“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

New Headline, but the Same Story

every single oneIn January 2015 Awestruck Church launched a new vision statement for our church.  When we began in 2008 our vision and mission statement was long and wordy…very wordy.  It was well thought out and prayed over.  It was a great description of who we wanted to be as a church.  It was everything I wanted it to be.

The problem…It was also very difficult to remember!  In the fall of 2014 I asked my staff and some key volunteers to recite our vision statement for me.  I caught them off guard and didn’t give them a chance to study.  What caught me off guard was the fact that no one could quote our well thought out, prayed over, descriptive statement.  This was an eye opening experience for me.  If the folks who love and support our church the most could not tell me the vision, then I knew that no one in our community of faith had a clue what our vision statement was.

The good news is that these leaders in our church knew why we existed.  We were on the same page about who we are and where we are going as a church.  We just needed to clarify our wording so we can better communicate this to people in our church and people in our community.  We did not need to change our course, but we definitely needed to get everyone on the same page so we can move forward.

In January we launched a new campaign and vision statement for our church.

“Every Single One”

In Matthew 18 Jesus said this…

“12  “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do?  Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?13  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! 14  In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”

Every Single One matters to Jesus, so Every Single One matters to our church.

We also came up with our “Ones” that will help us stay on track and keep moving forward in unity.  These are the “Ones” that we value.

(Click the “One” for a Video of the sermon that gives a better description for each.)

1.  One Truth :  We are committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as our foundation

2.  One Focus :  We are dedicated to growing faithful followers of Jesus

3.  One Heart :  We are building a community that is leading each other towards Christ

4.  One Hope :  Our community making an impact on the world through the Gospel

He’s Back … Hopefully for real this time!

This Blog space has been sitting stagnant for about 4 years now.  It’s hard to believe how quickly time can slip by and how easy it is to forget about something that seemed so important.

Life has changed and my life is busier now than ever.  Two active kids keep us constantly moving in different directions to make it to practices, events, dance, and gymnastics.  A growing church keeps me busy during the day and on the nights we aren’t playing taxi driver for the kids.  (I could go on with my excuses, but you get the point.)

As I reflect on how long it has been since I actually logged in to this blog, I’m shocked that so many years have passed without my noticing.  If we don’t make things a priority then we are destined to let them fall apart.

Hopefully I’m back!  I say “hopefully” because that is my plan.  But we all know what it’s like to make great plans and watch life interrupt our great intentions.  I plan to keep you updated on life at the Parrish house, what’s going on at Awestruck Church, generate some random ramblings from my ADHD brain, and post my sermon notes to go along with the video podcast.  This should be a fun journey to begin.  I’d be honored for you to walk alongside with me.

Josh

Grand Canyon Backpacking Day 2

North Kaibab Trail to the Ribbon Falls.  We did not make it all the way to the falls due to a late start and a dinner time deadline.  We had to wait for the rain to stop before we could start our day hike.  Almost 10 miles round trip and it was well worth the walk.

 

Bright Angel Camp Ground and Phantom Ranch

Filmed in our 2 days down by the river.  Phantom Ranch is an amazing place…and the mules are amusing.  The thunder and lightning are quite scary and mesmerizing at the bottom of the Canyon.

Grand Canyon Backpacking Day 1

October 19, 2010…down South Kaibab trail to the River and Bright Angel Campground

A Year of Firsts

2010 has been an exciting year at Awestruck Church and in the Parrish family.  We have experienced many “firsts”.

Awestruck shared our first Communion time together and it was beautiful.

I got painted while I was preaching on Easter Sunday…that might be the first and last time

Awestruck became owners of property and a building

*The land was given to us free and clear.  That is the first time I’ve ever experienced that large of a gift.  God is amazing*

My son is officially  a first grader

Awestruck had it’s first Child Dedication Service

Awestruck hosted it’s first Bonfire and Campout

Awestruck had the fall festival on it own property

— We had ponies, and that was a first

This is the first year we participated in Staff Appreciation, because we actually have a stafff

We are doing our first Christmas Eve service this year

I’m sure there are many more “Firsts”, but these are the special ones that come to mind.  I can’t wait to see how some of these things blossom and grow in the future.

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.

“This is the stuff that happens to other churches…”

That’s exactly what I have been thinking for the last two months, but one of my leaders summarized exactly how I’ve been thinking and feeling with his statement.  He said, “This is the stuff that happens to other churches.  You know God can do it, but never expect it to happen to us.”  I’ve never doubted God’s ability, but perhaps questioned when, where and IF it could take place at Awestruck.

