Archive for the ‘ Lessons from Jesus ’ Category

Easter Sunday at Awestruck

Easter was an amazing day at Awestruck Church.  We definitely set an all time attendance record.  We worshiped for the first time in our new location in downtown Gibsonville.  More importantly, many people indicated that they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior.

You can click Right Here to watch the video of the Easter sermon.

(Apologies for the sound and image.  We are working out some kinks that come with a new location.)

Here are my sermon notes for anyone who wants to follow along…

As prisoners … People are restricted in their time, conversations, opportunities, thoughts, hopes, dreams, and future

If I was ever really in this situation then all I would dream of is the day that these chains were to come off

If I were locked away my only hopes would be the day that the Prison doors were opened up and I was able to walk away a free man.

In all 4 Gospels of the New Testament we hear about a prisoner by the name of Barabbas

He was locked up and had lost all of his freedom

He was a revolutionary against the Roman government.

Mark 15 : 7  One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising.

Pilate allowed the crowd to choose between two inmates

The “Notorious Prisoner” Barabbas and Jesus of Nazareth

On that day the Crowd shouted “Give us Barabbus”

Pilate argued with them and tried to convince them to take Jesus

Going against his better judgement…Pilate granted the crowd their wish

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus … Barabbas did not have to face his punishment

Barabbas was set free because of the suffering and death of Christ

***Jesus Christ Unlocked the Chains that held Barabbus Captive***

Jesus Christ took the punishment that was intended for the Notorious Prisoner

The name Barabbas appears nowhere else in the New Testament,

All we know is that he was in Prison for murder and…

Barabbas was the first person in History that felt the immediate Freedom From the Sacrifice Jesus made for this world!

And the effects of what Jesus did are still changing the world today!

Hebrews 13 : 8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

John 3 : 16  “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Ephesians 1 : 4  Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6  So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7  He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8  He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

I am Barabbas!  You are Barabbas!

All of us are made a prisoner and have a death penalty because of our sin…

Romans 6 : 23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus came to set us free and take our punishment!

For many the Easter is about Plastic Eggs, Baskets, and Creepy Bunnies…

Today is a day to celebrate the Resurrection of of a Risen Savior

We don’t just celebrate a man that was brutally beaten and put to death

We have reason to celebrate that His tomb was empty!

The Empty Tomb is our Source of a life that is Full and Abundant!

The resurrection of Jesus means that He conquered death and hell…

We are no longer a prisoner to Sin because Jesus has the power to set us FREE!

Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to earth to take on the sins of the world.

He died a physical death and came back to life!

The Resurrection is the source of our Faith and our only Hope!

The Empty tomb is the hope for all Humanity!

2 Cor 5: 14 Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.  Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. 15  He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. 16  Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look.  We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know.  We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. 17  Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.  The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! 18 All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. 19 God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.  (Message)

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (NLT)

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  (KJV)

Just like the freedom and excitement that Barabbas must have felt…

Chains removed, Future Renewed, Hope Restored

Jesus suffered and died so that we could be experience true freedom!

Today we choose to celebrate our Risen Savior who has victory of death.  

The ending of his life was brutal, violent, ruthless, savage, And undeserved.

His flesh was beaten, his blood was shed, His heart was broken

But his capacity to love never surrendered.  

His human body failed him … But his amazing love for you and me carried him all the way to a cross where He was tortured till his death.

But that’s not the end of the story.  

It would be grotesque for us to worship a God who would put His only son through such useless abuse and misery if there were no better conclusion to the story.

–He no longer lays lifeless in a cold tomb.

–He sits and reigns in Heaven, beside His father.

Jesus is the sacrificial lamb that took on our sins so that we could know God personally.  

Jesus is the one who speaks on our behalf, even in the face of our betrayal.

He is the bridge that allows us passage across the great separation from our God.

-It was His humility that put him on the Cross.

-It was His love that brought us Forgiveness.

-It was His sympathy that provides us grace.

-It was His suffering that heals our pain.

-It was His Sacrifice that brought us Freedom from our curse

-It was the empty tomb that assures us of a life on earth that is abundant and overflowing…

And an Eternity full of worship and praise to God in Heaven.

Let us worship the sacrifice and Let us Celebrate the victory of our Savior today!  

We are Free!  He is Alive!

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“Bleep of Faith” Week 1 Sermon

Bleep of FaithThis week we began a new series about the danger of censoring out the power of our faith in Christ.  The unbelieving society will naturally censor out the name of Jesus.  As Christians we need to be careful to not do the same.

