The Many Shades and Voices of Pride

Pride was the subject presented by Jeff Busma in today’s teaching.  He took us to the root of pride by citing Bible verses that suggest this sin can be easily masked by not-so-obvious behaviors. In Lev 26: 3-4 God tells His people, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, I will give you rain, the land shall yield its produce and the trees will bear fruit.”  Lev 26:18-20 tells of God’s warning His people that should they disobey Him, He would punish them stating, “I will break the PRIDE of your power; I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze.  All your efforts will be wasted.”  It’s important to take the time to recognize potential roots of our pride.  The ARROGANT church referred to in Rev 3:17 claimed to be in need of nothing.  They failed to see their wretchedness.  God responded by saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with me.”  

Pride’s job is to prevent us from seeing and accepting what the Lord has for us.   Fear, anger, depression, self-pity can all have their roots in pride. Are we attempting to face life’s challenges on our own, thinking we know best, instead of giving it all to our Heavenly Father? 

Conflict of Kings, Part 8: Jeroboam's Divination

From 1 Kings 12:25-33, Pastor Evan Brown explains how King Jeroboam (King of Israel: 10 tribes) responded to his new position. Instead of trusting the Lord and the promises He made to him, Jeroboam quickly concluded that the people he was called to lead would kill him and go back to following King Rehoboam (King of Juda: 2 tribes).  Jeroboam’s divination of his future led him to give fear and insecurity a place in his heart, and ultimately to manipulate the people of Israel into abandoning the true service and worship of the Lord. 

Conflict of Kings, Part 5: Solomon's Mount of Olives

Discipleship is all about influencing the people around us one way or another. Solomon’s pagan wives led him down the dark path of idol worship, and because of his influence, the patterns of idolatry continued for generations. Many of the idols we struggle with today—patterns of thinking and behavior that are not life-giving—have been handed down from previous generations. The good news is, Jesus can help us choose not to pass these things down, and redeem the places in our hearts where the idols once reigned—if we will let Him.

Conflict of Kings, Part 4: Solomon's Breadth of Heart

How is it that Solomon, who is known for his great God-given wisdom, struggled so much with passion? This conflict of his heart eventually led him away from God for part of his life, missing out on the satisfaction only God can give.

When is passion a healthy part of our life, and when does it cause problems for us?   Evan examines the original instruction giving for the  kings of Israel and Solomon’s disregard for those instructions, resulting in Solomon’s amassing silver, gold, horses and wives for himself. Evan proposed three questions to help guide us in understanding the role and pursuit of resources in our lives today:

  • What is the purpose of your resource:  time and money, knowledge? 
  • What is the role of your resource in the mission God has given you? 
  • What is the priority pursuing those resources has in your life?

Conflict of Kings, Part 3: Solomon's Breadth of Mind

Pastor Evan Brown continues in the series, “Conflict of the Kings.”  God answered King Solomon’s prayer by giving him more than wisdom--God blessed him with riches and honor as well (1 Kings 3).  But Solomon got off track when he disobeyed God’s instructions (Deut. 17-14-17).  We learn from Solomon’s life that a good start is not always enough to finish well. We can give our hearts to God, yet we get off track if we do not know God’s word and listen to His instructions.  Solomon warns us that if we live life apart from God, our lives will be meaningless, regardless of our intelligence, education, fulfilled goals, or wealth (Ecc. 1:2).  God’s thoughts and plans for us are higher than our own.  We can live a life full of true meaning as we grow in our relationship with God and listen to His instructions.

Conflict of Kings, Part 1: Destroy the High Places

From Solomon to the exile, the Old Testament kings were in conflict—and not always with other nations. Their conflicts, like ours, were spiritual; they were torn between the gods of the nations around them and the God of Israel, between the convenience of worshiping in any high place and the discipline of worshiping in the Tabernacle as the Lord commanded. In this message, Pastor Evan Brown explores what the Bible has to say about the high places, and challenges us to look for and tear down the “high places” in our own lives.

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.

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.