted the practices.


13:12          When you read the prophets in the Old Testament. What they get really angry about is that when God's people are holding all of these festivals they are not showing any loving kindness or compassion to people who are different.

When there's not even any loving kindness or compassion to the orphan or the widow to the alien or stranger in their midst, that's when the harshest words come.


13:53          Why? Because when you're not doing those things you're neglecting the very heart of the God who instituted those practices.


14:05          And so you can practice the very things that God ordained and miss the God who ordained them.


14:21          It's because practices are just that their practices. They're in out flow.

Their activity activity can be meaningless if there's not heart activity behind appearance is extremely deceiving.


14:57          There's churches filled all throughout our community, all throughout this country in the world with people finally dressed in absolutely no fear of the Living God. And there's people all throughout this country that showed up this morning in flip flops to worship and they fear God. They know that if they do not obey, there are consequences.


15:22          Appearances can be very deceiving.


15:27          Is there anything wrong with wearing a tie? Absolutely not. Actually feels pretty good.

Is there anything wrong with not wearing a tie? Absolutely not. That's just fine as well.


15:38          But there is something wrong with getting excited in either direction. Because we're getting excited about activity rather than the heart behind the activity.

This morning, Jesus is calling out and reminding us and asking us are you just going through the motions. Are you just going through the motions? That's question number one for us to reflect on this next week.

16:14          Some might say, “Pastor, It's important that we go through these motions and these traditions that we've put in place.” Absolutely, I haven't said anything negative about a tradition this morning at all.


16:27          However traditions are extremely dangerous. Because they can give the appearance of righteousness and religiosity when you don't have it. Remember Jesus harshest words were for those who are the most faithful with their traditions.

However, I would encourage some of you this morning. I think it would be helpful for some of you to actually develop some traditions because traditions can be healthy. Traditions can remind us of things in the midst of society.


17:04          Everybody's gone every direction. We need something to come back and remind us of what's true and what's good. So there's nothing wrong with traditions.


17:15          Yesterday, I was at a Catholic wedding yesterday. I disagree with a lot that's going on but there can be extremely powerful traditions. For example the reverence that they show for the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. That's huge. That's good. And when the priest comes forward after the wedding yesterday and someone is asking “why was he doing all that stuff in the back there before he turned around.” Well they believe this about the presence of God and they believe this about coming onto the altar. All of that stuff is really symbolic of a greater reality behind it. And when you keep the greater reality along with the symbol then it's a good thing.


18:11          But if you just have the symbol, it becomes very dangerous really quick. But some of us will maybe it helpful to have some traditions things that would keep us grounded and reminded. And so here's what I ask you to think about when it comes to your tradition.


18:28          Can you answer the why? Why do you do this or why do you want to do this?

“it's always done it that way. We grew up that way.” That's horrible thinking. There's a lot of bad stuff that can be done because of that.


18:49          So for example and I don't mean to make a deal out of this today but we just dedicated a child today. Guess what? That's a tradition. that's a practice. Nowhere in the Bible does it say dedicate your child. OK. That's a tradition that was instituted by human beings.


There's nothing wrong about it at all. It's a good thing to stand up and ask a group of people “hey we want you to come around us we want to make it publicly known we want our child raised in a Christian home.” That's a great thing.


19:18          It's a tradition that in the moment that you do it, you can say  “Oh yeah. Good to go.”


19:27          OK you've missed the whole point of what it represents.

So am I going through the motions here? When Jesus is focusing on challenging us on going through the motions, what he's really getting at is is he getting at his call.


19:43          Look with me in Matthew 9. What does Jesus say to Matthew? He says follow me. Now we see these words in the Bible and we go “Well yes, Jesus is physically present there it makes sense for the guy to get up and literally follow Jesus.That's not for us today.”

OK. No. Jesus call for use to be a follower of Christ is just as real for you and I today as it was for Matthew sitting in that tax collector booth. If it's not as real, then all we're doing is this we're just taking what we want from Jesus and holding on to a little something to try and give us hope. Look with me in Matthew 28 verse 18.


20:50         Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” Disciple is another word for follower or a word for learner.


20:56          Disciple was not of one generation activity. It was meant for every generation in every nation for all time until Jesus returns. And so the call to you today is to be a follower of Jesus Christ in the same way that Matthew was.


21:46          The best way to think of it is this. A follower is an apprentice. It's a person who gets trained by someone who knows what they're doing and what you are supposed to be able to what replicate what that person is doing. That's what a disciple of Jesus was. They were following their Rabbi Jesus learning everything and trying to put it into practice today.  You and I are called the apprentices of Jesus Christ.


22:12          Think of it this way, you and I are called to have our lives revolve around Jesus. Everything in our life is supposed to revolve around Jesus. When I had kids everything changed. Before we had kids, everything revolves around me in our household. It worked really, really well.