You can click RIGHT HERE to watch the video.

Here are my sermon notes for anyone who wants to follow along…

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.  (Wikipedia)

Sometimes it works great and is necessary … It protects us from nastiness

Other times they blow it and it can make things funny

Censorship can be dangerous when it comes to limiting the ability of People to make their own choices and decisions

We see it almost every day in our society when it comes to our Christianity

The subtext of our faith gets censored out by the world

This has been going on since the beginning of mankind

Look at what Paul said to the Church of Corinth more than 2000 years ago…

2 Corinthians 2 : 15  Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.  But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16  To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.  But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.  And who is adequate for such a task as this?

Throughout history one phrase has caused more distention than any other

“You need Jesus” 

No one is good enough to earn salvation without Jesus

Nothing seems to separate people like the name of Jesus…

Not the Duke / UNC Rivalry, Not the debate of Coke of Pepsi

***Not even the arguments over the color of this dress***

This is the Foundational offensive truth of the Gospel … Without Jesus we are separated from God and All forms of Spiritual Growth

This is the same offense that has been taken place for thousands of years…

1 Corinthians 1 : 18  The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!  But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19  As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”  20  So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters?  God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. 21  Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22  It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven.  And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23  So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. 24  But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25  This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

It’s easy to understand why an Unbeliever and Skeptic can try to censor the truth of the Gospel

–The Gospel forces the selfish to become selfless

–The Gospel forces the independent to become dependent

–The Gospel is all about Jesus and Nothing about Human Ability

Scholars, Educated, and Strong Willed people struggle to give up the idea that is forced on us in our society…

The idea that “We can make it ourselves if we commit and work harder”

BUT this truth is also offensive to the Religious World

The Gospel challenges “Church” Folks who want some credit…

Romans 9 :  30  What does all this mean?  Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God.  And it was by faith that this took place. 31  But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. 32  Why not?  Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him.  They stumbled over the great rock in their path. 33  God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall.  But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Jesus is a stumbling block to both the religious and the Unbeliever

–The danger for the unbeliever to Censor out the name of Jesus is an eternity separated from God

–The Danger of the believer censoring the name of Jesus is that we mute our faith of all the power that is available to us!

The name of Jesus causes some sort of reaction in every person on earth

When we mention Following Jesus then people are forced to make a decision

The name of Jesus has Power!

And the man named Jesus changed the Course of History

To accept Jesus as the Savior of the world means that we have to Reject all other paths to Heaven or a Spiritual Enlightenment

The Christian Gospel can be very offensive … 

But Christians should not be Offensive!

When we claim the name of Jesus and we claim that we are pure, holy, clean and forgiven because of Jesus…

The world wants to Censor our faith and call us closed minded

We have been called to be Salt and Light to this world that rejects our faith

Christians are not called to bully and be proud…We are called to love and be love

–Christians are not better than non-Christians

–Christians are better than their former selves

You are not better because of Jesus …

–You are forgiven because of Jesus

–You are covered and Sanctified because of Jesus

–You are a sinner saved by the grace of Jesus

Jesus does not make Christians better than non-Christians…

Jesus alone is better!

Just because you become a Christian doesn’t mean you stop needing Jesus

We need the grace and forgiveness of our Savior everyday…

His mercies are new every morning because our sin nature is new every morning

The transformational love of Jesus that you personally experienced is now the transformational love of the Church to the world  

The unbelieving world wants to Censor out the statement that could change the eternity of all who choose to believe and follow Christ…

1 Corinthians 1 : 18  The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!  But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

Christian’s need to be very careful to not Censor out the call that Jesus gave us

–Go and Make Disciples

–Love others as much as you love yourselves

–Be a Witness to the power of the death and resurrection to the unbelieving world

–Share the Hope that you have found in following Jesus Christ

“The Greatest Love” (Week 4 Sermon)

Greatest Love LogoThis is the fourth and final week of this awesome series for our church.  We looked at what the Scripture teaches about how to love in our everyday relationships.

How do we follow Jesus’ instructions to Love others the way that He loved us?

You can Click Here to watch the Video.

