Pastor Evan Brown expanded on last week’s teaching on the subject of pressing into God as we face the believer’s inevitable oppositions. Jesus provided us with the tools to endure and break through the most difficult situations when He gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit. Walking in obedience to Him means being a part of re-establishing God’s rule on earth. And when, through obedience, we break through obstacles, we make it easier for those around us to break through theirs. By using the tools He provided, such as Faith, (1Tim 1:3-4), Prayer, (Matt 6:8) and Serving, (Mark 10:41-43), we will be for Him, the ambassadors He has called upon us to be.
Pastor Evan Brown shares a personal story to illustrate the truth that we will face trouble and resistance in life when we press into the things of God. Yet we can have hope during difficult times knowing we will gain strength, and reap great spiritual blessing, when we break through and press in against any resistance to submit to God. Sometimes the barriers are great, and we are tempted to shrink back. Yet through faith we can rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the scriptures to confidently come into the presence of God during difficult times and experience the life He has intended for us to live. Scripture readings are from Hebrews 10:19-11:1.
When the disciples asked Jesus, “Who, then, is the greatest in the Kingdom?” Jesus’ response was to call over a little child and explain that unless we become like little children, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What does it mean to become like a child? Pastor Josh Engelhardt explains the childlike qualities Jesus is looking for in our hearts. Can we still be humble, trusting, playful, eager, imaginative, and utterly dependent on the God who invites us to call Him Abba, “Daddy”?
Evan continues his series on the Kingdom of God, by examining the story of Nicodemus in the first 15 verses of John chapter 3, which lead up to perhaps the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16.
Just as Nicodemus could not comprehend ‘being born again’ or ‘where the wind comes from’, our natural thinking does not easily recognize the opportunities that come our way to actually enter the Kingdom of God. Evan illustrates these points and invites us to consider the difference between a 2-dimensional and a 3-dimensional Christian life — and how a citizen of the Kingdom of God will first ask, “God, what do You think about that?”, to help see beyond the 2-dimensional natural situation and challenge, that may actually be a 3-dimensional opportunity from the Lord to enter His Kingdom.
What is the Kingdom of God but God’s sovereign rule over all His creation? Today we segued from the topic of Kingdoms of men, to the Kingdom of God. Pastor Evan Brown, referencing God’s creation of earth and mankind, noted that God desired relationship with us, and chose us to partner with Him in having dominion over earth. But in the fall of man, he forfeited that collaboration by instead choosing to partner with God’s and man’s enemy. However, God had always had a plan. In Mark 1: vs 14-15, Jesus tells the Galileans to proclaim the good news; “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” God once again made it possible for man to choose to partner with Him through belief in His gift of reconciliation
to us. His death and resurrection paved the way for us to give away our own lives and live for Jesus in His kingdom as His ambassadors, to bring God’s salvation to others.
When we submit to God’s principles, as His agents, we experience abundant life within His kingdom.
On this Easter Sunday morning, we see a thought-provoking, beautiful, and dramatic presentation that allows us to reflect on our lives. We are entangled in the brokenness and darkness of this world, and we are engulfed in our own sin. Yet we have hope, and we celebrate, because Jesus offers light and promise of new life. Jesus cuts through all darkness, and he brings us from death to life. As our lives intersect with the light of God, we become light in the darkness, bringing hope and life to a broken world.
From Hebrews 12, Pastor Evan Brown explores the significance of the word "endure/endurance". Endurance is not just making it through and surviving difficult circumstances; the greater purpose is about learning how to walk straight forwardly on the paths the Lord has shown us and keeping our eyes on Jesus. Enduring is the vehicle by which the Lord heals what is lame (not working) in our lives, and through which we end up with "the peaceful fruit of righteousness". What a great promise!
Hilary Millikan, director of VBS (Vacation Bible School) shares her heart for this year’s VBS called, “Saddle Up”. For the kids that already know God, for the kids that have yet to know God, and the adults who volunteer to make this all possible, God has something amazing for all of us. When you find yourself in a “desert place”, and God tells you that He has a way, do you tell him, “Yes”, “No” or “Yo”? ( a combination of yes and no) .
She invited us to bring whatever we have to the Lord and watch not only what He does with it, but how He returns back to us more than we had to give. If you have an hour or all week to participate in VBS ( June 18-22), God can do something with whatever you bring to Him! Saddle Up!
Josh Engelhardt taught that serving can be perceived as frightening and time consuming. We often struggle with fear factors that might tempt us to draw away from serving. Fear of giving up family time; lengthy job demands; the pull of worldly pursuits or the fear of adding the responsibility of service to already full schedules. However, Christ taught that by setting our hearts in a place where we trust that the more we give ourselves to Him, the more He will give
When the last king of Judah had been taken to Babylon, the remnant left in Jerusalem went to ask the prophet Jeremiah for a word from the Lord. His word was very clear: stay in Jerusalem and I will protect you; run to Egypt and the calamities you are running from will overtake you. In fear, the people fled to Egypt. The conflict of kings—whether to follow God’s ways and live as we were meant to live, or run from God and suffer the consequences—is still our conflict today. But we can invoke the power of Jesus’ victory over hopelessness and fear.
