Posts Tagged ‘ Church ’

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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Reflections on Awestruck Church (And a Prayer for our Future)

moveOne thing we can be sure of in life… Things will change! 

Sometimes that is bad, other times that means the situation is improving

 

In 2005 I had one item on my Christmas list…

It was a big ticket item and I just had to have it … It was a game changer!

4G iPod Nano

It did not take very long for my Life Changing Gift to become outdated…

It doesn’t hold many songs, No Touch Screen, No Candy Crush Saga???

This Nano led to other iPods, iPhones, iPads being in my house

Sometimes when things change it means there is an Upgrade in our life

 

Awestruck began in October 2007 with a group of 10 sitting in my living room

–In September 2008 we launched at Eastern Middle School

–In August of 2010 we began renovations on the Butler Rd.  property

And this is where we have been for the last 4 & 1/2 years

 

Since we have been on Butler Rd…

–We have camped out in below freezing weather

–Roasted almost 1000 hot dogs over a big bonfire

–We have hosted 2 Glow in the Dark Egg Hunts…before the sun went down

–We have worked hard together on improvements

–Hosted movie nights

–Served our volunteers breakfast and dinner

–Had some fun small group parties

–Our band has released 3 CD’s… Recorded one in this building

–We hosted a big CD release party right here

–We partnered with “The Patio” at this location

–2 churches became one awesome place for God to do work

–We have formed a great relationship with the Reedy Fork community

–We have celebrated 5 out of 6 of our anniversaries on this property

–We have seen some of our folks move on, but God has added a bunch of new people to our congregation at this property

–We have commissioned 4 people into Christian service and helped launch 5 church plant while in this building

–Tyler was ordained on this stage

–Almost 200 Families in our area have been blessed at Christmas time

–We have watched our children’s ministry become a youth ministry

–Almost 40 children have been dedicated on this stage

–Many people have given their life to Jesus at this property

–21 people have been baptized at this building

God has used this property to do some amazing work and gather some pretty awesome people.

The church is the people of God…Not the building

Over 100 Times in the NT the word Ekklsia is used to describe the Church

This word always means the Assembly or Gathering of people

NEVER the building or house where they met

Awestruck has had 4 Locations in 7 & 1/2 years 

God will move among His people as long as we are following His Plan and Seeking to give Him the Glory.

Here’s the Key to our Future success … We seek to Give Him all the Glory

 

Let’s look at Some things we need to Guard ourselves from in the Move:

1.  Being distracted by the location and the size

–God Grows a church…No matter where it is located

–Bigger does not always mean better … Especially if Christ is not the focus

2.  Letting the Newness Wear off … 

–Eventually the new location will become just the Location

–When that New building smell begins to fade we need to ask God to Refresh our passion for Gibsonville and the surrounding areas

3.  Thinking that the Church is becoming “Too Big”

–I believe we are going to grow in numbers

–You are going to bring friends and the Town is going to Show up

–As we grow bigger in numbers then you need to grow smaller in our community

–Get involved in a small group so that you can maintain intimate relationships

–Get involved with a serving team so you can work to help us reach more people

I Believe this with all my heart … We are moving forward in God’s timing and according to His Purpose for Awestruck

After 2 Frustrating years of waiting to hear clearly from God

He has answered our prayers about the location of our Gatherings

God has Clarified the Vision of our church so we can all move forward under the Heading of “Every Single One”  (Truth / Focus / Heart / Hope)

Our church body feels more Unified than ever before in this move…

-We have come together to work and renovate

-We have Unity in our daily prayers for the future of Awestruck

 

We want to keep our eyes on where God is taking us in the days to come

–Our past will always be a reminder of God’s faithfulness when we seek Him

–Our future is unknown, but We are trusting God to continue to Blow our Minds

 

This verse has always been our prayer…

It seems even more relevant at this time in our Church’s History

Eph 3 : 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. 20  Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21  Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

“Bleep of Faith” Week 2 Sermon

Bleep of FaithHere is week 2 from our series “Bleep of Faith”.

You can click Right Here to watch the video.

Here are my sermon notes if you want to follow along…

All kids reach an age that we both are excited for and dread.

That age when they start saying “I can do it myself”.

This mentality starts at a very early age, 

but unfortunately most of us never out grow it and it causes some issues

–Ball Hogs on the basketball team

–Coworkers who want to take all the credit

–Husbands who pretend they do anything around the house

And Christians who don’t think they need community to grow closer to God

Last week we talked about the Foundational offensive truth… You need Jesus

Titus 3 : 4  But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5  he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7  Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

According to the Gospel…You cannot find God without Jesus Christ

Today we are talking about a Foundational offensive truth of continued spiritual maturity … You are not capable of doing it on your own

You need other people

You are not strong enough or good enough to grow without spiritual community

God’s plan of salvation was Jesus

God’s plan of growth and advancing His Kingdom is His Body

Romans 12 : 12  The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.  So it is with the body of Christ.

