Transformation : From Darkness to Light

What does it mean to be transformed? What does it mean to be rescued from darkness? What does it mean to be redeemed? What about being an heir of God? How can I experience the fulness of life by walking in the light? In Part 2 of this year’s Christmas teachings on light, Pastor Evan offers some biblical insights to guide us in answering these (and other related) questions by digging into the first chapter of the book of Colossians. He starts with verses 13-14, which are wrapped in verses 9-12 (walking in the light), verses 15-20 (knowing who God is and putting Him first in our lives), and verses 21-22 (reconciliation). The teaching concludes with some further ideas about redemption, focusing on why God wants to transform us and how we can grow in God as a new creation in Christ (verses 23-24).

Let There Be Light

During this Christmas Season, Pastor Evan Brown begins a series on “Light.”   God thoughtfully brought each of us into existence for a divine purpose and plan. He created us in the same way He thoughtfully and methodically created the universe.  Within our human existence, we can feel empty and formless inside, looking for purpose.  Yet God understands us, He knows us, and He designed us. God is light and when He inhabits us, He will illuminate dimensions in our lives that will enable us to more clearly understand who are and why we were created.  

Scripture references are from Genesis 1: 1-5 and Psalms 139: 13-16.

Challenges to Our Faith

The Bible is intended to be a source of instruction for us. Ideally, we don’t just read the Bible; we do things differently because of what we have read. In Isaiah 54, Pastor Evan Brown identifies four distinct challenges we all face: hopelessness, isolation and abandonment, depression, and the feeling of being under attack, and then continues to outline four practical, Biblical responses to those challenges.

Scripture references:  Galatians 4:27, Isaiah 54:1-17

The First Child of Promise

We all can trick ourselves into believing that our ways are better than God’s ways. Or we want to “help” God with His plan for our life because we have a better plan or better timing.  Sound familiar?  :-)  Living by our own power and in our own way can look very similar to living by faith, but, it is actually the opposite! Pastor Evan is teaching from Galatians 4:28-5:1, using the stories from the Old Testament  to explain what Paul meant when he wrote, ”we are children of promise.”  How can we identify the “Ishmael's” in our life and thoughts? Evan encourages us to talk to someone we trust, so we can stand firm in the promises God has for us.

Children of Promise

Do I believe that God is the God of promises? Do I believe He is faithful to keep His promises? How strong is my faith in who He is? How willing am I to wait for Him to do what He says He will do? Do I even need God? Today’s teaching -- an introduction to how we can become people of faith, addresses some of these questions. 
We can find clues about how we are to respond to God’s promises through the story of Abraham (see Genesis 12:1; 15:1-6, 18; 16:1–17: 19). More questions to ponder: Do I leave the outcome up to God, or do I take matters into my own hands? Am I led by my faith in God or by my own strength (Galatians 4:22-31)? More answers regarding where our faith lies will be considered in upcoming teachings.

"Real"ationship : Patterns in the Psalms for Navigating Adversity

The Book of Psalms contains beautiful poetry written thousands of years ago, and yet it is a useful guide for how to navigate the challenges of life today. The Psalms describe our human condition so well that they can be excellent prayers.  It is the place to go when you are hurting. Pastor Josh Engelhardt teaches from Psalms 142 and Psalms 57, written by King David at a time when his enemies sought to take his life.  During his difficult circumstances, King David turned to God for help, and he found refuge and safety in the wings of a faithful, kind, and powerful God.  

Baptism/Well Pleased

Why be baptized? Scripture offers several reasons. Jesus was baptized, and then His public ministry began. Jesus told us to baptize others “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” and gave us His authority to do so. Paul was persecuting Christians when he heard the voice of God, was blinded for three days, prayed over, and then baptized. When he was later miraculously released from prison, instead of running away, he stayed and baptized his jailer. It’s not just a public statement; it is a choice that makes your life more impactful and effective.

Scripture references:  Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 9:1-18, Acts 16:25-33.

Afflictions of the Mind

The accuser throws accusations at us that God is not with us or perhaps He is not all that interested in what we are going through,  because He hasn’t done anything in our situation…..yet.

Like a master pianist who can write you a beautiful song with a few notes, God can address our specific situation as we give God the first of our day by reading His Word. You will be amazed at how specific it can be to your situation!

Join Evan as he shares what God revealed to him through Psalms 139 in the midst of his recent personal experience. A simple yet profound reminder that God knows us, God sees us  and He does know what is going on with us.

First Fruits, Gleanings and Jubilee

Everything belongs to God (Leviticus 25:23). We are responsible for returning to Him a portion of what He has given us. What am I doing with what He has given me (Deuteronomy 26:1-11)? Do I put God first, or am I keeping back for myself what belongs to Him (Leviticus 19:9-10)? Today’s teaching is a gentle reminder that we are to honor the Lord from our resources (all provided by Him: our money, time, heart, and mind—Proverbs 3:9-10). It also presents new insights into how we can do that, not just with our money and possessions but also with our time, talents, and abilities. Chapter 25 of Leviticus discusses the benefits of observing God’s statutes and keeping His judgments, especially regarding sowing and reaping (gathering) and giving and giving back (redeeming).

153 Fish

Pastor Daniel Brown reminds us that great kingdom breakthroughs are accomplished through ordinary men and women who choose to make decisions that align with the purposes and plans of God.  Yet Jesus is never surprised when we fail Him, deny Him, or when our lives take an uncertain turn and we don’t know where to go.  Jesus wants to focus us back to the one thing that is the answer to our soul--the one thing that will settle us once and for all:  Jesus tells us, “Tend my sheep.” Take care of others.  When we give our lives for the sake of others, we will experience a dimension of life that is fulfilling and satisfying beyond our wildest dreams.  Scripture references are from John 21:12-18. 