22:30          The kids changed everything. On Christmas Eve and before we had kids this is going to sound horrible as your pastor and Christmas Eve our tradition was this watch diehard great Christmas movie. We are kids all of a sudden what I can watch Diehard anymore on Christmas Eve. Before kids came along. When I make breakfast in the morning that's kind of I usually like to get some smoke going through the house burn the bake and burn the sausage over that God. So before kids came along I pass fine and go to work smelling like bacon. This week I make my daughter breakfast first week in kindergarten make some sausage and I think it is a waffle that morning. Go to school or drive to school and she says to me Daddy I smell like a sausage okay.


23:18          But everything's different now. I think in advance now because everything revolves around them right. So I can't watch the same thing I want to watch on Christmas Eve. I can't cook breakfast the same way that I want to cook breakfast. Money doesn't get spent the same way.


23:33          Everything's revolved around what your children and here's the really weirdness of it all.


23:42          I lost my Die Hard and I lost smoke from bacon in the kitchen. But guess what, it's worth it and I would give it up multiple times and everyone in this room who has children will do the exact same thing.


24:06          How much more the value of Jesus Christ the Creator and the King of the universe having everything in our lives revolve around him. It's worth every sacrifice.


24:25          Are you an apprentice? Our second question this week is this, is my life marinated in Jesus?


24:42          You know what it means to marinate something right. It touches is everything.


24:51          Jesus is supposed to flavor our whole life.


25:09          Is my life marinated in Jesus?

25:24          So what is what's going on here in Matthew Chapter 9? Jesus is getting after the religious leaders because the religious leaders don't care about what Jesus cares about. They don't have an authentic relationship with God. Their life is not marinated in Jesus but also at the exact same time they're missing the whole point that Jesus is in the business of people.


25:46          And so Jesus says to them in Matthew 9, “hey those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. For I came not to call the righteous but sinners.” In other words Jesus is saying “hey religious folk you can argue all you want over there about that. But guess what the real business is over here where people need God.”


26:11          Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to bring God to bring a living relationship possible with God to people all people.


26:21          Now this is important to catch. When Jesus is in trouble here for spending time with sinners, this is not a one shot deal. It's not like Jesus was like, “Hey disciples could we set up a little PR stunt where I could get some photos with kind of the outcasts and people that aren't by the church.”

No no no. This is not a one time event.


26:45          Do you know who Jesus dines with consistently and continually? The outcast. The tax collector. The one who's far from God. So this isn't a one time event. This is every day for three years.


27:01         So how about you and I who call on the name of Jesus Christ what do we care about?


27:43          Do we care about people who are far from God?


27:48          Or do we care about our practices that give us the appearance of religiosity and righteousness?

Jesus is in the people business. So question number three. Am I concerned about people who do not know God? It's impossible to be a follower of Jesus Christ and not be concerned about people who do not know God.


28:20          IT’s impossible because if you have the DNA of Jesus Christ, you've got a heart that says I want more people to know God. Are you concerned about people who do not know God?

Let's get really personal for a moment. Can you put three people right now down on the bulletin that you're praying for that do not know God and you're making intentional efforts to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ?


28:57          This is at the heart of Jesus. We can't say we're about Jesus if we're not about what Jesus is about. Jesus is in the business of reaching people.


29:08          Now I hope you're catching onto something here you should see a little two fold approach going here. The second question was “what am I marinating my life in Jesus Christ?”

In other words, am I coming alongside and underneath the teachings of Jesus? Jesus wants us to be growing to be developing ourselves to become more mature in our understanding of Jesus Christ. It's about spiritual growth. That is Jesus wants us to understand his commandments at the exact same time (and are not in opposition to one another) at the exact same time he wants us what telling others about himself.


29:43          It's not enough to simply grow in knowledge of Jesus and not tell others about Jesus. Actually not telling others about Jesus is a reflection that you're not growing in Jesus.


30:00          If we're just snipe hunting, we're not going to care about those who are lost.


30:09          But if we're pursuing the heart of God, we're going to care about people who do not know God.


30:17          So this morning I'm asking that Jesus would liven our hearts. That he'd reawaken us to what he wants for our lives.

What does he want? He wants us to be his apprentice. He wants us to care for people who do not know God.

So those two things you can summarize by saying knowing God and making God known. That's it. Knowing God and making God known that's what God wants for your life today. So these three questions are meant to help us think about that.

Question 1, am I going through the motions? Question 2, is my life marinated in Jesus? Question 3, Am I concerned about people who do not know God. Who is this person who can walk up and say to someone else leave everything and come follow me?


31:10          That's bold to say.


31:14          Forget your family. Forget your neighbors. Come and follow me. Who is this person who can demand everything from us?

