153 Fish

Guest speaker Daniel Brown bases today’s teaching around what he has been learning about discipleship through his extensive worldwide travels over the past many many many many many years (decades!!) during which he has met and established relationships with other people. Discipleship simply requires our living for the sake of others. Am I doing this? Am I obedient to Jesus’ direction to us to make disciples? Using Peter as an example (John 21:15-19), Pastor Daniel offers some clues as to how each of us can each measure our devotion to God and our level of spiritual growth in Him. Our answers to a few questions can help us to determine our spiritual maturity. Is what I say I believe about who Jesus is and how He cares for me reflected in my love for others and how I care for them? Can I gauge my love for Jesus on how I treat others? Does my love for Jesus show up in how I feed His lambs? Is my love for Jesus obvious in the way I tend His sheep? Am I moving forward toward Him and the people He has placed in my care? Does my life give glory to God?

Be Weak in Christ

Have you ever felt that your weakness disqualifies you from being all God meant for you to be? No matter what our circumstances, we are never cast aside by God.   He has an important purpose and plan for each of us.  Paul the Apostle did not let the thorn in his flesh stop him from doing what God called him to do.  In the same way, when we feel weak or that we’re not enough, that is when God‘s power is made strong through us.  Scripture references are from 2 Corinthians 12: 1-10.

Walking in His Inheritance ; Peru Mission - Part 2

This Sunday, Kevin Kammermann, of the pastoral team at The Coastlands, shared about his 13-day mission trip to Peru with three other team members. During a period of continued sleeplessness and feeling completely empty leading up to the trip, Kevin was reminded during a prayer time that he would be relying on the Holy Spirit, not his energy level or even his memory, to give him the right words for each situation. That became the theme of the trip as the team visited all 9 of the Foursquare churches there. The team experienced God's provision, from speaking to the youth at one church about the hope and the future God has for them to praying for each individual church member at another to seeing the amazing dedication the Foursquare Peruvians have, sometimes in significant poverty. God makes life small sometimes, so that He can show how big his Spirit is and can bring us further into the riches of our inheritance. 

Walking in His Inheritance ; Peru Mission - Part 1

This Sunday, Kevin Kammermann, of the pastoral team at The Coastlands, shared about his 13-day mission trip to Peru with three other team members. During a period of continued sleeplessness and feeling completely empty leading up to the trip, Kevin was reminded during a prayer time that he would be relying on the Holy Spirit, not his energy level or even his memory, to give him the right words for each situation. That became the theme of the trip as the team visited all 9 of the Foursquare churches there. The team experienced God's provision, from speaking to the youth at one church about the hope and the future God has for them to praying for each individual church member at another to seeing the amazing dedication the Foursquare Peruvians have, sometimes in significant poverty. God makes life small sometimes, so that He can show how big his Spirit is and can bring us further into the riches of our inheritance. 

Jesus as a Reference : How He Suffered

2 Cor. 1:3-7 & 2 Cor. 4:7-10

Suffering for Christ by Allowing Him to Use You to Benefit Others

Pastor Evan shares personal testimony of how God has asked him to embrace and endure suffering in his own life. Evan communicates that rather than flee from suffering, we can actually pursue it, like Christ--who endured it because He saw the joy set before Him. Suffering on behalf of others, specifically by being willing to share our own past painful experiences, can encourage them to turn toward Jesus as they experience their own. God is able to redeem our suffering in order to bring great blessing to those around us.

Jesus as a Reference : How He Stayed Focused

Jesus’s first followers were confused about who He was, where He came from, why He came, what He was all about, or where He was going. Although they did not understand much of His teaching, many of them continued to follow Him and ask Him questions (John 7). The written Word of God answers these questions for us. We have learned in particular that Jesus is our example of how to live a godly life and demonstrate the love of the Father. We know that the Father sent Jesus to do His will and to accomplish His work (John 4:34; 7:16, 28-29, 32; 9:4). Jesus charges us to carry on the work that He completed while on earth. To do this we need to stay focused and make it our mission to feed the spiritually hungry with the knowledge of God and His love and peace. Our work is to reap that which Jesus originally sowed and to harvest what will become spiritual food for the lost (John 4:35-38). May we all take advantage of opportunities to feed others with the goodness of God.

