Today, you are getting a rerun of 2015. The best moments of the preaching and teaching and discipleship.
2015 was been a year of extremes for our church. Some individuals in the church experiencing the worst year of their life. Family problems, Illness, the passing of loved ones. Two dramatic flooding events with millions of dollars worth of damage. Then, on the other hand, as a collective group we have records broken at the church with attendance, giving, new members.
Let’s look at 2015 according to the numbers:
- On average, we have 88 people watch live each Sunday, however the archives have been watched and listened to 20,052.
- On an Average Sunday we had: San Marcos: 826 = Biggest: 1260 (2 weeks ago)
- 190 went through 101 (membership session)
- 74 – Promise Groups in 2015. Meeting every day of the week.
- 515 – Average number of people attending groups each week
Every week, we encourage you to give financially to support the work here.
- We gave $40,000 to international missions and $60,000 to local missions
- In our 2020 vision offering, we had $13,426 given and $54,368 pledged
We began the year wanting to THRIVE.
We want to eliminate the separation of positive faith “moments” at church/private devotion and mundane everyday life so that we can live in the healthy rhythm of a Spirit saturated life.
Ephesian 4: 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
God wants us to be spiritually mature and emotionally mature. So we need to be aware of our self. Our emotions. Knowing yourself helps you get to know God. Awareness of yourself and your relationship with God are intricately related. We won’t be afraid to admit our struggle, our emotional trouble. Instead we humbly take it to God.
If we want a FIRE of God in our life we need three key elements. Just like earthly fire needs heat, fuel, and oxygen. Our relationship with God needs: God’s Presence (heat), Devotion (fuel) and Sabbath (air) Intentionally and consciously plan to keep God at the center of everything we do.
One of those ways is to TALK TO GOD
Most of us have a problem talking to God because: We don’t understand how much God really likes us. We give a lot more attention to people that we like and those who we are connected to closely.
When it comes to prayer, God is not concerned with our oratory skills or what others think about our prayers. You don’t have to sound a like a preacher or a deacon. You need to sound like a child that is needing a Father.
God wants us to share our thoughts, desires, concerns with him. He cares for us. We spent a whole sermon series going through the Lord’s model of prayer in Matthew 6. It gives us a structure for our conversations with God.
We begin talking to God…”Father, I come in the name of Jesus Christ.” The name of Jesus Christ is my ticket. My access. Dropping the name Jesus gives us access, credibility and common ground in our conversation with God.
As we left winter and approached the Easter season, our mind focused on why Jesus goes to such great lengths.
When reading the Old Testament we actually hear the broken heart of Jesus. Listen to what he says.
Song of Solomon 3:1… I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not. 2 I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not. 3 The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” 4 Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go…”
At each turn in the story, Jesus is making his way to you. He is searching the valleys and ascending the high mountains. Where is Pete? Where is Monica? Where is Robin? Where is James? Where is Sharon? I hear them crying. I know they are hurt. I know they are separated from me and are afraid. Afraid of life. Afraid of me.
But, I’m looking for you! You are my love.
We think we are different or weird because of our problems.
We often think that God is inaccessible to us because WE have separated from HIM. This separation is our fault and we don’t understand how he could still want us. After all when people leave us it is so difficult for us to accept them back into our lives.
We think that we will always be THE SAME. The SAME ol’ SAME ol’ The SAME cycle of addiction – The SAME relationship issues – The SAME financial trouble. If you are ready to change the SAME habits as your dad and granddad and great granddad ……. I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU! God gives SAMEness a new look.
“the SAME” has been getting a bad rap because it mostly is associated with negative, boring, or monotonous patterns. God gives SAMEness a new look.
Look at the possibilities of when our SAMEness is transformed into His SAMEness! Instead of focusing on our SAME brokenness, let’s focus on Jesus. We as believer, can boldly say because of our faith in Jesus, “oh, yeah, I am the SAME.” “I’m the SAME as HE has always been.” This begins to redefine your past, present and future. When you put your faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then you have access to a new YOU.
When you get down to it….Most of us have a problem with our pattern. The problem of our lives is not our problems but our patterns. The problem is the pattern.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
We are to pattern our life after the original Word of God.