Why, Where and How Should I Tithe?

In the conclusion of the series on Tithing, Pastor Evan Brown discusses some of the common and practical questions we may have about this subject: What should I tithe on? To whom should I tithe?

As a few people gave their testimony how tithing changed their perspective and solidified Kingdom principles in their lives, it became more and more clear: Tithing is a way for the Lord to get at deeper issues in our hearts and lives: issues about faith and trust in God's provision.

Scripture References:

  • Deuteronomy 14:28-29

  • Numbers 18:20-22, 31

  • Numbers 18:26

  • Matthew 23:23

  • Matthew 22:31

Altars and Doorposts

One of the ways the Israelites commemorated specific victories, visions, or miracles God had done for them was to erect an altar. Joshua built an altar of uncut stones to celebrate Israel’s victory over Ai. Jacob set up a stone and anointed it with oil to mark the place where he encountered God in a dream. God also instructed the Israelites to remember His Law: to talk about it, to teach it to the next generation, and even to write His words on the doorposts of their homes. Drawing from these ancient patterns, pastors Evan Brown and Kevin Kammerman invite us to contribute to a physical foundation for the spiritual work God is doing in us and through us as a church and as individuals.

Scripture references, Altars: Joshua 8:30-35, Genesis 28:10-22. Doorposts: Deuteronomy 6:6-9

The Test Of Tithing, Part 2

Evan continues the series on tithing from Malachi, Chapter 2, where God addresses the actions and attitudes of Israel: “What is the point of serving God?” and ”I keep seeing people who don’t serve God prosper.”  God answers Israel in Malachi 3, when He announces His master plan for the salvation of the world, and how He will prove His plan true.

We are often like the Israelites thinking, “I know better!” or “If I were God, I would do this or that differently.” Like a young hungry child that keeps saying “I'm hungry” as the mother is trying to make lunch for the child, Evan cautions us in making judgments against people or God in our situations, because our view and understanding are so limited. 

God is not after our money, He is after our heart and our trust. God wants us to test Him, just like He asked Israel to test Him -- with giving back the first 10% of our resources and watch what He does with our time, energy and finances.

The Test of Tithing

In a continuation of a study on tithing, Pastor Evan takes us to the final book in the Old Testament, Malachi. The book is a statement of who God is and how He is working in our lives. The prophet Malachi begins his message with God’s proclamation of His great and perfect love for His people (1:2). He then continues with a series of rebukes from God to His unfaithful followers, who in turn ask God, “What are You talking about? What do You mean? How have we dishonored You?” God’s reply: You doubt My love (1:2), despise My name (2:7), give Me blemished offerings (2:7-8, 10, 12-14), and rob Me of My due (3:8-9).

Malachi’s message in chapter 3 about tithing includes how God’s blessing in honoring Him (3:10-11) is embedded in His broader message of His faithfulness versus the consequences of the faithlessness of His people in not giving Him their best.

Note especially some of Pastor Evan’s practical parenting analogies regarding authority, obedience, discipline, patience in explaining with love the consequences of disobedience and the advantages of obeying authority.   

Abram, The First Ever To Tithe, Part 2

Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series on Tithing.  We find the first mention of tithing in the scriptures in Genesis 14-15.  After Abram miraculously wins a battle to rescue his cousin Lot from captivity in Sodom, Abram gives Melchizedek, a priest of the Lord, one-tenth of everything he had in acknowledgement that God gave him this unlikely victory. Tithing began in this moment when Abram was beginning to experience the unfolding of a promised-based covenant relationship with the God of heaven and earth.  Tithing is a life-giving principle that continues today. It is a statement about God’s faithfulness to His promised-based covenant relationship with us.  It is an acknowledgement of our reliance on God’s strength and what He can do, which is more than what we can do our own. It is a beautiful reminder of our own lack of capability and our dependence on God alone.  For some, money represents security, protection, identity, success, and status.  But God wants to be those things for us.  Like the promise given to Abram, God tells us, “Fear not, I am your shield and your very great reward.”

Abram, the First Ever to Tithe, Part 1

The first mention of tithing in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 14, when Abram voluntarily gives a tenth to the high priest. Why would he do that? When God called Abram in Genesis 12, He promised to make him a great nation, even though his wife was barren, and bless all the families of the world through him. There is an instructive pattern for us in Abram’s behavior: when he tries to preserve his own life, things don’t go well; when he comes back to the place of God’s promise, he prospers.

Scriptures: Genesis chapters 12:-1-13:18

Living in Joy

Does your life seem harder at times, that people who do not know Jesus? 

How can we respond when things are not going the way we want? Steve Shober offers some insights and suggestions from Psalms 37 to help us combat the fear or envy that can try to chip away at our faith during hard times.  Steve encourages us to ‘cast our cares on Him’ (1 Peter 5:7)  and ‘not to get tired of doing good’ (Galatians 6: 9-10), because trusting in the Lord is the remedy for worry.

RFS Sunday: Revelational Frameworks Summary

Pastor Evan wrapped up the Revelation Framework Series by listing some observations he has had about our church. Pastor Evan asked,  “Which of these do we want to grow in?” He also expanded on the areas he sees our church body giving abundant life to:  discipleship and counseling (Acts 9); deliverance ministry (Is 61:1); prophesy, and discernment.Pastor Evan wrapped up the Revelation Framework Series by listing some observations he has had about our church. Pastor Evan asked,  “Which of these do we want to grow in?” He also expanded on the areas he sees our church body giving abundant life to:  discipleship and counseling (Acts 9); deliverance ministry (Is 61:1); prophesy, and discernment.