Here are my sermon notes:

—God showed us how much He loved us by sending His son as our Savior

This was the greatest love the world has ever seen

—He then invited us to experience His love and allow it to give us strength and joy through what Jesus did for us on the cross

Ephesians 3 : 17  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

—Experiencing the Love of God comes from Loving God and staying connected to Him through his commandments and His plan for our lives…

And Loving Others the way that Christ has Loved us

Loving others with the Love of God will cost you something

It means being willing to sacrifice and not expecting anything in return

Today I want to look at scriptures that are specific to our daily relationships

I don’t know that I have a lot of input … I Just want to lean in to the Scriptures 

Let’s start with the most difficult one and get it out of the way…

Loving Our Enemies and the people that don’t always love us back…

Matt 5 : 43  “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44  But I say, love your enemies!  Pray for those who persecute you! 45  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?  Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?  Even pagans do that.

Persecution in those days meant torture and death!

Jesus told them to pray for and love the people who wanted to kill them

That doesn’t seem very fair does it???

If He instructed them to love the people who wanted to murder them …

then that definitely covers all the people who say mean things, take us for granted, abuse our generosity, try to destroy our families, make up lies about us, cut us off in traffic, and post mean things on facebook about us … 

even if they didn’t say our name we know they were talking about us.

He went a step further and said that loving the people that love us back is what pagans and sinners do…

Followers of Jesus must go the extra mile and selflessly LOVE our enemies

This is Agape Love … Giving Love and expecting nothing in return

Let me help you out here … 

It does not say we have to enjoy it or spend all our time around these people!

But it does say that we must Love the People that want to Persecute us

This means that we can’t avoid them, return fire with our words, or stoop to their level

James 1 : 19  Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Our Goal is to Grow Closer to God…Don’t let People distract your Progress

Speaking of Enemies What about your boss and your coworkers

What does Scripture say about the Love of Christ in Our Work Relationships

Ephesians 6 : 5  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear.  Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. 6  Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you.  As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. 7  Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 8  Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free. 9  Masters, treat your slaves in the same way.  Don’t threaten them; remember, you both have the same Master in heaven, and he has no favorites.

The principle of Slaves and Masters applies to your Job!

–Work with enthusiasm as though you are working for the Lord

–Do your job unto the Lord … Not just unto the man or woman you work for

How much would that change your attitude about your job?

How would that affect your work flow and effort on your job?

Let’s look at how God intended Love to play out in Our Marriage

Ephesians 5 : 21  And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22  For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23  For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church.  He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24  As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

Submit … What a dangerous word to use in 2015 with all of you self sustaining, strong willed, independent women out there!

“I don’t need a man … I am woman, hear me roar”

Let’s look at that word “Submit” and break it down

1.  accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person.

(That’s the part of the definition that could get us in trouble!)

2.  subject to a particular process, treatment, or condition.

3.  agree to refer a matter to a third party for decision or adjudication.

The Original language meant to Obey or Support

The wife is the support system and helper of the husband

Wives are to Submit to the Man who is supposed to be the Spiritual Head

I want to point out that Verse 23 fits together with verse 25 Perfectly…

25  For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.  He gave up his life for her 26  to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27  He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish.  Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28  In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies.  For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29  No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church.

33  So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

To be a man is to be a Spiritual Leader of your Household

To Love your wife Sacrificially and Expecting nothing in return

God intended marriage to be a partnership of Accountability & Spiritual Growth

Each partner’s goal is to help the other become more like Christ

That Love translates to how we raise our kids and love our family

Ephesians 6 : 1  Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2  “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise:  3  If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” 4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.  Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

We never out grow the command to Obey and Respect our Parents…

The Promise of a long and fulfilled life continues all of our Adult days

Parents…We never have the right to provoke or respond in Anger to our Kids

This doesn’t mean that we don’t discipline and lead them in the right direction

Proverbs 13 : 24  Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.  Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

We train them up when they are young so that their future is focused on God

Proverbs 22 : 6  Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

All of these Relationships in our life have One thing in common when we connect them together with the Love of God…

We are to love everyone in our Life as much as God loved us and Love them the way that we trying to show love for God

Stop looking at the Person you are trying to Love… 

and start seeing the hope and potential that God sees in the relationship.

Aren’t you Glad that God saw past your issues and flaws and loved you like the person He knew you could become?

That is the way we are to Love others… And our love can help them see all the promise that God has in store for them.

The Greatest Love (Week 3 Sermon)

Greatest Love LogoWeek 3 we begin to dive into the task of loving others the way that Christ has loved us.  One main thing that is crucial to understand…Loving Others with the love of God will cost us something.  It requires effort and sacrifice.