This person is the king of the universe who has existed for eternity. Jesus did not come into existence when he came to earth. He came to Earth from somewhere else, heaven. Hasn't in the reason that Jesus Christ is so concerned about people who do not know God is that Jesus Christ is well aware of what's at stake. He's well acquainted with Heaven and Hell. Jesus knows eternity. That's why when he comes he's so concerned about connecting with people who do not know God because He knows what's at stake, eternity.


32:15          Am I going to be serious about eternity?


32:18          I'm serious about eternity when I'm serious about the one who calls Jesus Christ for He is eternal. I'm serious about eternity when I'm serious about the souls of other people.


32:31          And so today would you join with me in taking six days and just reflecting on these three questions. These three questions aren't in the Bible these three questions are just things that I think God placed on my heart this morning to help us reflect upon what Jesus wants and what is teaching us. So you take the next six days and reflect on these three questions?


32:55          And just ask that God would reorient your heart to be along his heart. Am


33:01          Am I just going through the motions? Is my life marinated in Jesus? Am I concerned about people who do not know God? These three questions are worth consideration.


33:12          Not because I gave them to you, but because of the one who they represent Jesus Christ. These three questions are worth consideration because the king of the universe came on this earth and went to the cross on your behalf to give his life so that you could have life. These three questions are worth your consideration because the king of the universe went into the grave and descended into hell for


33:37          your sake, so that you would not have to descend into hell. These three questions are worth your consideration. Because Jesus Christ is worth everything we have.

So let it be said of us that our lives are marinated in Jesus. Let it be said of us that we were concerned about people who did not know God. Let us pray.


34:03          Gracious creator we come before you this morning people who we know god it's the tendency of my own heart this morning to just go through the motions. So God just reignite our hearts today with new passion, reignite our hearts with a desire and show us Lord where there's hypocrisy. And established traditions in our lives that can be healthy God that can help us live out your teachings that can help us be serious. Lord I do pray that you would put traditions in our church, put traditions in our individual lives that can help us. Lord I also pray now that Jesus would marinate in our whole life. Lord I pray that you help each of us reflect the character in the teaching and the desire the purpose of Jesus in all of life.


34:51          This morning we ask that you'd put people in our lives who don't know you.  God that you'd put us in people's lives who do not know you. Break our hearts God for eternity and give us opportunity to speak So God we ask that you make this happen. Use these next six days to prepare us for a fall season Lord when we can grow in our knowledge and that we can grow in our desire to reach people. So bless each person that's yours Lord with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Ignite our hearts for you and for your glory. In Jesus name Amen.

September 3, 2017: Psalm 96 (Doyle Burnside)

Transcript from Sermon

00:00          Good morning you heard my name is Doyle Burnside and I'm a youth ministry and worship coordinator here. And so I'm filling in for Rich and I'm excited this morning to be able to talk with you about a word called worship. And so I'm excited for this morning, and I'm excited to be here, and I'm excited that you're here with us.

00:17           Getting prepared over the last few weeks for this has been up and down for me. However, I've come in with a new awe of God this morning and how grand and how vast and how good and how big God is. So this morning that's my hope that I can relay that the grandness of God to you this morning through Psalm 96, but before we go there let's start in prayer. 

00:44          So would you pray with me. Oh, heavenly father, I'm in awe of you. I'm in awe of what you've done through Jesus Christ upon the cross and resurrection. We can have new hope and life in you. I thank you for your love and in the mercies that you've shown us, Lord. 

01:03          As we gather now, I pray that your spirit will be present Lord that you would allow me to speak boldly, your truths from Scripture and that your Spirit would be moving and working in our life as we dive into your word Lord and so would you be present with us this morning. In your name, we pray. Amen. 

01:20          Well when I first think of worship the first thing that comes to mind is music. I think for me it's a natural response so when Rich first said you're going to give a message on worship, I was like, "How about we just sing a couple extra songs and call it good." That would have been much easier, much quicker than less painful for everybody. But but I'm excited in that it is a part of worship, but not all of worship and so we're going to go to Psalm 96 and see what Psalm E6 has to tell us about worship this morning. So 

01:52          if you have your Bibles you can open up Psalm 96. "oh sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord. Bless his name. Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods for all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols. But the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty or before him. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord o families of the peoples. Ascribe to the Lord Glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. Tremble before him all the earth. 

02:42          Say among the nations the lord of. Yes, the world is established that shall never be moved. You will judge the peoples with equity on the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and all that fills it but the field exalts with everything in it then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord for he comes. For he comes to judge the earth. You will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples and his faithfulness." God's word. 