The enemy of our soul can want us to believe we have gone one step too far, to be used, or to be blessed by God. In this message Evan shares about King Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33 and his grandson King Josiah in 34.
Pastor Evan Brown teaches that by aligning ourselves with God, like King Hezekiah in 2 Kings:19, lives that have gone astray can be set straight again. When our spiritual enemy comes against us, this can trigger a falling away from the things of God. We can easily be discouraged not trusting that God is still paying attention. When life is going smoothly, things can happen to derail us, causing confusion and doubt. When Hezekiah experienced this, he cried out to God pleading for God’s rescue. God’s reply was, “Because you have prayed, I have heard you.” (2 Kings:20). Prayer as our go-to pattern, when we’re tempted to try to work things out on our own, should produce an ease of faith for times when difficulties arise again. We can look back on how God demonstrated His presence in ways we couldn’t have imagined at the time. The importance and power of our own prayers as well as those of others to whom we entrust our vulnerabilities, is incalculable.
Through the life of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 32), Pastor Evan Brown teaches how to recognize the tactics of our spiritual enemy, Satan who is the accuser of our soul. Our enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the life that God wants to give us. God has the power to rescue and restore us in whatever trouble may come our way. Yet even when we get off-track, God calls us back to Him. If we return to God and take root in His ways, He has the power to heal, bless, and restore us to a life that bears great fruit no matter what our circumstances.
The story of King Hezekiah of Judah is the story of the Father heart of God, who wants to see His kids again. When Hezekiah became king, he had the priests and Levites remove all the objects of idol worship from the Temple, so they could resume sacrificing to the Lord in the ways Moses commanded.
Hoshea (in 2 Kings 19) was the last king of Israel, doing evil in the sight of the Lord by making alliances with the Assyrians and the Egyptians. Pastor Evan Brown draws out application for us from this rich story, on how we can be tempted to run back to the very things we have been freed from, hoping this time will be different, instead of running to the Lord. Gods plan for Israel was that they would influence the surrounding nations and point the way to the one true God. Instead, Israel adopted the surrounding nations' gods. In this message, Evan asks ‘Are you influencing others or are they influencing you?’, and offers a litmus test for us to help answer that question.
Pastor Evan demonstrated how we can learn much from the multi-generational ups and downs of the old testament kings. Just as many of the same temptations and choices of king-fathers re-appeared in their king-sons, so too can we look to our family history to recognize generational bondages we may be facing. Although the kings chose not to seek God’s wisdom, missing out on much of God’s blessing and setting a low bar for the following kings to pursue, we, not by our own steam but with active engagement with God, can break the chains of our inherited bondages.
We are each responsible for our walk with God and will influence those around us…pay it forward… by living within or without God’s guidelines. By avoiding ungodly patterns, we also avoid refusing the wealth He has given us, ending up empty and poor.
Our creator designed us. It breaks His heart to witness His beautifully wrought design rejected by those of us who think we can do a better job at shaping our own lives. Where is God’s altar within my heart?
Pastor Evan Brown offers a seasonal word of instruction for our church as he continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings,” through a look at Colossians 1:9-11, I Tim. 4:16, and 2 Chronicles 25. God seeks to use us to do His work as we become long distance runners through small steps of obedience. There may be a cost for our obedience, and sometimes we are called to abandon our own plans. Our pride will keep us from hearing from God, submitting to counsel, and attaining long-term endurance and obedience. However, our long-term endurance will ultimately lead to great joy.
On this last day of 2017, Pastor Steve Shober shared the stories of Abram, Moses, Gideon and Peter, and how God intervened in their lives in miraculous, encouraging and merciful ways. When we are honest, we can recognize ourselves in each of the lives of these four men: disqualified, helpless, discouraged and hopeless. Yet that didn't stop the Lord from blessing, empowering, encouraging and restoring these men and that will not stop Him from showing up in our lives to be in our stories!
The book of Isaiah, written seven hundred years before Christ, has several prophetic passages that speak to the coming Messiah, including chapter 9, verses 2 through 7. Isaiah says the Messiah will bring light, gladness, and freedom from oppression; that the government—kingdom rulership—will rest on him. In this Christmas Eve message, Pastor Evan Brown adds that Jesus also came to do good, to bring healing, and to meet our deepest needs: the need for forgiveness.
Pastor Evan Brown continues the Conflict of Kings series, helping us through the unfamiliar names and relationships in a “made-for-TV-plot” of murder and intrigue from 2 Chronicles 22-24. Evan explains how yet another king, Jehoash started out following the Lord, yet later in life Jehoash fell away, after his Godly mentor Jehoiada, had passed away. Evan emphasized that while mentors are important in our life, we need to be personally anchored to, and actively following the Lord. We can’t truly prosper (be satisfied) in our life, when not following the words of the Lord, as the story of King Jehoash illustrates.
The good news in this Christmas season is that God loves you, wants to be with you, and wants you to prosper, which is why He sent His Son Jesus.