It is not complicated. It is not. Peaceful people are those that are following the pattern. Get over yourself, submit to a higher authority (Jesus), live for him, serve others.
When you change the pattern, you change the product!
When we come to Jesus, he converts us through THREE BAPTISMS:
Salvation, Water, Spirit
- Salvation to all those who call on the Name of the Lord – brings eternal life.
- Water baptism ushers you into a new identity in Christ.
- Spirit gives confidence and clout.
We need that Confidence from God’s Spirit. We live in a very difficult, broken world!
There is true evil existing in the world and someday it will be dealt with efficiently and effectively. We can trust in our heavenly Father as the ultimate Judge setting all things right. In the meantime,
We should respond to it with the love and hope of Jesus. We bring justice to our situations not by judging but by bringing Jesus.
Not by drawing guns (smoke wagons), but instead by turning the other cheek, being the salt of the earth, being a city set on a hill. You can trust God today that He will take care of you. He will heal your wounds now. He will make sure that anything that needs to happen will happen. You can rest.
Romans 12:17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
We studied the book of GALATIANS in the month of July.
The book of Galatians brings clarity to the Gospel of Jesus. It gives a picture of a fake gospel that looks and sometimes feels like the real gospel, and then the actual Good News. The fake gospel says that you will be accepted and approved of by what you can accomplish as a good person.
Real Gospel is the Good News that you don’t have to save yourself from this world, but that God loves you so much He saves you
Galatians 3:6 In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” 7 The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God. 8 What’s more, the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would declare the Gentiles (all of us in here today) to be righteous because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9 So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.
Everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved. “People of San Marcos, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. Jesus was nailed to the cross and killed. 24 But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip. (Acts 2)
We baptized 132 people in 2015. We went to the San Marcos River on August 23rd and baptized 68 people!
You were created with specific talents, skills, and abilities. You have a unique personality. You were created with Spiritual Gifts.
1 Corinthians 12:4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts (abilities), but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
In Mark 2:1, When the crippled man needed to get to the feet of Jesus, his friends carried his mat to the house, up to the roof, tore off the roof, lowered him to Jesus. At the point of his greatest need, his relationships carried him to Jesus. Who is carrying your mat?
Matthew 7:24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
Our finances wreck us because of our selfishness and lack of discipline. Our desire to please our self. Our marriages wreck us because we look to another human being to be our source of completion.
What Paul is saying is that contentment and peace comes from something besides what money can buy. It comes from something besides being married to a specific person.
Give to God your finances. Wives submit to your husbands. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.
These are INSEPARABLE. You can’t have one without the other. When these are together, this is where the magic happens.
Your home is built on a firm foundation.
Truth1: We are all THE SAME. We all messed up!
Truth2: God eagerly and lovingly awaits your attention. (PERIOD)
The church is a hospital. A community where people can find healing and new life. A community where we are healed and then heal others. We were found. We are a found people that find people. Come as you are. You don’t have to pretend that you are ok. You can belong before you believe. You are welcomed to show us your issues because that is the way to healing.
Today, we are going to talk about “The Same….Clothes” Turn to your neighbor and ask: “I like your outfit. Who are you wearing?” (Red carpet conversations)
My wife has told me repeatedly that she is going to overhaul my wardrobe. I know I’m getting old because I love to keep clothes and do not care at all that I’m wearing jeans that I had in college…17 years ago. I’m wearing shoes that I have holes in them. I don’t care. They are covering my parts.
Clothes are meant to cover up some things. We wear clothes to cover up our literal nakedness.
The style of what you wear and how much you wear reflects who you are and who you think you are.
Your clothes GIVE OFF a persona. They define who you are:
I brought some pics with me today since you liked the ones so much last week:
You can listen to this podcast here.
You can watch this message here.
Jesus is Risen! Just as he said! We celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ defeated death and the grave today! That is supernatural.
Unfortunately, for many there is a disconnect from that fact, and the world they currently live in. They know in their head that Christ rose from the grave, but in their heart they suffer from unfulfilled expectations, a difficult past, shame, guilt, anxiousness and the like.