03:14          So this morning we're going to be talking again about worship, and I love this way again the psalm starts with singing or sing a new song. You people sing of his salvation. An amazing thing as we sing the power of worship and something that we just got to finish doing. As a congregation here I'm an amazing thing that we can proclaim God's truth through song together as we gather for worship. And as the Psalmist is writing, he's singing. He's saying sing a new song and that doesn't mean that we need to come every week and have new lyrics and have a fancy new riff on the keyboard or guitar or whatever, but rather a new song this new hole that can be found in Jesus Christ as he says in chapter or verse to tell of his salvation. And to people during this time would have would have been thinking of the promise of salvation that God had given that there would be a savior to come and they would see the continued salvation from their enemies throughout the time as they've gathered, but here and now we get something even better, we know who the Savior is. 

04:12          We know of Jesus Christ, and so we get to sing of his salvation in the knowledge that Jesus Christ has died on the cross for our sins. That while we were sinners, He died for us and showed us that love. We get to sing of this great work of Jesus and in awe of what Jesus has done. And so what do you worship through song. And as we sing, would we sing this new song and this new hope that is found in Christ? Would we sing of the salvation from day to day in our life? Would we worship God through song and as we sing of this salvation is good news that is given to us from God. 

04:47          And so singing, worship, that's my area. But it goes on. 

04:52          And the second thing in verse 3 is to declare. Declare or give a sermon. "Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among the peoples. For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods."

05:06          Part 2 of worship is to declare. Have sermons. Give testament. Speak of his truth to the people in our life to the nations as we gather here. As we go out, would we declare the mercies? Would we declare the works of God in our life? Declare the works of God amongst us? Would we speak boldly the work of God in our life, not just through song but through declaring through speaking through our testimony and our witness of our life. So would we sing would we declare? 

05:38          And finally, would we have these religious activities? Or as the psalm says, ascribe. Would we do these things in verse 8? "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name and bring an offering and come into his courts. Would we sing? Would we declare? And would we ascribe or would we give an offering and gather together in the courts as a congregation? An amazing thing that we can do is give an offering. 

06:07          Why? Why do we gather? Why do we call this a worship service? Because we're here in all three of these marks. We've sung. Now you're hearing me say some words from Scripture and we've just given an offering. But why do we do that? Why do we give an offering to worship? Or as verse 4 says here, "For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised." So why do we give an offering or why do we sing songs? Not so that we can find some sort of favor with God, not so that we can give a gift to God that he would have to repay us, but rather for the Lord is great and greatly to be praised. Because of worship. Because God deserves our worship not because he needs money not because he needs time not because he needs us to gather and sing but rather because great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. He deserves our glory he is worthy of our worship. 

06:56          And so we give, and we sing, and we declare because great as the Lord. You will hear me say a verse a lot today because I love it and I think it's so important. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. That's why we worship. That's why we gather. Because great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. 

07:25           Paul's writings the Romans and he writes, "Who can know the mind of the Lord or who can be the Lord's counselor, or give counsel to the Lord, or who can give an offering that would desire to be repaid or get an offering that must be repaid?" 

07:40          It's rhetorical. The answer is no one. 

07:41          Scripture says that the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom. So God doesn't need our counsel because even in his foolish moment he is still wiser than any of us could ever be. God can't have a gift that's offered because everything we have as romance continues for through God for from God and to God are all things he already has it all. He's 

08:02          created all he's the creator. He doesn't need our offering, but we offer why because great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. And I love as Romans continues in chapter 12 it says your life or present your life or your body as a living sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable. This is our spiritual worship. Again not that we would give to find favor, but rather live in sacrifice. Why? Because everything is owed to God because God is great and greatly to be praised. So this morning we worship this morning we sing this morning we declare this morning we bring an offering not to be repaid not to find favor but because great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. 

08:48          And then I love how the Psalmist continues, and he gives us this vast or this grand picture of who God is, why God is great and of what brings about that worship of him. 

09:00          For God is great and greatly to be praised. He is to be feared above all gods, for all the gods and the people are worthless idols. With the Lord who made the heavens splendor and majesty are before him. 

09:12          Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. This beautiful and grand view of who God is. He's so big. He's so great. He's so majestic. Beauty and splendor are his. 

09:28          He's above all gods, he says all the other gods of this world are the people with their worthless idols. Why? Because they were created. In this time people would go and look at the sun and how bright the sun was. Let's worship it. And the Psalmist here is reminding us. No no no. Who created the Sun God? He's the one he is. He is great. 

09:46          Why would you worship something that's created when you can worship the Creator who has splendor and majesty and strength and beauty? Who is the Creator? Who is the Savior? Who is the judge? He is King. Why do we worship? For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised. 

10:06          Because he is vast and he is glorious, and I believe that having this grand view of God is so important in our life because I believe when we get this big picture when we finally realized what God truly is, our only response can be that of worship. I truly believe that when we know who God is and we put him where he belongs above higher, greater than all else, our only true response can be that of worship. 

10:36          And all kind of dive into a few examples of why. The first is when God's glory is truly revealed to people on the earth. What is their response?

