Posts Tagged ‘ Elon ’

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.

Monday Download

1.  There’s this one couple that always works hard to get talked about on the Download…It’s not always pleasant.  🙂  This week I received one of the most encouraging emails in 10 years of ministry from them!  I am proud of you guys and proud of Awestruck church for being a place that God is doing huge things.

2.  My family joined me on stage yesterday and of course my kids stole the show!  That’s why I sent them back to the nursery very quickly.

3.  Me and Micah had matching shirts and they were sweet!  Adyson sang an impromptu version of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (Well….for her it was “Tinkle, Tinkle ittle start)

4.  In the middle of my message I had an interview with my wife and Heather Blackerby about the frustrations and fear of following God’s big plans for your life.

5.  I have decided to step down and let them preach every week b/c they did so good!

6.  Awestruck will be partnering with Starbucks on Huffman Mill Rd to help get James off the Bus next weekend!  Bring canned goods to church or just drop it off at Starbucks.  

7.  We are also working with Wendover Hills Weslyan Church on Nov 23 @ 7pm for a huge concert and the cost of admission is supplies for our local area Homeless population.  (more details soon)

8.  The first member/partner/discovery (we don’t know what to call it yet?) is December the 7th right after service and I am pumped about getting it going

9.  The first event of the “Bring the Hope” Tour was incredible.  Layden, Banister, and Evan brought it and Josh Stegenga did a great job planning and speaking at the event.  I’m so proud of those guys.

10.  Yesterday might have been the greatest service in our short history as a church.  Tons of new visitors and a great spirit in the place.  Technically, everything went great and our stage is almost like we want it.  I love being the pastor of Awestruck.

Does anything Scare You?

We are starting a new series called “Phobos” this Sunday at Awestruck.  A Phobia is an intense fear of something that often possesses no real threat of danger.  We will be talking about the fear of Commitment, Death, Intimacy, and Being Alone and we plan to have fun doing it!    

(Big thanks to Ben for the logo artwork and Big Bird for permission to use the song)

 

Do you have any strange phobias?  Share them with us in the comments.

Monday Download

1.  Last week was great because I could focus on my message and not running around to get all the stuff we needed to start Awestruck Church.  Less trips to Lowes and Walmart equals more study time.

2.  Nate Gray has the coolest Mohawk I have ever seen.

3.  My family was gone to the beach all last week and I have to admit it was one of the best vacations I have ever had without leaving my house.

4.  Yesterday’s service set a whole new standard for how we do church.  It was the kind of service that I hoped to have by our second month.  I never expected it to happen on our second week.

5.  God’s timing and placement is a great thing to watch in action.  It is beautiful when He uses our preparation and fits it together perfectly with His purpose for people’s lives.

6.  We had about 15 new folks show up for church yesterday and way more return than I expected.  I think the number of people will grow every week because people are excited about what God is up to at Awestruck!

7.  Layden is still the greatest band on the planet and they get better each week.  Evan produces better videos on free software than some do on expensive software.  Our team Rocks!

8.  2 services and 8 days into this deal…I am loving being the pastor of Awestruck Church more each new day.  I can’t believe I get to do this for a living.

9.  If you live in Eastern Guilford County and have not experienced Awestruck Church live, what are you waiting for?  Bring 20 friends and hang out with us next weekend!

10.  My blog hits went through the roof…I had as many reads last week than I got in the last 3 weeks combined.  Thanks for the love and welcome to my new readers.

I could have died in a Junk Yard?

This coming Sunday might be the best service in the history of Awestruck Church!  Ok, so it will only be our second week, but our goal is to get better each week.  We have received some great feedback from people that showed up last Sunday, and we are taking it to heart.  I am excited to meet with the team tonight and put all the suggestions into action.  This has been a great week.  Sunday is going to be incredible.  This morning Evan and I risked our life, literally, to film a video for my message.  Between the rain, demolished cars, and our very large (and slightly intimidating) new friend Tommy we were happy to make it out without a scratch.  You will just have to show up Sunday to see it!

Are we there yet?

I feel like all my recent blog posts are all about what we have accomplished on a daily basis.  The aggravating To Do list that has taken on a life of it’s own.  Perhaps these posts are more to remind me a year from now how much work we put in and how much of it came together in the last days before our first service.  On that note, here comes some more talk of what is now finished.  We built our own “pipe and drape” and they were finished last night.  Pipe and drape is nothing more than a curtain hung on pipe to create a sort of false wall.  Many told us that we were crazy to attempt this project, but we did it and saved about $500 in the process.  For the record, I don’t advise anyone else to take this on unless you have a great welder on your team!  (Thanks Nate)  Parts of our sound system arrived today and Don’s Music City hooked us up with some of their inventory to complete our system.  We have more than enough power and speakers to blow the doors off the place.  The problem: it will not be finished until tomorrow afternoon which means no run through/practice like we had hoped.  The Good news: John, who is putting our rack together, just so happens to be the bass player for Layden and he will be there to set it up on Sunday!  Tomorrow is a big day as we haul all our stuff into Eastern Middle and begin the process of setting everything up.  I am wondering if it will all fit and if it will all look like I imagined?  I can’t wait to see how the school looks after it is transformed into Awestruck Church.  I will post some before and after photos tomorrow evening.