John 4:31-38; 9:1-5; chapter 7, esp. verses 7:16-18, 26-39

Jesus as a Reference : How He was Thoughtful

During his life on earth, Jesus went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed, because God was with him.  Jesus’ life on earth serves as an example for us to follow.  The same Holy Spirit that rested on Jesus, also lives within us today.  Through the Holy Spirit’s power, we can reach out to the world around us to be a help to others in need. 

Scripture reference is from Acts 10:38.

Jesus as a Reference : Who He Spent Time With

Following the theme of Jesus as the Cornerstone and our ultimate reference point, Evan now talks about what characterized the kind of people Jesus chose to spend His time with. Who did Jesus value? There was Peter, a "salty" sailor so aware of the spiritual chasm between him and Jesus when they first met, that he told Jesus to distance himself. There was Matthew, an extortionist and traitor to his own people. There was a skeptic, a political zealot, two blusterous brothers, the ultimate betrayer and others who we know only by their names. Jesus' attention was on the "unlikely" people, and most often, those who were considered contemptible by more than just the Pharisees. Jesus' motivation was clear: people. To be with people. To love people. He made the example as simple as it could be for us. 

The Puzzle of Life

The Living Stone: Jesus Our Cornerstone

Without the Cornerstone (Jesus), attempting to construct the “puzzle of life” is impossible.  Life gives us so many “pieces” to work with, many of which are incorrect or misshaped.  With Jesus we have the correct dimensions, so all other pieces align to create a more complete version of who God made us to be.  After all we are part of His great design!

Jesus as a Reference : How He Drew Near to People

Why did Jesus come? Though we humans are created in the image of God, we come into this broken world separated from Him, as weak and helpless infants, with no idea as to who we are or who God is or why we are here. By nature, we long to be known and loved by God, but because without God we are clueless as to how to navigate life and by nature we are selfish beings, we go it alone, trying to figure it out on our own, losing our way and ending up exalting ourselves. Jesus, on the other hand (see Philippians 2:3-9), “though he was in the form of God” (verse 6), humbly took on human form ( verse 7). He came into this broken world to reveal Himself,  took on the attitude and action of a servant, showed us the way to become more like Him, and be an example of how we are to live a godly life. Knowing this, we can be better prepared to strengthen our relationship with God, continue to grow in Christ, walk in humility with God, and make a difference in people’s lives.

(Re)claiming our Spiritual Birthright as Co-heirs with Christ

In continuation of the “Growth in Christ” series, Pastor Josh Engelhardt lead us through many scriptures referring to and describing the birth right of the firstborn son in the Old Testament, and then in the New Testament, where we learn that we, through God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus, are now heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ!  We receive a double share of the blessings and inheritance the Lord has for us and we get to walk in the authority of and covenant relationship with Him.  The questions we face are these: Am I walking in the way of the first born? Where in my life am I living in less than the double portion the Lord gave me?  If the answer is: yes, I live in less, what can I do about it?

Scripture References:
Genesis 25:29-34
Deuteronomy 21:15-17
Isaiah 40:1-2
Isaiah 61:6-7
Zechariah 9:11-12
Colossians 1:15-22
Titus 3:4
Acts 20:32
Romans 8: 16-17, 37

(Re)aligning Our Thinking with the Truth of God's Grace

Pastor Josh continued with the theme of growing in Christ by emphasizing that it is by God’s grace, not by our works, that we are saved. Works are not what define us in the Lord. Jesus is our reference point.
By trying to prove our worth based on what we do, we build a pattern that can overwhelm our thoughts, allowing room in our thinking for things that are not true. This steals our spiritual birthright. In response, we often feel compelled to try to “do good” to make up for the bad we do, instead of apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Ultimately, we change not by trying hard, but as a result of receiving and walking in God’s grace.

Eph 2:5. “We were once dead in the world, but now by grace are saved through faith.”  
Christ, the new covenant, fulfilled and replaced the law and the old covenant, making possible salvation to all by God’s grace.  
Acts 15: 11 “…We believe that through the grace of Christ we shall be saved even as they.”  (Jews and Gentiles alike)
Acts 15:24 “…We have heard that certain men have disturbed you, upsetting your soul by saying you must be circumcised and keep the law; we have never commanded these things!” Works puts the attention on self, leaving God out of the equation.

VBS Kick Off 2019

This weekend's services were dedicated to the "kick-off Sunday" for The Coastlands Vacation Bible School (VBS) season. We saw a video of last year's VBS, and the new directors, Drew and Amanda Clowser, shared their vision for this year's camp, the thinking/heart behind the new schedule, and what they have personally been learning in the process. The theme of this year's VBS is "Wonder", taken from Habakkuk 1:5: "Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you". You can find more information on the Coastlands VBS web page: http://www.coastlands.org/about-vbs.

