The traditions of men are at odds with what Jesus teaches. Jesus tells us to be in the world but not of it. How are we to do this? How can we prepare for things coming against us that can take us down the wrong path? Jesus says, “Follow Me.” This requires that we keep our eyes on Jesus. But how do we do that? Paul ‘s letter to the Colossians reminds us that it takes both knowing who we are in Christ (Colossians 2:6, 9-14) and being careful to avoid being carried away by the philosophies and empty deceptions of humankind’s traditions and the lies of the devil (vv 4, 8) that can keep us from staying focused on Jesus.
As we begin this new year, let’s stay focused on Jesus. So many things in this world will distract us, but let’s prepare to not be swayed. The scriptures tell us that all treasures and wisdom of knowledge are found in Jesus Christ. The world’s wisdom is elementary compared to the wisdom and knowledge of God. Let’s get our head in the game. Let’s stay rooted in good soil. As we seek God, we will find the fullness of His deity and experience the abundant life we were meant to live.
Scripture references are from Colossians 2: 2-9.
This morning, Pastor Josh Engelhardt shares from the book and life of Nehemiah. Nehemiah and his work to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem provides a vivid image of what our lives and hearts are like: to fight and work hard to follow the Lord’s instructions for us, even though the enemy wants to discourage and destroy us. Let this be our hope: the work on the wall continued, which was proof that God frustrated the plans of the enemy!
On Christmas Eve, Evan concludes his series on “Light Overcomes” using an artistic view of light and darkness. Our choices or our sin or things out of our control can create a deep darkness in our lives and can keep us from moving forward, but God’s light and power of restoration shines on our life to redeem and overcome that darkness. This is portrayed by a testimonial video of four men telling their story of how God’s light overcame in the hardest times of their lives and how it inspired the idea of the painting “Light Overcomes”.
God’s light leads us. He illuminates where we are and shows us where we are headed. When the three Wise Men came to visit Jesus, they were led by a star—something that would have been compelling to them as astronomers/astrologers. When Jesus’ life was in danger, His earthly father Joseph was led, one step at a time, by a series of dreams that took him from Bethlehem to Egypt and ultimately to Nazareth. Drawing on these stories, Pastor Evan Brown explains how God’s light can drive out even the most persistent darkness in our hearts and our minds, if only we will let Him.
Scripture references: Psalm 119:105; Matthew 2: 1-12, 13, 15, 23
Evan shares about living transparently in the Lord as he continues his series on “Light”. In this engaging, illustrated sermon from 1 John 1:5-10, Evan demonstrates that when we pay attention to God and interact with people, we can effectively be used to pass along the things of God. Like a glass window, we cannot generate light on our own, we can only let God’s light pass through us. However our sin and complacency can block our relationship with the Lord, which in turn blocks His light shining through us. If our relationship with people is nonexistent that also blocks God’s light shining through us. When either of these aspect are blocked then we are not doing what we are called by Jesus to do, “be the light of the world”. Watch this and ask yourself, “How are my boards?”
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Numbers 18:20-22, 31
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
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.