Click Here to watch the Video

 

Here are my sermon notes to follow along…

Love is a dangerous word that we use in the English language 

–My daughter loves One Direction, Dance, and Attention

–My son loves baseball, football, and avoiding cleaning his room

–My wife loves naps and the show “The Blacklist”

–I love desserts, my dog, chicken mcnuggets, and my family

It’s interesting how one word is so loosely thrown around for both the important and the trivial things in our life?  We use this word all the time!

–We love our smart phones  //  our social media  //  our country  //  the food we eat  //  Television Shows  //  our spouse  …   And We love God

It’s easy to see how Christians could so easily be confused when we talk about the concept of The Greatest Love that the world has ever known through Jesus

It’s easy to understand why people treat a Relationship with God like they treat their new iPhone…Ready for a new upgrade after “loving” it for a few months

–We talked in week 1 about how much God loved us … Enough to make the Greatest Sacrifice so that we could have an intimate relationship with him

–Last week we talked about how we can truly Experience the Love of God

Love God, Love Others, and obey His commandments

Let’s dig a little deeper into the concept of loving others the way God loves them

Remember these verses from last week…

John 15 : 12  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  13  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

3 things are happening in this verse:

1.  A Reminder of something He had just told them

John 13 : 34  So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other.  Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

2.  A look at what’s coming up very soon

–Jesus has begun telling them that He will not be with them much longer

–He is letting them know that He is about to be killed and die to show His love

3.  A Challenge to look at love in a different way

–He is asking them to sacrifice more than expected to Love others

This is not a call for all of us to Die for a Friend…

This is a challenge to be willing to Give Up selfishness to Love Other People

14  You are my friends if you do what I command. 15  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves.  Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

This is HUGE!  

In the OT only two people are called Friends of God: Abraham and Moses

Jesus just extended this invitation to ALL who will follow Him

16  You didn’t choose me. I chose you.  I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  17  This is my command: Love each other.

Jesus said the greatest Commandment was to love God with all that you are…

A second…and equally important…Love your neighbor as much as yourself

 

Here He tells the Disciples that loving others might cost them something

Producing fruit and Loving the way God loves requires a sacrifice on their part

In our world controlled by “My Way, Right Away” and a Spirit of Entitlement … 

It is difficult to find good examples of True, Pure, Godly, Unselfish, Agape Love

 

Jesus was our perfect example …

He was patient, gracious, forgiving and sacrificial

He gave the same love to the people that loved Him … AND … His Enemies!

Matt 5 : 44  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

 

Jesus Taught what love is … then He demonstrated with His life and Death

Then He challenged all of His followers to Love Others the way He loved us

To go deeper I want us to look together at the words in 1 John…

1 John 4 : 7  Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God.  Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9  God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11  Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.  12  No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

Flip that verse upside down and look at it in a different way…

–We can accept the challenge that folks are watching us so they can see God

Let this sink in… When we don’t Love Others then we are showing them the opposite of God’s Character.

Could it be that so many in our world are rejecting the Gospel because they never see God’s Salvation in the “Christians” they spend time with?

13  And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14  Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15  All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16  We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.  God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

The More we Love God and seek His Kingdom…Our love Grows more perfect

As we learn more about God and Grow closer to God then we Reflect His Character

*On your own you will never be able to Love others like God loves them!*

–It is only through the redemptive work that God is doing through you that you can love

 

Let me help you understand this better…

How often have we heard “Love the Sinner and Hate the Sin”?

–How many of you are great at separating the sinner from the sin?

–How much time do you spend with the sinner?

–How often do you you actually pray for the sinner?

Most people are good at saying that line right before they condemn or gossip about the sinner!

 

Jesus was our example of Pure and Sacrificial Agape Love…

He didn’t just preach to them and love them from a distance … 

He lost his reputation in the Church world b/c He also ate dinner with the rejects, addicts, sickly, poor, and the crooks

How could Jesus Love in such a bold way w/out Fear of the opinions of others?

18  Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.  If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19  We love each other because he loved us first. 20  If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21  And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.

To Experience the Love of God we must Love God, Love Others, & Follow Him

–To love God means that we obey His commandments and Stay connected to Him

–To Love others means that we follow the Example of Jesus and be willing to Sacrifice

True Love for others is going to Cost you Something!  

John 15 : 12  13  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The Greatest Love (Week 2 Sermon)

Greatest Love LogoWeek 2 was all about Experiencing the Love of God.  God’s love is available for all of us.  It is our choice to root ourselves and experience God’s love.

Click Here to watch the Video

 

Here are my Sermon Notes to follow along…

Last week we talked about the One Event that Changed the Course of Mankind…

Jesus

And the One Word that motivated the event…  Love

A Reminder:  No matter how broken, hurt, rebellious, or sinful we are … 

God Loves You!  