Each of us is part of the Body of Christ…Together it makes something amazing

Separated the body parts become almost useless!

13  Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free.  But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 14  Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15  If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16  And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17  If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear?  Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18  But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.

Each one of us has a very specific role to play in God’s Plan!

19  How strange a body would be if it had only one part!  20  Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21  The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.”  The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”  22  In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23  And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care.  So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24  while the more honorable parts do not require this special care.  So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25  This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.

Not only is your role specific … It is also very Important

All of us together make up the Kingdom of God…The Body of Christ

We all need each other

26  If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27  All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

If we are all individual parts of one body then none of us can survive alone and severed from our source of life.

Jesus is our source of salvation … Other believers are our source of health

God created us to live together in Community

So let’s look closer at the reasons we need to be deeply devoted to a group of other believers…

–Learning

Acts 2 :  42  All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43  A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44  And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  45  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47  all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.  And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

In community we learn more about God and we learn from God

We don’t just learn from the teacher … we also learn from each other

In a community of faith you are both a student AND a teacher

–Love

Eph 4 : 2  Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3  Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4  For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

The unity of Christ is the source of some of my closest friends and relationships

In the Body of Christ we are Building relationships that will last for an eternity

And the thing that binds us together is Peace!

In a community of faith you both receive love and you give love

–Accountability

Don’t let this word scare you … This shouldn’t be as tough as we make it

“Fruit inspection” in the church should be Helpful … Not dramatic and gossipy

Accountability is when Loving people help point out the things you can’t see 

The reality is that You can’t see what everyone else sees

Galatians 6 : 1  Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.  And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2  Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3  If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself.  You are not that important.

10  Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

It’s like when you have food stuck in you teeth or a booger in your nose

All of us have a spiritual booger!  

We need others to point it out… not pick it out … Point it out.  

It’s our responsibility to deal with it and remove it … But you would never see it without the help of a true friend.

Godly Accountability is when others point out the things in our life that are keeping us from moving closer to God

–Encouragement   (We don’t just point out … we also help them forward)

Scripture says Edify one another…The original language was about building a house

1 Thes 5 : 11  So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

Romans 14 : 19  So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

We should be Building each other up and helping each other make it through life

This is with our words, actions, service, and sometimes sacrifice of resources

In a community of faith you are both encouraged and you are an encourager

Eph 4 : 29  Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

We are One body…Many Parts that Need each other for Health and Growth

 

 

FAQ’s About our Big Move

move

In case you missed the news this weekend…Awestruck Church is moving our meeting spot to a Historic movie theater on Main Street in downtown Gibsonville.  As we have been planning this move and talking with people, certain questions have been asked over and over.  From our staff to some first time guests who heard the announcement on Sunday, these are the top questions we have answered.

Why Gibsonville?

Our heart was to plant in and reach Eastern Guilford county when we started meeting in my house almost 8 years ago to plan and dream about starting a church.  8 years ago we looked at meeting locations from Alamance Crossing all the way up to the Mt. Hope Church Road exit on Hwy 85.  Gibsonville is in the perfect location to fulfill the vision that God gave us so many years ago.

Also, when we considered moving closer to Greensboro there were several factors that caused us to stop and say no.  Property in Greensboro is expensive to lease or purchase.  There are so many great churches doing amazing things for the Gospel in Greensboro.  God is calling a large number of church planters into that area that have just recently started or are getting ready to launch.  While there are a some churches in Eastern Guilford County doing big things, we still see the need for a vibrant, gospel centered church in this area.

Downtown Gibsonville is busy and alive with activity.  Great restaurants, parks, a dance studio, and local businesses make this a hot spot for big crowds.  We are moving our incredible church to where the people are instead of hoping they come and find us.  This gives a great opportunity to meet and spread the gospel to a larger new group of people.  We are excited about becoming an active, supportive member of this community.

Why move instead of build?

We are currently meeting on a beautiful piece of property in Mcleansville.  Unfortunately beautiful does not always translate into easy and convenient.  The land does not perk well for extra septic needed to build on our current property.  To build on that property will be extremely expensive because of the septic issue.  We were given an estimated cost of around $100 thousand just to put a septic system in.  That is $100k before we ever break ground on a new building.