10:48          Worship! God reveals himself to Isaiah and Isaiah's response that glory is "Woe to me Greater You. I am unworthy and all of a sudden a little bit later God goes, where are you? Who can I send?

11:01           And through that glory, through that time Isaiah goes "here I am send me" what I sacrifice to you what I give to you worship because when God's glory is revealed. Worship is the response. Paul who has all the time is traveling to Damascus he is persecuting the church. God's glorious bright light shines. What is Paul's response falls on his face? 

11:25          And he asks who are you? And God is revealed, and Paul's life is forever changed. He goes to worship he gives his life a living sacrifice to the Lord when 

11:33          God's glory is revealed. John in Revelation... he's having this vision of heaven, and God's glory revealed, and he falls on his face or falls over as if he was dead. 

11:45          God you are glorious. You are great when God's glory and his greatness is revealed. The response is worship. 

11:55          I think there's a trap or a trial that we all fall into is that Satan desires for us to lessen our view of God and that can be extremely dangerous. Because when we have a lesser view or smaller picture of who God is we can go before God and we can begin to put God on trial, or we can begin to have frustration, and it brings resentments into our life when we don't truly know and remember who God truly is. 

12:27          But the last example comes from Job. If anyone had a right to complain, its Job. And I know that I'm not trying to belittle any anything's going on, but if you look at the life of Job, it just falls apart really quickly. He's a wealthy man. He's got he's got life going for him. He's got a great family. Things are going really well and all of a sudden things start to fall apart. 

12:46          Job loses his livestock, his livelihood. It goes away. It's destroyed. It's taken from him. Then his sons and daughters are gathering for this huge festival in the celebration. And the house collapses, and everyone but one servant dies, and they go and tell Job he has lost his family. 

13:01          So his livelihood and his family are gone. And then finally his physical well-being starts getting into question and boils start coming upon his skin. Life is just going awfully for Job. But he continues to worship. He rips off his clothes, puts dust on old rags, and he continues to worship. He continues to give glory to God. 

13:27          His friends come in and say "Job you've sinned, confess what you've done." Turn from Him, repent and God will make it right for you. And Job's states "I didn't do anything. I didn't sin." and he and his friends go back and forth and Job's wife gets involved.  She tells job just to let go of God and just fall away. 

13:42          Job refuses. And then God intervenes. 

13:45          And they go back and forth, and it's kind of this cool conversation, but Job is kind of questioning and bringing some frustrations to God. And God states "who are you to question me?" 

13:45          And God begins to reveal himself in the glory of His creation. He's like, "Where were you when the heavens were made?" And as he describes this beautiful picture of a way he's created that the majesty and the work that he's done. And by the end of it. Job's response is woe to me. 

14:19          You are great. You were right. I knew nothing of what I was talking about for you are God. What I repent and I trust, and I turned to you for everything. 

14:29          When God's glory is revealed the response is worship, and the response is worship. And why do we worship? Again not to obtain not to please but because God is great and greatly to be praised. For God is great and greatly to be praised. 

14:53          And again I'm not trying to say this morning that your problems don't matter your problems are little. I'm not trying to say this morning that having questions and doubt is wrong in any way. In fact, I think that it's OK to question. I think it's ok to doubt in moments. But my question to you this morning is when you go to God, what kind of view are you going to God in? Are you bringing your doubts and your frustration to God in a small picture?

15:18          A God that that would leave you frustrated and resentful where are you turning to the God who is grand and majestic. 

15:27          Are you going to a god where there is hope and the forgiveness of sins because of the work of Jesus Christ that we can be set free from our sin. Are you going to a God who has given us a promise of eternal life in the presence of God? A life where there is no more death there's no more cancer there's no more hate? There's no more sorrow there's no more pain there's no more murder there's no more racism there's no more greed. It's all gone. Sin is forever white. How are you going to? God has given us that promise that joy that we can have an everlasting life in the presence of God in a perfect world. 

16:02          That's the God that we're running to because that's our God. He is great and majestic and in splendor. Great is the Lord and He is greatly to be praised this morning. 

16:15          How are you viewing God this morning? Is there something in the way of true worship of God? Is there a view? is there a question? Is there a doubt? Bring it before the Lord and remember who he is. Savior. Creator. Judge. Lord the God of God. The King of Kings. When we have a grand view of God, our hearts are life they turn to worship. Why? Because the Lord is great and greatly to be praised.  The Lord is Good Lord is good. 

16:49          We're going to close in prayer, and I want worship to come up, but as we do I'm going to leave a time of silence, and in this time I just want to leave you some time to confess to the Lord. 

17:00          Maybe something's getting in the way of that true worship for you this morning? Maybe there is a frustration or doubt, and I just would ask that you would have God reveal Himself to you in the midst of that situation. Because I truly believe that when we go to the Lord, and we seek the Lord, and we see the grandness and the greatness of God, our hearts will turn to worship. 

