The Effects and Longevity of Idolatry

Pastor Evan Brown continues his series  on” idolatry”.  Drawing from a humorous section of Isaiah 44, Evan explains the significance of the Old Testament warnings and instructions in our life today. While we probably don’t  struggle with forming objects out of wood and praying to them, the readout, patterns and instruction given to God’s children in the Old Testament are relevant for us today! Why? Because we can let other ‘things or people’ attempt to comfort and secure us, other than God actually doing those things. 

We can find ourselves “feeding on ashes” rather that enjoy the feast God would invite us to.  If you find yourself saying, “is this or that really that big of deal?" about certain things in life you spend your time, focus or energy on, this teaching  may give you the tools to help you discern if there maybe some idols in you life that have been robbing you blind.

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To Be Found

Through Luke 15:1-10, Pastor SteveShober reminds us that Jesus lovingly welcomes all people to come to Him, including those who are sick, lost, and broken.  As a Good Shepherd who has lost one sheep, he leaves the 99 to go after the lost one until he finds it and joyfully puts it on his shoulders to bring it home.  There is much rejoicing in heaven when one lost person turns to Him.  God uses ordinary people (like each of us) to reach out to others to be messengers of the Good News to bring peace, grace, mercy, kindness, healing, and deliverance to those who are lost.

How to Begin Identifying Idolatry Today

Pastor Evan Brown transitioned from teaching on the worship of the one true God to alerting us about other things that want us to worship them.  He identified 9 hallmarks from the story in Exodus 32 that may indicate some level of idolatry in our own lives (since not many of us have a golden calf as an idol in our closets;-)). He encouraged us to ask the Lord to reveal to us if any of these hallmarks seem to be happening in our lives.  In whom or in what am I putting my trust? 

The Reward of Worship

This week our worship leader, Collin Brown, wraps up the teaching series on worship with a question: “Are we being led by fear or by faith?” This is an important consideration because God rewards those who diligently seek (search out, crave, long for, worship) Him. Worship can be as much anticipatory as reflective: we celebrate God for what He will do, as well as for what He has done. Because He was faithful to fulfil promises and provide for us in the past, we can rely on Him to meet our needs in the future as well. Worship precedes breakthrough.

 

What's broken, laid bare, or in ruins in your life? Is the enemy taking advantage of these fragmented areas of your heart in order to add insult to injury, and keep you in a dry, barren place? Worship God from these places of brokenness, and declare them His. He wants to rebuild and restore you!

The Power of Song

Collin Brown offers us  a buffet of worship  instruction, scriptures and examples as he explains the power of song and different kinds of worship in various circumstances. There is a song of battle, a song of breakthrough, songs of thanksgiving to remind us of  what the Lord has already done, or pre-emptive worship before He has delivered us. As we express our thoughts and heart to the Lord in worship, or sing a new song to Him we often gain a fresh perspective regardless of  our circumstance. 

Praise is Clamorous

Pastor Evan Brown continues his series on the topic of worship and praise.  The Bible offers patterns and instructions for how to give praise to the Lord so that it becomes a sweet-smelling incense to God.  By following the Lord’s instructions, our praise will release blessing, healing, and deliverance in our lives.  Pastor Brown provides an interesting word study on the original Hebrew meanings of the word “praise,” and through a look at Psalm 149, we learn how we are able to hold both trouble and triumph in life by celebrating God’s goodness.

Worship and Thanksgiving

We’ve been talking about worship for a couple of weeks, but what does that word actually mean? Beginning with the original Hebrew, Pastor Evan Brown unpacks what we mean by worship—getting low, reverencing, bowing down—and uses Psalms 99 and 66 to illustrate how we worship God both for Who He is and what He does. But take care: the Bible also cautions us that we become like the person or thing we worship. While the enemy would command us to get low, so he can walk all over us, God invites us to worship Him so that He can redeem and transform us. Who or what are you worshipping? 
 

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Living a Life of Worship

Collin Brown, our worship leader, starts a new series he and Evan will be co-teaching on Worship.  While God is all powerful, He gave us freewill and doesn’t not force us to worship Him.  Worship is more thana time of singing together - it is a lifestyle.  Collin shares what he has learned during his time of leading worship for over 17 years and what he is freshly hearing from the Lord about worship as the way to invite the power and blessing of the Lord into our personal lives and our congregation. 