Our heartbeat at Awestruck is to be fiscally responsible when it comes to our tithes and offerings.  After meeting with several different contractors, inspectors, engineers, and other pastors about this issue over the past two years, we have decided that it is not a great financial decision to begin construction at this time.  The cost issue combined with a hard to find location are the major factors that led us to decide to make a move.  This does not mean that we will never build on this property.  This simply means that with our budget and the current size of our church it is not our best option.

Are we selling the current property?

The short answer…NO!  (That is the first “no” I’ve been excited about in a long time.)

On a very selfish note, I love our current property on Butler Road.  It is peaceful and a blessed place.  God used that property not only to enhance our church, but also to encourage me at a tough time in my pastoral life.  I believe the gift of that property was God’s way of giving His stamp of approval to the work He has called me to do.

On a church wide not, the property is still an excellent location for us to do ministry.  God did not give it to us to waste or leave empty.  I don’t know exactly what the future holds for that property.  I do know that God has a plan and we are open for wherever He leads us.

Why are we moving so quickly?

The original plan was to start renovations in April and move in when it was ready.  God’s plan was for us to get the keys on March 8.  Our plans to meet, pray and discuss the move with our congregation got expedited when we got a surprise phone call last week informing us that we could move in several weeks earlier than expected.

Easter Sunday will be a great day to launch into the future of Awestruck Church.  People love to come to church on Easter.  For the Lilly and Poinsettia crowd (“ChrEasters”) it is one of the two times they will attend all year.  I can’t think of a better Sunday to introduce the awesome ministry of our church!  We will also be able to host ONE service on Easter Sunday for the first time in many years.

Here are Some Questions I have for you…

What will you be doing to help us get in the building on time?

Who are you planning to bring with you on Easter Sunday?

Where will you be serving on Sunday mornings at Awestruck?

How much could you give to help us achieve the financial increase for our church?

The Future is so Bright…

moveOn September, 7 2008 Awestruck Church launched at Eastern Guilford middle school.  The location was hard to find and no one found us by accident.  The school was a wonderful venue to host a church service.  We formed a successful partnership with the administration and teachers.  But the location was not ideal.

In July 2010 our church was given an amazing gift!  It was clearly a God sized miracle.  Our church was given 21 acres with an existing building.  It was deeded to us free and clear.  (You can read the story of our current church property RIGHT HERE )  There was only one issue with this amazing gift … the location was hard to find and no one found us by accident.  It was even farther off the road with a long, creepy driveway through the woods to get to the parking lot.  God has a way of keeping us humble and showing that He is in full control of our church health and growth.

Over the past 2 years we have been trying to outgrow the small building on the huge property.  Whenever we reached maximum capacity the crowd would begin to shrink back down because of overcrowding and space issues.  Our church leadership has been exploring as many options as possible over this time period.  We tried to add extra service times without much success.  We attempted to partner/merge with existing churches with dwindling congregations.  We have toured numerous church buildings, warehouses, strip malls, and talked with architects, engineers, contractors, real estate agents, and inspectors.  Every different option came with it’s own set of reasons to say “no”.  Too expensive.  Too small.  Too big.  Bad location.  The land will not perk for additional septic.  Needs too much work.

Each “no” led to more frustration within our staff and leadership.  All of us knew that something had to be done.  Each of us was praying hard and putting in work to find the right option.  We were willing to make any move that God would lead us to…but it seemed that the right door had not been opened.

That leads us to the exciting news that has happened faster than we could have expected.  In late January one of our staff made another phone call about an available property.  To our surprise it was not only affordable, it was also in a Perfect location.  As we walked through the property it became obvious that each of our staff was getting excited, but did not want to get our hopes up.   Each of us was protecting ourselves from the disappointment of the unrealistic high hopes that had just been abruptly shut down by all the “no” over the past two years.  For the first time all of us were in unity with a resounding “YES” about a new location.  We invited a group of folks from our church to tour the property and give us their feedback.  A bunch of great questions came out the group.  They gave us good suggestions and helped us think through some issues we had not fully explored.  At the end of the tour we had a unanimous “YES” from our feedback group.

After 2 years of the frustrating “no’s”, could it be that God has finally opened up the right door?  I am willing to say with 100% confidence that God has finally revealed His new plan and direction for Awestruck Church.  We will be moving into a historic theater on main street in Gibsonville, NC.  We will use a dance studio that is next door for our children’s space.  This move will more than double our worship space and almost triple our children’s space.

Please continue to pray for direction and guidance as we make this huge shift for our church.  This seems risky, but God honors our faithfulness when we follow His perfect plans.  I cannot wait to see what our amazing God has in store for His church!

“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.