17:19          And so we pray. 

17:23          Heavenly Father I come before you in all again in awe of your splendor, in awe of who you are and in of what you've done. 

17:36          Lord, as we take some moments to just silently confess you and silently bring to you our trials or doubts or questions, I pray that in this moment, in the silence that we would ask for your glory to be revealed in our life. And so would we just take this moment to turn our life to you. 

17:55          We pray silently Lord. 

August 20, 2017: Psalm 8 (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2     Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Timeline of Message

  • 0:00 What do we have in common with each other? 
  • 3:00 What equals significance?
    • 1st it's achievement 
    • 2nd It's other's approval
  • 4:50 When we are searching for significance, we have to realize that the world does not revolve around you? We need to start with a God centered view first.
  • 6:30 This is why we will never have equality because the world starts with a man centered view, to begin with.
  • 7:15 We have dealt with man centered views for a long time
    • Psalm 108
      • Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
            did not consider your wondrous works;
        they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
            but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
        8 Yet he saved them for his name's sake,
            that he might make known his mighty power.
    • Isaiah 43
      • Because you are precious in my eyes,
            and honored, and I love you,
        I give men in return for you,
            peoples in exchange for your life.
        5 Fear not, for I am with you;
            I will bring your offspring from the east,
            and from the west I will gather you.
        6 I will say to the north, Give up,
            and to the south, Do not withhold;
        bring my sons from afar
            and my daughters from the end of the earth,
        7 everyone who is called by my name,
            whom I created for my glory,
            whom I formed and made.”

        Behold, I am doing a new thing;
            now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
        I will make a way in the wilderness
            and rivers in the desert.
        20 The wild beasts will honor me,
            the jackals and the ostriches,
        for I give water in the wilderness,
            rivers in the desert,
        to give drink to my chosen people,
        21     the people whom I formed for myself
        that they might declare my praise.
    • John 17
      • When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
  • 11:50 Whenever God is engaged, God is glorified. God is hungry for Glory.It is good that it is for God's glory.
  • 14:10 v8 What gives humanity value is that they are God's prize creation.
  • 15:00 Humanity displays the greatness of God because we are the beauty of creation. 
  • 15:45 This is why in a God Centered view equality comes from the creator himself. You have infinite value to God.
  • 16:20 "So who am I? I am God's glory for his praise."
  • 16:45 So the God centered equation is not achievement with other's approval, it is God's opinion.
  • 18:00 So what is Christianity's aim?
    • You need to do things in the name of Jesus
    • 19:10 Philippians 1
      • Yes, and I will rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, 20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
    • 19:50 1 Corinthians 10
      • 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
  • 21:00 There are two aspects to bring Glory to God.
    • #1 - By Display - making know the aspects of God
      • It's like being a telescope. It finds something great and makes it visible to the human eye.
      • It is to display the character of God
    • #2 - To give Him praise
      • In all seasons of life, what am I going to do? I'm going to praise God!
  • 23:50 The aim of your life is to display God's Glory.
  • 24:20 When you display God's glory and you rest in his opinion, you will find significance in your life.
  • 26:20 Just because you are not being paid for ministry does not mean you are not in ministry. Your mission in life is to glorify God.
  • 25:00 So what is your personal mission statement? You need to own it because life will try to distract you.
  • 31:20 Are you ready to get intentional about God's purpose for your life? Be aware, Satan's number one goal is to get you off focus.

August 13, 2017: Galations 6:1-10 (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage Galatians 6:1-10

Bear One Another's Burdens

6 Brothers,[a] if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Timeline of Message

  • 0:00 God, others, myself
  • 1:50 You were not redeemed just for God
  • 3:00 Your earthly family is important, but the family of God is eternal 
  • 6:40 We need to realize that we have blind spots in our lives and we need people to speak to the things we do not see
  • 7:30 v1: We need to appraoch those that are struggling.
    • Being "caught in transgression"  can mean that someone is drowning not just I caught you in your sin
    • Be watchful for others struggling but be careful to compare yourself to others
  • 11:25 v2 We are called to walk alongside others with the burden of their life
    • That will at times require difficult conversations
    • It will also require us to admit we need help as well.
  • 14:50 Our goal needs to be someone who restores others
  • 16:10 The church is a community of people gathering together
  • 17:35 So do you belong to the church? Are you responsible to others and that they are responsible to you?
  • 19:00 We need to fight isolation? Satan will fight for every way to be isolated
  • 21:45 We also need to dig deep. If we only talk about surface level things, we will only impact each other on surface level things.
  • 23:10 Ask deep questions? 
    • What have you been praying for lately?
    • What has the Bible been speaking to you lately about?
    • What are you afraid of these days?
  • 15:00 Take time. You can not microwave relationships 
  • 26:25 Remember what unites us. As Christians, Christ unites us.
  • 30:00 When we realize the necessity of others, we can help others and be able to say "I need help"