When we see a group like this gather, it can be intimidating because it looks like a room full of people that are perfect, gathering to worship God, and outsiders fail to see where they fit in.
Today, We start a new sermon series that will run for the next 4 weeks called THE SAME. This series will destroy two myths. Myth1: you are different or weird because of your problems. Myth2: That God is inaccessible to you.
Truth1: We are all THE SAME. We all messed up!
Truth2: God eagerly and lovingly awaits your attention. (PERIOD)
However, there are many people in churches that are a bit confused. Confused and forgetful about where God has brought them from. They judge others thinking they have it nailed. Not realizing the pride and arrogance in their heart.
Hozier’s Grammy nominated song: “Take me to Church” has a very poignant line: “Take me church, I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife.”
That is not just a perception of the church. That is a reality in many churches. When people get honest and admit to sin, they are often stabbed in the back. Church people often get upset when new people go through a process of healing instead of being instantly perfect. We can think that the people who have glaring, obvious issues will contaminate the rest of us.
It’s like the feeling I get when I pull up to the CVS drive-thru. One of the things I absolutely hate about life is the drive-thru at CVS pharmacy. That is where we get our prescriptions filled. We have some preventative meds for our daughter that we have to get every month. So we are strong and healthy but we need to get meds at the pharmacy. So, we have to go to the drive-thru. You pull up to the window and when they open that window, there is a blast of disease air that comes through that window. I envision plagues and fevers and diarrhea coming through the air as we get our prescriptions. Then, the worst part is they make you take the disease ridden pen and sign the paper. We have germ gel we take a bath in as soon as they close the window.
Here is a pic I took a while back. One of those community pens!
You know what I’m talking about!
That is the way some people are at church. They think that the problems of others are going to creep up on them.
I’m so thankful that I was raised in a church where my pastor always said, “this church is a hospital, not a grave yard.” It should be a place to find healing and new life…
NOT a place to die and be buried. Come as you are. You don’t have to pretend that you are ok. You can belong before you believe.
Eugene Peterson said, “When Christian believers gather in churches, everything that can go wrong sooner or later does…Just as a hospital collects the sick under one roof and labels them as such, the church collects sinners…So Christian churches are not, as a rule, model communities of good behavior. The are, rather, places where human misbehavior is brought out in the open, faced and dealt with.”
PromiseLand is a place that welcomes those struggling and looking for a home. This is a place that is not going to condemn or judge the outsider. You are welcomed to show us your issues because that is the way to healing.
We wouldn’t go to a hospital and neglect to tell the triage nurse what is going on. That is the perfect time to make your case! Here is how I am messed up! The truth: we are all wounded. We all have wounds from the past. We all have sin in our past. We all sinful, awful attitudes and actions. We have all done things. We have all had things done to us.
What if we knew we weren’t alone?
What if we ceased fire on one another?
What if we started looking like the church that Jesus had in mind?
Where would we begin? We would begin being honest.
We are going to do something today that is incredibly risky.
However, that’s cool. PromiseLand San Marcos is going to be a church that does risky things in order to be a place of healing and authentic life change. There is a little slip of paper in the seat in front of you. Take it out. I would love for every single one (of you member, guests, attenders) to participate in this. I guarantee it will make a big impact if we all participate.
Take out the card and a pen/pencil DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME ON THE CARD. THIS IS ANONYMOUS. During this next song take a look at the screens and read the questions. For each question simply circle yes or no. If you need a little space, then spread out a little bit, you can stand up go to the wall, no cheating and looking on neighbors paper. Some of these questions are personal, invasive, difficult, they might be something that you have never revealed to anyone. Let me be clear, since this is anonymous, no one will ever know what you put on this paper.
If you can do it, please do it! I promise you there will be a point in a few minutes where this will all be worth it.
I heard one time that vulnerability is the definition of courage.
Let’s start being courageous:
- Have you ever struggled with Depression?
- Have you ever found yourself struggling with fear or anxiety?
- Do you have anything in your life that you haven’t been able to quit doing?
- Do you have anything in your life that you regret?
- Do you have anything in your life of which you are constantly ashamed?
- Do you have any secrets that you’ve never shared with anyone?