–When we root ourselves in God’s love then we have strength to handle anything

–When we Experience God’s love then we find power and life to the fullest

The main question we should ask is … “How can I experience God’s love?”

***Let’s Get this very Clear and Don’t Get this question confused with … ***

“How do I receive God’s love” or “How do I get God to Love me?”

The Question is not…“Does God Love Me?

The Question is…“How can I root myself in and Fully Experience God’s Love?”

While Jesus was walking this earth He was tested and asked many questions

I want to look at one of the answers he gave to a very important question

Matthew 22 : 35  One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36  “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”  37  Jesus replied, “‘You must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39  A second is equally important:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Jesus gives us the answer right here when He says Love God and Love Others

Every other law, rule and commandment comes natural when we do this

Look at the 10 original commandments that were given to Moses…

Exodus 20 : 3  “You must not have any other god but me.  4  “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.  I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. 7  “You must not misuse the name of the lord your God.  The lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. 8  “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9  You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10  but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the lord your God.  On that day no one in your household may do any work.  This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11  For in six days the lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested.  That is why the lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. 12  “Honor your father and mother.  Then you will live a long, full life in the land the lord your God is giving you. 13  “You must not murder. 14  “You must not commit adultery. 15  “You must not steal. 16  “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor. 17  “You must not covet your neighbor’s house.  You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

10 Original Commandments were given:

1-4 = Loving God

5-10 = Loving Other People

To Fully Experience God’s Love then we are to Love God and Love Others

AND Follow all of God’s Commandments.

Look again at verse 6

6  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

If we don’t Follow God’s Commandments will He stop loving us???

Another Reminder:  While were are broken, hurt, rebellious and sinful …

God Loves You!

This is not about Gaining God’s Love … This is about Experiencing God’s Love

If we want to know His Power, Strength, Completion and Life to the Fullest 

Then we are to live a life that keeps us on the Path and Purpose He has for us!

If you are anything like me then when you hear the words “Obey” and “Follow the Rules” you immediately start hearing the little devil on the other shoulder

All humans are rebellious by nature … Some of us a little more than others!

Obedience training is for Dogs!   I’m not meant to Sit, Stay and Heal

I am an individual with my own thoughts and will.  

I want to explore, learn and be free!

If you say I can’t … I’ll die trying to show you that I can!

This was my struggle with Christianity for a very long time!

Too many Christians have bought into a Theology of being Redeemed by Works

This way of thinking is very Dangerous!

Nothing we do will ever make us good enough to earn our salvation

–We are NOT Redeemed because of our Good works and Following Commandments

We are Redeemed and Forgiven because of how much God loves us

–Salvation comes from accepting God’s gift of Forgiveness through Jesus

–Our Good works and Following Commandments are a result of understanding God’s love

Once I understood how much God loves me and how that can impact my life

My natural response was not rebellion … It was to grow closer to Him

This is an invitation to a Relationship … Not a controlling Dictatorship 

We begin to experience the Love God when we stay faithful to Him…

John 15 : 1  “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4  Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing. 6  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.  Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  8  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. 9  “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.  Remain in my love. 10  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow! 12  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14  You are my friends if you do what I command.

The Question is…“How can I root myself in and Fully Experience God’s Love?”

The Answer … Love God, Love Others, and Stay faithful to God’s Will in your life

When we live our lives Connected to God then He will do amazing things through us … He will bring the growth and the blessings.

“The Greatest Love” Week 1 Sermon with Notes

Greatest Love Logo

Sermon Notes from “The Greatest Love” Week 1 sermon

preached on 2/1/15

Click RIGHT HERE to watch the video of the sermon.

Think about some events in our history that helped shape mankind

*1440 Gutenberg invented the Printing Press

–Until then copying one book by hand could take years

–Literature became available to everyone … Religious, Political, Educational

*From the 14th to the 17th Century the Renaissance Period

–Enlightenment from math, science, and art changed the way people think

–DaVinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare

–Curiosity was encouraged and People started finding answers

*The Wright Brothers learn to Fly (1903)

*WWI (1914-1918)

–Many historians believe that the unfinished business of this war led to years of anger

–The anger of the Germans led to electing a guy named Hitler in 1933

*WWII (1939-1945)