August 6, 2017: Matthew 8:28-34 (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage Matthew 8:28-34

28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,[a] two demon-possessed[b] men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. 33 The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men.34 And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

Timeline of Message

  • 0:00 Story of the huge fish
  • 2:00 I'm afraid many of us have started to feel like the Bible is a giant fish story
  • 3:15 Supernatural is something that science cannot explain
  • 3:50 If you deny supernatural activity, then we deny Jesus himself
  • 4:30 I'm saying that the teachings of the Bible are true, but not literally. To believe that the Bible is true we have to believe that the supernatural activity in the Bible was true
  • 5:55 When Jesus came it was the pinnacle of spiritual war
  • 6:00 There were 3 reasons why there was more supernatural activity
  • 7:05 #1 The demons knew that the "time" v29 was coming
  • 8:19 #2 Jesus performed many miracles as a sign, which was pointing to evidence of who Jesus was
  • 9:00 #3 The activity was evidence of Jesus authority 
  • 10:12 #4 There were times Jesus had compassion
  • 10:35 However, Jesus did not heal everyone, so there is a level of ministry 
  • 11:25 It's time to recognize the spiritual battle you are in
  • 13:10 The reason why you should listen to this sermon is that there is someone outside of your life who wants to destroy your life
  • 13:45 So are you going to ignore it? It isn't going to go away.
  • 15:00 C.S Lewis describes the issue we deal with when we deny demonic activity or dwell too much on it
  • 16:00 Many of us have fallen into functual deism. We believe in a higher power, just not in the day to day
  • 17:20 Satan 101
    • Satan is a fallen angel. This also should remind you that Satan is not the opposite of God.
    • Satan has been defeated. The moment Jesus died on the cross, a way was provided to be condemnation free.
    • The worst enemy is the one who has nothing to lose and he has nothing to lose
    • There is a lot of mystery of what power Satan has
  • 22:00 4 things we need to be thinking about with the battle of Satan
  • 23:00 #1 You need to raise your awareness. When was the last time that you really thought about that?
  • 24:10 Ask yourself "what would the evil one have me do in this situation?"
  • 24:55 #2 Satan's main job description is lying. Satan just wants to twist the truth. He just takes a little bit of truth and twists that a little bit.
  • 27:10 #3 When you are in a relationship with other people and there is a difficulty, recognize Satan is at work. If you do not engage in this battle, Satan is going to continue to rob you of your joy.
  • 30:00 #4 Do not become obsessed with supernatural activity. Satan cannot take away your spiritual joy. Hold fast to the fact your name is in the Lamb's Book of Records.

July 30, 2017: Galations 5:16-26 (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage Galatians 5:16-26

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[b] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Found at Bible Gateway

Timeline of Message

  • Intro -  Story of Rich's first car purchase - Cool vs Weird

  • 4:00 Have we focused on what is cool in our lives instead of looking to the Spirit

  • 5:00 Warning against Lawlessness
  • 7:00 Walk in the Holy Spirit - Walk under the influence of the Holy Spirit every day
  • 7:50 Remember that the Holy Spirit is a person
  • 8:30 Be aware of the Holy Spirit and submit to the Holy Spirit
  • 9:15 Paul gives us a list of ways to recognize you are walking in the flesh
    • v19 Works of the flesh
    • sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[a] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these
  • 11:30 Sometimes we emphasize other things in this list over others, but that is okay. We typically only highlight the things that come under attack. For example: there is no legislation against Jealousy, therefore we do not highlight it as much.
  • 12:50 As Christians we can not give ground because of v21 we will not inherit the Kingdom of God
  • 16:50 Paul sets up a second list of what are the fruits of the Spirit
  • 17:50 Want to know if the fruits of the Spirit are in your life... ask someone if they think they are?
  • 18:30 Life is found in following the Holy Spirit
  • 19:00 Here are 4 ways to follow the Holy Spirit
    • 19:20 #1 Acknowledge the Holy Spirit
    • 20:07 #2 Put yourself in a position for the Holy Spirit to work
      • Don't be passive.. there is personal responsibility here
      • We need to put ourselves in a position to do His work
      • Do we give the Holy Spirit space to work
      • Reading your Bible puts yourself in a position for the Holy Spirit to work
    • 24:50 #3 You need to act on promptings 
      • Follow the promptings
        • Gossip starts to enter the conversation, follow the prompting to leave
        • If the Holy Spirit gives you a prompting to encourage someone .. do it
    • 27:00 #4 By knowing the Character of God
      • The Law of God gives us insight into the heart of God to allow us to understand when promptings are from the Holy Spirit vs the World
  • 28:50 Do you have a vibrant spiritual life?
  • 29:05 Are you living in apathy? You just don't care.
  • 29:45 Our apathy affects our decision making and our character
  • 30:00 Its time to look outside myself to Holy Spirit for new life
  • 30:25 Some of us are focused on our performance... looking like we are doing the right thing
  • 31:10 How do you know you are in this category?
    • Are you quick to buy the next great thing?
    • True spirituality brings contentment
  • 31:58 No one knows the true stress or brings you true joy in your life
    • True spirituality brings meaningful relationships in your life
  • 33:00 So when it comes to you spiritual well being, are you going to go for the cool and the in or the weird where true life is found?


