Un-Series

Un-Series

So taking a page from the sitcom, Seinfeld, which began as an idea to start a show about “nothing,” we thought we would do the same with an entire message series at our Saturday night worship service, The Awakening. A sermon series is suppose to be a collection of messages that are connected by a common theme, Scripture, or concept. Much like our Sun Stand Still series that we just finished. But this Un-Series is a collection of messages that have nothing to do with each other… aside from being in the same un-series. It’s like an anti-series. The opposite of a series.

Why are we doing this, you ask? That is a fair question. I find that there is a temptation to focus on what you “should” do next in a series instead of what God is speaking to you. In my personal time in God’s Word, I constantly read over different passages and think to myself, “Wow! That would make a great message.” But I often tuck it away because it doesn’t fit with the current series.

So the Un-Series is an opportunity to let God speak through me to you, unhindered by any other agenda. Don’t mistake what I’m saying, though… God speaks through my planning just as much as He speaks through spontaneity. The series I preach, I preach because I genuinely believe God wants me to cover a subject, idea, or passage of Scripture in the detail of a 3-6 week sermon series. I do not apologize for that. In fact, I have 4 more series planned out after this. And it’s going to be awesome!

I just wanted to simplify the process and show my church that I depend on God’s leading just like they do. We’ve already finished the first night of the un-series, and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to begin.

PS… If you’re a church leader that feels stuck in a creative-thinking slump, let your un-creativity inspire you!

Blessings,

John

New Series, “Sun Stand Still”

New Series, “Sun Stand Still”

In Joshua 10:6-15, we read this story of Joshua praying for the sun to stand still in the middle of a battle, and God answered him. A supernatural phenomenon took place in the sky as God answered the prayer of a man who simply believed God to do the impossible on his behalf.

The Bible tells us that “nothing is impossible with God,” and that we “can do all things through Christ” who strengthens us. But we often get so bogged down in our current struggles and circumstances that it seems hopeless to experience anything different, and useless to dream of better.

But you were meant to experience more than the ache of the ordinary. Even in your circumstances, God has the ability to break barriers, remove obstacles, pour out healing, and restore brokenness. If you have the audacity to ask, God has the ability to respond.

Inspired by the book, Sun Stand Still, by pastor and author Steven Furtick, we’ll take a three week look at the Scriptures to see what happens when we dare to believe God for the impossible. Join us at Edgewood at our Saturday night service, 5pm, beginning this Saturday.  I look forward to seeing you there.

Blessings,

John

5 Things you MUST do to make 2012 better than 2011

5 Things you MUST do to make 2012 better than 2011

This past week at our Saturday night worship service, I preached on 5 things you must do to make this year better than last year. I thought it would be good to share them with everyone following the blog, so here you are:

  1. Leave the past behind. Phil. 3:12, 13. God cares more about where you are going than where you’ve been.
  2. Do something difficult. Phil. 4:11-13. God is calling you to do things that require Him.
  3. Find yourself in God’s story. Eph. 2:4-7. Start seeing yourself through God’s eyes.
  4. Focus on people. Eph. 4:32. Start seeing other people through God’s eyes.
  5. Start today. 2 Cor. 6:2. Do not hesitate to do what God is calling you to do.

Blessings,

John

“Redeeming Ruth” series

“Redeeming Ruth” series

The right person can change everything. This is a series that deals with loneliness, discouragement, rejection, friendship, faithfulness, hope, and restoration. No different than the story of many of us, and the preferred future God has for us in Christ. Join us for three weeks as we look into one of the shortest stories in the Bible and gain new perspective into your own story. For every person that has worked hard, experienced set backs, or just thought that they would be somewhere else in life, this series is for you.

Begins Saturday, December 3, 5pm at Edgewood.

Blessings,

John

Power of Sin

Power of Sin

This past Saturday, I preached a message from Judge 16 on Samson to begin our new series, I Am Sin. Below is a synopsis of the message, just in case you missed it:

  1. Sin is Attractive: You and I don’t stumble over things that we dislike. We stumble over things that are very appealing to us. Scripture tells us that sin is “sweet for a season.” But sin is a lie. It never says, “Come on, have an ugly, bitter divorced because you had an affair.” Instead it says, “Your spouse doesn’t care for you like this person.” It never says, “Become codependent on substance abuse. Ruin your career, and hurt everyone that loves you.” Instead it says, “You need an escape from all this chaos.” Sin lies to hide what it really is.
  2. Sin is Creatively Unoriginal: Samson stumbled every time over the same thing: women. And sin knows your weak spot also. It’s not so much that sin throws us curve-balls; it just finds new ways to throw the same pitch that we can’t seem to hit.
  3. Sin desires to leave you Powerless: The saddest part of this passage is in verses 19-20, where it says, “In this way, she began to being him down, and his strength left him… he didn’t realize that the Lord had left him.” Sin wants to rob you of your power, and leave you empty and broken. Like Samson, sin wants to make you an example of something once very powerful, not humiliated by your lack of strength.

Samson thought that his hair was the source of his strength. And his disobedience to God brought him down. Sometimes we think that if we try really hard, that we can defeat our sin on our own. But our willpower is not the source of our strength to defeating sin: Jesus is. He beat sin on the cross, and He gives us the power to overcome sin from day-to-day.

Join us next week, 5pm for our second message in the series, “There to Here.”

Blessings,

Jonn

 

Blessing Blockers

Blessing Blockers

Last night I preached a message called “Blessing Blockers” as part of our last week in a series called The Blessed Life. We looked at five things that get in the way of us experiencing the powerful, grace-filled life that God wants each of us to experience. I thought I would share them with you as succinctly as possible:

  1. Faithlessness: “I have difficulty trusting God.” Hebrews 11:6, “For without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God’s greatest desire is His glory, and my good. So I can trust Him.
  2. Inconsistent Walk: “I can’t seem to stay on track spiritually.” Rev. 3:16, “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out!” God loves me more than the awkwardness between us. So I can always come back to Him.
  3. Fear: “I am afraid of the possible outcomes of following God.” 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, courage, and of a sound mind.” There is no situation which God is not “God” over. So I don’t need to fear.
  4. Unconfessed Sin: “I hold onto a sin while trying to move forward.” Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Jesus died to take away my sin. So I don’t need to carry it anymore.
  5. Feeling unworthy: “I don’t think I’m good enough for God to bless me.” 1 Corinthians 1:30, “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.” I am not worthy on my own. So God made me worthy through Christ.

Blessings,

John