April 22, 2018: Luke 6:27-36 (Rich Merkouris)

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.


  • there are different people than us
  • There are people who are opposed to us
  • We are to love all humanity 
  • Are you going to take Jesus seriously?
  • Focus on the character of God
  • Understand your own relation to God
  • How can you love your enemies? Understand you were an enemy of God at one time.
  • Dispense God’s love regardless of what you feel

April 8, 2018: John 17:1-5 (Rich Merkouris)

The High Priestly Prayer

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.

  • 6:09 Jesus is concerned about the Glory of God so he is concerned about the people.
  • 7:47 what does God ultimately say about people?
  • 9:16 Many of us switch between the Dir and God complex
    • Dirt - I am nothing
    • God - I am God
  • 10:15 for those of you that can't love yourself
    • Psalm 8:5 We were made just a little lower than the Heavenly Beings
    • You Are Not Dirt!
    • You are the crown jewel of God's creation. Every person is.
  • 18:12 for those of you that a divine complex. The "I'm in charge mentality"
    • We have to acknowledge of someone else who has the final say
    • You are the crown of God's creation, but you are not God
  • 24:40 God's worth states that Christians should be the ones who care for humanity.
    • We should be caring for the elderly
    • We should be caring for the unborn child
  • 25:39 To be created in the image of God means you have responsibility
    • You have a responsibility to work
    • We should be first in line
  • 31:07 Dow we (you) have a correct image of humanity?

April 1, 2018 {Easter}: 1 Peter 1:3-9 (Rich Merkouris)

Born Again to a Living Hope

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

March 25, 2018: John 12:12-26 (Rich Merkouris)

The Triumphal Entry

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey's colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness.18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Some Greeks Seek Jesus

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

March 18, 2018: Galations 5:16-26 (Rich Merkouris)


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, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do 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.

  • 1:00 Have you asked for Help?
  • 4:40 Spiritual life necessitates health
  • 7:12 The Holy Spirit is necessary, present and available
  • 8:00 Jesus says it's better for us that he is not here and that the Holy Spirit is
  • 10:15 What is the Holy Spirit
    • Third member of the trinity
    • Is a being
    • The Holy Spirit is with us
    • Is necessary for us
  • 13:17 What is our responsibility then? Maybe we have misunderstood?
  • 14:26 God desires to produce within us spiritual growth
  • 15:38 If you have no conflict in your life about any conduct that's a big red flag that somehting isn't quite right.
  • 18:07 Spirtual growth isn't immediate, it is slow production. It is conflict.
  • 18:43 Spiritual growth is dependence and direction from the Holy Spirit
  • 19:53 We are dependint on the Holy Spirit for the fruit in our lives
  • 20:05 Walk after the Holy Spirit. We have responsibility to follow the Holy Spirit.
  • 22:33 How do I live by the Holy Spirit and have growth
    • Acknowledge the Holy Spirit's presence
    • Submit the foreign presence of the Holy Spirit
      • Example: Someone calls you an idiot.
  • 31:26 God is concerned is about how you do stuff
    • How are you working where you work?
    • How are you living where you live?
  • 31:54 God has given us the ability to be who we need to be by giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit

March 11, 2018: Matthew 23:25-36 (Rich Merkouris)

Matthew 23:25-36

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30 saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.


  • What's in your junk drawer?
  • 4:00 What's lost inside of you?
  • 5:16 Does the inside of my life reflect the image of God?
  • 7:03 Be renewed in the image of God. God is in the transformation business.
  • 7:51 God sees through outward goodness and inward evil
  • Truths on what God has revealed
    • We need to have honest acknowledgement of the sin in our lives
      • Sin is ever present with us. 
      • Be honest to yourself
    • It's not about will power
      • Ask someone for help
    • You become what you behold
      • A deeper knowledge of sin, allows for a more joyful heart towards grace

March 4, 2018: Matthew 23:1-24 (Rich Merkouris)

Matthew 23:1-24

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’17 You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18 And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22 And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

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

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

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

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

Flee Sexual Immorality

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

February 4, 2018: (Rich Merkouris)

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Luke 15:1-10 Parable of the Lost Sheep

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

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

Luke 15:1-10 Parable of the Lost Sheep

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

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

The Parable of the Lost Coin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eph 1:15-23 Thanksgiving and Prayer

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

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

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

  • Ephesians 1:1-14

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

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

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

    Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

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

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

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

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

  • Traditions and Commandments

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

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

    What Defiles a Person

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

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

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

  • The Birth of Jesus Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • From the angel speaking to Joseph 

    • From the angels speaking to the Shepards 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 1:33 Philippians 2: 1-18

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

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

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

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

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