July 23, 2017: Galations 3:1-7 (Rich Merkouris)

Scripture Passage Galatians 3:1-7

3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?4 Did you suffer[b] so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

Timeline of Message

  • 0:00 Story of the broken lawn mower
  • 1:45 Is your spiritual walk like a self propelled lawn mower that will gets stuck?
  • 3:15 How do you have Vibrant Spiritual Life?
  • 3:50 The problem is you want control
  • 4:20 A healthy vibrant spiritual life means you need to give up control
  • 5:00 It's impossible to have a vibrant spiritual life without the Holy Spirit
  • 5:50 Who is the Holy Spirit?
    • The Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son
    • It is actually a person (Mathew 28, John 14)
    • A personal being dwelling among us
  • 11:50 You can't have spirituality without the Holy spirit
  • 12:20 The Necessity of the Holy Spirit
  • 13:00 You can not come to God without God
  • 13:50 You can not follow God without God allowing it
  • 14:50 Faith is a gift and it is dependent on God
    • 1 Corinthians 12:3 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.
    • The Holy Spirit is a Necessity
  • 16:50 The Holy Spirit is Available for us
    • Galatians 3:2-3  Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?
    • God is asking "Why would you do it on your own when the Holy Spirit is avaialble?"
    • Luke 11:13  13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
    • Jesus is saying the Holy Spirit is available today!
  • 19:25 Do you believe in the availability of the Holy Spirit?
  • 20:00 We need the Holy Spirit as the Flesh is very strong
  • 21:15 True Christian Spirituality is not looking to oneself it is looking to the Holy Spirit for Strength, Power and Identity
  • 22:00 And this can make some of you uncomfortable, but do not resist it
  • 22:30 Pray "Holy Spirit I submit to you"
  • 24:30 Do not rest on your feelings regarding the Holy Spirit, rest on the promises of God
  • 26:40 Jesus said in Luke 7 "Ask and you will receive" 
    • Pray "Lord make me aware of your Spirit and sensitive to your word."

July 16, 2017: Galations 2:15-21 (Rich Merkouris)

Timeline of Message

  • 1:15 Huffington Post "Top 10 rules to Live By"
  • 2:50 What would you want people to say what you lived by at your funeral?
  • 3:25 Scripture Passage Galatians 2:15-21
    • 15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[a] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

      17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[b] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

  • 5:25 Paul was trying to warn people of some of the things they were getting into. 
    • Forcing people to become Jews
    • Circumcision 
  • 8:00 Works of the law do not equal salvation, it is through Jesus Christ
  • 9:30 God has one rule "I live by faith through Jesus."
  • 10:00 Scripture Passage John 3:16-18
    • 16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 
  • 12:00 Faith in Jesus is in God's plan and we need to be reminded of it, because we tend to add.
  • 12:30 The human heart has a tendency for scorekeeping and wants to add Jesus + something and that is not correct
  • 14:20 There are 3 implications by living by faith in Jesus Christ
  • 14:40 #1 You have to know Jesus - We believe in the concept of God, but do you trust in Christ? If you are going to trust a person, you need to know a person.
  • 16:30 Sadly, we have turned faith in to a one time deposit by focusing on the first moment we accepted Christ into our life
  • 17:30 Faith is not a one time deposit, it is an ongoing relationship
  • 18:50 Jesus knows you, he wants you to know him
  • 19:00 #2 Following Jesus Christ is not a neat little box
  • 19:35 Jesus is not neat and tidy. It can be messy
  • 20:30 Scripture Passage Matthew 9:10-13
    • 10 And as Jesus[b] reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

  • 22:00 There will be misunderstandings with other Christians and it will lead to at times awkward situations
  • 23:30 We have an example (Jesus) in the scriptures and a Spirit to help us follow, but not everything is black and white.
  • 25:00 #3 You are not going to be like those around you
  • 25:10 Scripture Reading
    • 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.
  • 26:00 You are going to march to a different drumbeat than others. 
  • 28:00 There is only one pathway "Faith in Jesus Christ"
  • 28:50 "What do you live off" 
    • Being in control
    • Appreciation form others
    • Impurity
  • 30:00 Live off Jesus