- Have you ever been abused or abusive?
- Have you ever cut yourself or intentionally harmed yourself?
- Have you ever thought about or attempted suicide?
- Have you ever had a physically intimate relationship with someone you aren’t married to?
- Have you ever abused alcohol or drugs?
- Do you struggle with attractions, temptations, or thoughts that you know are outside of God’s will for your life
- Have you ever lied to someone in your effort to hide your actions?
Now take your card and fold it in half, 5x, make origami, Then pass it to your right. There will be people coming down the aisle collecting these. Again, it’s totally anonymous. No one knows who you are or what you put on the card. (don’t open your neighbors and peak) I’m asking all the ushers to now go to the opposite side of the sanctuary and redistribute the slips of paper. Mix them up a little bit. As a bucket goes by, pick one paper out.
Let’s go ahead and find out our survey results right now.
Today, we are going to lay down our shame and Today, we are going to lay down our stones.
The paper you are receiving now is not your own. We randomly mixed these together and now you are holding someone else’s paper. You don’t know who that is. You don’t know who holds yours. We are going to represent each other right now. I’m going to go through these questions and I want you to represent the person that you are holding. If the person you represent circled yes on a question, as I call it out, please stand up.
We think we’re alone. We are not. We think we are the only ones. We are not. We are THE SAME.
I don’t really like to tell people that I am a pastor because as soon as I tell them I’m a pastor the conversation and relationship changes. People often censor their stories around me. They think I will be shocked by their story. Ooohhh can’t tell pastor about that. He probably never heard of that stuff….Pretty much, that is all I do. People ask me what I do during the week. Listen to people talk about their sin. Just the other day on the ski lift I was another guy here in the church and we were just sitting there listening to the other two guys on the lift. They were talking about partying and smoking weed and all this stuff, then one of them happened to look at my skis…
One of them said, ‘Oh, are you a Rev?” and the guy with me said “yeah, he is my pastor!” and immediately the conversation changed. Why? because of the social concept of a pastor. The guy who was just talking about partying said, “oh yeah, well I’m non-denominational. God’s beauty is so amazing out here.” As we got off the lift the other guys said, “Well, you guys have a glorious day”
They were so polite, but they thought they had to display a different side of themselves for me because I was a pastor.
You are not going to shock me with your sin, and that is just me. A pastor.
We don’t shock God with our sin. We don’t surprise God or make him think “oh no. What am I going to do with this one. This one finally tripped me up.” NO!
God knows exactly who you are, where you are headed AND you are safe around him.
If you are tired of the SAME ol’ SAME ol’
If you want to end the SAME cycle of addiction
If you are ready to finish the SAME habits as your dad and granddad and great granddad
I HAVE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever.
Romans 8:11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this SAME Spirit living within you. 12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Philippians 2:5 Let this (SAME) mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Philippians 3:8 (we are all the SAME) Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
“the SAME” has been getting a bad rap because it mostly is associated with negative, boring, or monotonous patterns. But God gives SAMEness a new look. Look at the possibilities of when our SAMEness is transformed into His SAMEness!
Today, instead of focusing on our SAME brokenness, let’s focus on Jesus. We as believer, can boldly say because of our faith in Jesus, “oh, yeah, I am the SAME.” “I’m the SAME as he has always been.” This begins to redefine your past, present and future. When you put your faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, then you have access to a new YOU.
You have a access to a new definition of your past. I am the son or daughter of Jesus.
Therefore, my past is being converting from something that I have always been ashamed of into my story. I’m now a witness of how God can change a heart.
Today, I hope that you leave here with some new thoughts.
If you thought you were alone, You aren’t.
If you thought you weren’t welcome, You are.
If you thought there was no hope, There is.
If you thought you could never be honest, You can.
If you thought this was a church of perfect people, you are on crack.
If you thought it is a church of forgiven people, It is.
If you want more, if you want freedom, you can have it.
If you thought Jesus was interested in condemning you, He is not.
If you thought the church could not be a safe place for someone like you, this one is.
This is not a perfect place. We are going to mess up as leadership team. We will bump into each other, we will miss it sometimes, but we are committed to be a community that loves one another and walks together towards Jesus!