Help Them Understand Their Design

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In Ezekiel 40-42, the prophet relates a vision from God in which He describes in great detail the precise measurements and unique characteristics of the temple. Pastor Evan Brown mines the depths of what could otherwise seem an extensive (and boring) list of specs in order to extract key discipleship principles. Principle one: the design of the temple in all its precision, intricacy & beauty is analogous to each follower of Jesus. God has created us with great purpose and has uniquely capacitated us to purposefully influence others. God gave the vision to one (Ezekiel), in order to share it with his many hearers. Principle two: Discipleship includes helping people see sin in their lives they are blind to. When we allow God’s Spirit to bring us conviction, and choose to walk in repentance, God reveals more of who/how He designed us to be. Principle three: As God’s Spirit filled His temple, so too does He fill us; we are temples of the Holy Spirit. The more we surrender ourselves to this process of being filled in order to influence others, the more we will experience rivers of living water flowing from us.

Rivers of Living Water

Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."

Do you look at yourself  say, "I don't see many rivers"?  Don Miller,  filling in for Evan who was traveling this weekend, explores Jesus' encounter with 'the woman by the well' in John 4. Threading Old and New Testament scriptures together Don paints a vivid picture of what Jesus offers every believer, and how to lay hold if it.  God gives His Spirit freely to us, to flow to others, and beckons us to come and drink!
 

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To Spend and Be Expended

“I will most gladly expended and be expended for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15). Paul understood the calling on his life. In this week’s sermon, Pastor Evan reminds us that Jesus has called us to the same brand of influencing work as Paul describes, modeled best by Jesus Himself. God’s mission for us in this life is to minister tirelessly to the needs of others. Often that involves patient and persistent listening and a willingness to extend our arms to others again and again: “Here for this third time, I am ready to come to you.” Sometimes, the very ones for whom we expend ourselves don’t want what we have to offer, and may even reject us--but we’re exhorted to continue to pursue them with relentless love anyway. As we do so, God meets our needs, for “he who waters will himself be watered.”

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Weakness for Christ's Sake

As Pastor Evan Brown explains from 2 Corinthians 12:1-13,  boasting about our accomplishments diverts attention to us and away from the Lord.  The Apostle Paul concluded that he would rather boast about his weaknesses than about anything else, because a place of weakness works like a mirror: it reflects the power of God into other people's lives.  The things that we feel are too difficult and we want to disengage from, are the very things the Lord is eager to use to make His power manifest and known. The question for us is: Where am I weak and how wants the Lord to use me?

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A Spiritual Resume

As Pastor Evan explains from 2 Corinthians 11:16-32, the pseudo/false apostles have led the people of Corinth astray in believing that drawing attention to themselves and what they have done or accomplished is true spirituality.  Paul's response is to give them a list of his own "accomplishments": suffering and hardship in order to further the Gospel, because that is what it takes to be a spiritual person or have spiritual authority.

Easter Sunday: There Is a Way

There  are two paths we can choose, again and again . Our path and God's.  God's ways are not our ways. God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts and always lead us  into relationship with Him.  Our ways....? Not so much. When God speaks, it accomplishes what it is supposed to. Jesus, the Word of God was sent into the world to accomplish  what God set out to do -  to have relationship with us now and forever. In this year's Easter message, Pastor Evan explores Isaiah 55:6-16 and invites us to to lay down our ways and thoughts and adopt the ways and thoughts God has for each of us.

Simplicity, Purity, Devotion

In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul continues to distinguish between God’s pathways to spiritual greatness and fleshly motives rooted in self-promotion and outward appearances. In his study this week, Pastor Evan Brown exhorts us to apply Paul’s statement, “the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ,” as a litmus test for our own (and others’) motives and actions. If in the name of ministry we deviate from the simple, pure message of the Gospel, we miss a defining characteristic of God’s purposes for us. In this chapter we discover that some of Paul’s readers had become “devoted” to mindsets that seemed right to them, but missed the heart of the Gospel message--and led them to harbor malice in their hearts towards Paul. In spite of this, Paul continues to appeal to and serve the very people who question and criticize him. 

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