In August 2007 I sat with my pastor at CrossPoint Church (formerly Clifton Road)  and shared my dream of starting a new church.  We celebrated and prayed over what God was doing in my life and my ministry.  When he asked where we would meet i immediately answered, “We’ll end up wherever God decides to give us land”.  It flowed out of my mouth before I could even think about what I was saying.  I remember in that moment God whispered into my spirit and said “That was for you, hold onto it”.  For almost 3 years I have been believing and telling people that one day God would give us some land for our church when the time was right.

Just a few months later while going through church planter training we were asked to close our eyes and envision our church in the future.  Everyone in the room was willing to share what their church would look like and it all sounded great, but it sounded a lot like every other church I’d ever been to.  I politely declined sharing my vision to avoid being viewed as even stranger and crazier than they already presumed me to be.  🙂  What I saw was a huge place where families were spending time together.  It contained all kinds of fun and amusement type activities.  Dads were spending time with their kids.  Christ was being honored and people were growing closer to God by doing life together and enjoying themselves.  I don’t remember what our church building looked like?  I don’t even remember if I saw a building on the property?

Last night while walking the property with a good friend he said, “God gave you a clear vision, you held onto it, and now look what He is doing.”  I can promise you that I no longer believe that it’s the stuff that happens to other churches!  I don’t understand and I can’t explain why God has blessed Awestruck Church.  I do know “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  He gave us clear direction and we have been vigilant about protecting it and walking it out.  Always trusting that we were on the right path, even when it didn’t make sense.  Especially when it didn’t make sense to the critics and doubters.

What is the vision God has given you?

How committed are you to walking it out despite the consequences?

Awestruck Church is getting a new home…

Many are asking how and where, and when, and every other question possible about the new home of Awestruck Church.  Let me first say that we will be moving our church to 20.6 acres located at 5840 Butler Rd.  (Click it to see the Google map) but I’m not sure when the official move will take place.  I can promise you it will be as soon as possible.  I am excited and I am slightly impatient.

Next let me explain how all this came to be.  The obvious first statement is God is in control and He has orchestrated this whole deal.  I am nothing but humbled and overwhelmed in this process.  This wasn’t something we went searching for, but God has taken His plan and collided it directly into the path of our church.  We can’t wait to see what else God has in store for our future.

On May 20th (exactly 2 months from the day it became official) we were driving to Boone, NC for me to do a wedding.  I normally don’t answer phone calls from people whose number I don’t recognize, that’s why God created Voice Mail, but for some reason I picked up the phone on that night.  The voice on the other end introduced himself and then asked, “If your church had a lot of land and a small building, could you do something with it?”.  I simply answered “Yes” and then the questions began to flow.  How will you use it?  How does it fit the vision of the church?  What sorts of things would you do with it?

After about 20 minutes of talking I stopped him and said that we’d love to have land, but there was no way our church could afford to buy that much property right now.  And that’s when things got interesting.  His response was, (laughter) “We are not trying to sell it.  We are looking to give it away to the right ministry”.  We finished our conversation with pleasantries and talks of future meetings to discuss details.  I found it hard to even catch my breath and wrap my mind around the gigantic size of what had just taken place.  The next few weeks were filled with frequent meetings and phone calls with 2 of the 3 folks that would be voting to give us the land.  Then almost a month of SILENCE!  Nothing!  No contact at all!

The silence was broken late last week when I was informed the official vote was taking place on July 20th.

Here we are on July 21, 2010 and it’s official!  There are papers to be signed and some legal details, but the vote passed 3-0.  A unanimous vote of unity to donate all the property, building, and remaining possessions to Awestruck Church.  To top it all off they are also writing a check for $16,000 to help us get started with renovations!?!?!

How do I feel about all this?  I am a bit numb and completely overwhelmed.  I am more humbled by the power of God than ever before in my life.  I am emotional and have shed many tears of joy.  I am blown away that God has taken that much interest in our little 2 year old church plant.

I am sooooooooooooooo pumped about what all God has in store for our future.  This land fits perfectly into the the vision God has given me for Awestruck church.  It also is an answer to something I have been believing for the past 3 years.  Stay tuned for more info on that in a later post.  This one has become way to long!

God is amazing and I promise you that the Best is Yet to Come!