–There was no main enemy or battleground

–Millions of innocent people lost their lives and their homelands were destroyed

–The United Nations was formed and a Homeland for the Jews was found

–The world changed and so much innocence was lost

*America Sent our first Astronauts to the Moon (1960)

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”

*Martin Luther King leads a march and gives a speech (August 1963)

–A march that began a Civil Rights movement that changed our Nation

*Kennedy was Assassinated (November 1963)

*Tearing Down the Berlin Wall (1989)

–This huge barrier that separated the communist government from the more democratic way of governing was finally removed

–This indicated that there would finally be freedom and voice for the people

*Terrorists flew airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York (Sept 11, 2001)

–We can all remember where we were and what we were doing that morning

*Mark Zuckerburg launched TheFacebook (2004)

–Today more than 1.2 Billion people are using it daily!

*First iPhone was released (June 2007)

A Concept dreamed up in 1983 was given to the world as a handheld device

–That has led to way too many phones that are smarter than their users!

What are some of the great words and speeches that have changed our world?

–“The Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Franklin Delano Roosevelt

–“I have a dream…”  MLK

–“You want the truth?  You can’t handle the truth!”

Throughout the course of Human History events and words have shaped who and where we are today …  

If we look to God’s word as our One Truth then we see there is one moment that was not only the Greatest event for our present situation … But also our Eternity

Luke 2 : 5  He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. 6  And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7  She gave birth to her first child, a son.  She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

He lived a life that was innocent and free from sin

Then He was crucified for our sins and He took our punishment on the cross

Matt 27 : 50  Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51  At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52  and tombs opened.  The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53  They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.  54  The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened.  They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

The Event that had the most radical impact on Human History was Jesus Christ

–He was more than a man, more than a prophet, more than a humanitarian,

He was the Son of God sent to die so that he could give us the opportunity to Know God in an intimate and loving way

He was the one who took our punishment & paid our price so we could have Life

Hebrews 2 : 9  What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.”  Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10  God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory.  And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. 11  So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father.  That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12  For he said to God, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.  I will praise you among your assembled people.”  13  He also said, “I will put my trust in him,” that is, “I and the children God has given me.” 14   Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood.  For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. 16  We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17  Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God.  Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

Jesus was the Event that had the power to Change Everything!

–Not only did He change the way we keep our calendars… B.C and A.D.

–He also made a way for all who come through Him to Know God for Eternity

And there is one word that led to this Eternity Changing moment…

I Believe there is One word in the Bible changed the course of all mankind

John 3:16  “God so Loved the world…”

This is not just any love … This is The Greatest Love the world has ever known

You are going to hear this verse over the next few weeks and I want you to let it penetrate your hearts as we try to fully understand what Jesus meant…

John 15 : 13  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

The Love of God sent Jesus to this earth

The Love of our savior is what motivated Him to hang on a cross

Our love for others is supposed to Imitate the Love of God

This is a love that has the ability to Change Your Life!

This is the Greatest Love and if we allow it to … 

It will Impact us in ways we can’t imagine

Ephesians 3 : 16  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

–When we are rooted in God’s Love then we find strength

–When we Experience God’s Love then we are complete and live life to the fullest

One EventJesus Christ … changed our human existence and our eternal hope

It was motivated by One WordLove

Some of you need to be reminded today of the Fact that God Loves You!

While we are sinners and underserving … God Loves Us

One WordLove

Some of you need to be reminded today of the Fact that God Loves You!

While we are sinners and underserving … God Loves Us

The More it Changes, the More it Stays the Same

We began Awestruck Church with a vision to create a Genuine Community of people formed around living life for Jesus and doing life together.  That’s it…nothing too fancy.  Our “church” exists for people to build a life changing relationship with Christ and life enhancing relationships with others.  Real people who refuse to play games and hide behind the mask of false perfection.

Our desire is not to simply have a church building and hope people come in and join us, but to inspire a culture of people who live out their faith every day.  A living representation of the life changing message of a God who loves us deeply.  The paradigm shifts from “coming in” to “Going Out”.

That was our dream when we began this adventure into Awestruck 3 years ago, and nothing has changed!  We are now the owner of almost 21 acres and a church building, but nothing has changed about our vision.

For our church the blessing of land and a building is just the beginning, not the end.  We see it as God’s provision for us to begin achieving new levels of the dream He gave a few years ago.  Having a permanent location is not the Finish line for our church, it is a whole new Startling line to the next level of what God has in store for our future.  It changes everything about the we function as a church.  We are moving from mobile to permanent.

But the more it Changes, the more it stays the same as far as our Vision is concerned.