Place of Worship or Den of Thieves? Correcting a Faulty Self Image with the Truth of God's

How are patterns in our thinking influencing and shaping our hearts and minds? Are we glorifying God in that process? Or, are we being robbed, from who God truly made us to be? This sermon draws the parallel between the physical temple in Jesus’ time and how we (our bodies/beings) are temples for the Holy Spirit now. Jesus was indignant and reacted very strongly to the money changers and those looking to make a profit by selling doves to those who came to the temple to worship and offer a sacrifice/offering to God. How does He feel about the robbery that happens in our own thinking, which can lead us to adopt a fractured and false self-image?

Growing in the Activity of Jesus

Pastor Steve Shober addresses a specific aspect of growing in Christ, namely, growing in the works/activities of Jesus. As Jesus begins His public ministry (Luke 4:14-17), He declares what He came to do (verses 18-19), fulfilling in verses 20-21 the prophecy from Isaiah 61:1-2. As messengers of Jesus, we are called to announce the good news to a lost and broken world, telling them what we know about Jesus (who He is, what He does, how He can be known). As ambassadors of Christ, we have been given authority to continue to carry on His ministry of casting out evil spirits and healing people from all disease and illness (Matthew 10:1) and setting free those living under spiritual oppression (Acts 10:38). Jesus came to set us free physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We know we can trust Him to keep His word (Hebrews 13:8).

Jesus As a Reference

Continuing the series on “Growth in Christ”, Pastor Evan Brown references Ephesians 4:15 where Paul encourages his audience to “grow up in all aspects into Christ, who is the Head”.  Using some visual aids, Evan explains how we need a reference point (or think of rebar in a cinderblock wall) as a gauge to put our building blocks in the proper place and grow into Christ.  If there is nothing that holds our life together, it will be very easily pushed over!  What motivated Jesus while He was on earth?  What if we had the same motivation?

Ephesians 4:15
Hebrews 12:2
Mark 6: 33-41

Jesus As Our Foundation

Matthew 7:24-27

Being Founded in Jesus - Building on the rock of Jesus Christ.

Whoever hears, considers, understands, believes, and obeys God’s Word is like the wise man who built his house on the rock; a stable and strong foundation to face the storms of life.  God gives us the bricks to lay a foundation, the tools we need to build; faith, hope, love. How & where we choose to build is our decision, He has giving us free will. But power and wisdom is in doing what Jesus is telling us to do, after all He is the Master Planner.

References: II Samuel 22:2-7, Psalms 62:5-8, John 15:9-11, I Peter 5

Growth in Christ

Today’s teaching builds upon keeping focused on Jesus as the foundation for maturity in Christ. Added to the growth equation is the importance of fulfilling our role in the edification of God’s church (the people, not the structure—Ephesians 4:12). It addresses where God is taking us, how He is leading us, why He wants us to continue to grow in Him, how the enemy works against us in ways that he can take advantage of that can get in the way of our growth, and how we can help each other in building up the body of Christ to attain unity among all of God’s people (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Identity in Christ

Our true identity is found in Jesus Christ.  As we look to Christ, we begin to see a reflection of who we really are and who we were created to be.  The world around us has set up distorted mirrors that warp our reflection and give us a false perception of our identity.  Yet, each of us was uniquely created in God’s image, and as we draw closer to Jesus our true identity is revealed. When we think of what makes us who we are, do we think of what we have done or what Jesus has done-on our behalf?

Scripture references from: Colossians 3:1-11

Christ is The Head

In the continued theme of focusing on Jesus, we see a stark contrast in Col. 2:16-23 between what seems wise to men vs. what is valued by God. It is easy to be tricked into believing righteous-sounding requirements (do not do this, do not do that) which only leads us to have an inflated perception of ourselves and distracts from what is indeed righteous:  connecting ourselves and others with Jesus. Living our lives by these man-made rules is like living in the blue print vs. the house, which Jesus has built for us, and we get to live in together. The love of Jesus is no longer a shadow of what’s to come – it is with us right now. And, in that same love, just as joints working together in unison, we need each other. We are a body in which Jesus is the Head and by whom all things “grow with the increase that is from God” (vs. 19). Our source of life is Jesus, and we need to place our focus continually on Him.