Relationships matter to God. The greatest commandment, as taught by Jesus, is to Love God and Love People. Nonetheless, our human relationships can seem problematic. In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Dan shares biblical insights that will help us to strengthen and seek growth in our relationships in spite of the tensions, heartaches, and friction we may be experiencing.
The things that cause many relationships to fail can become the very things that cause them to thrive. Healthy tension can become a source of strength and growth. Heartache can reveal God’s heart for us. God’s heart aches for the world He created, yet, in spite of this, His compassion never fades. Compassion will lead to patience, love, mercy, and faithfulness – all of which can heal our broken hearts. Lastly, friction sharpens our relationships. Proverbs 27:17 declares, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We can either work through these three areas or ignore them, but we must choose to value the people in our relationships just like God values us!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
James 4:1-3 (NIV)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Having our name written in the Book of Life matters more than anything else in life, so we must be careful how we live our lives. For this reason, we value and honor our relationships with others, even when we come into disagreement. In today’s sermon podcast, Pastors Dan and Marcy share biblical principles from the book of Philippians that will help us to answer the following questions: How do we respond when we are on the same team but not in agreement? How do we win with our relationships with others?
First, we must define the common purpose and vision that binds us in relationship with others. Second, we must craft our communication in a manner that builds up others in love, rather than destroy or devalue them. And lastly, we must be totally invested in our commitment towards others. As you listen to this sermon, take time to reflect on your own relationships, and ask the Spirit of God to give you grace to “win” with those that are on your “team”.
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
God brought the Israelites out from the bondage of Egypt into the Promised Land… but, it wasn’t easy! They had to traverse the wilderness as part of the journey toward their inheritance. In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Marcy shares biblical insights that will help you endure the ‘struggle’ on the way toward your promise. Just because you struggle doesn’t mean that you won’t experience God’s powerful hand sustaining you along life’s journey.
No matter how the Israelites struggled, God was with them to bless them and keep them. And, after 40 years of wilderness experience, God told them, “It’s time!” God spoke this command at Mt. Horeb “the mountain of God”. Horeb, or Mt. Sinai, is the place where God speaks. It’s the place where you find rest, where you are refueled, and where you meet God.
God has an “appointed time” for everything. Now is the time! Now is the season! It’s time to go Beyond Borders. Walk into the “promised land” God has prepared for you.
Deuteronomy 1:6-8 (NIV)
The Command to Leave Horeb
6 The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.7 Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates.8 See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”
Borders are helpful because they ‘frame’ the world around us into usable spaces. Yet, some borders can seem to be an inconvenience due to the restrictions they impose. In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Marcy shares biblical principles from the life of the Old Testament patriarch Jacob. In the story of an encounter with the Angel of the LORD at Bethel (“House of God”), Jacob undergoes confrontation and transformation, which allows him to MOVE ON from his past and present struggles into a future blessed by God’s promise to make him “the son of my right hand”.
So, how do we MOVE ON from our past and present struggles as well? First, we must stop clinging to our past and allow God to define us according to His promises. Second, we cannot stay stuck in our present struggles. Don’t ‘settle’ in the place where you are. The Good Shepherd will lead you to still waters and green pastures (cf. Psalm 23). Third, we must MOVE ON. Just as Jacob did, ask God to bless you. God will create new “boundary lines” which will fall for you in delightful places (cf. Psalm 16:6).
Genesis 35:16-21 (NIV)
Jacob Returns to Bethel
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac
16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty.17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.”18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.
God has given promises for those who are ‘connected’ to Him. These are promises that we can hold on to, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. God has promised to keep us secure as He leads our lives – despite the difficulties and challenges that we may face.
In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Dan shares biblical principles that will allow us to see God as “our very present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). First, we must understand that God’s promises are connected to His presence. We connect with God through ‘seeking’ after Him (cf. Psalm 63:1, Isaiah 55:3, Jeremiah 29:13, Amos 5:4). Second, we must live for Him with our love. Understanding that God love us uniquely and individually, we respond by loving the Lord our God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Third, we must learn to adjust to our location. Know that, wherever you are, with God you can prosper! God’s promises are still available. God’s plans are still to “prosper you and not to harm you… to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Even if your circumstances don’t change, God is able to change you in the midst of your circumstance.
Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NIV)
A Letter to the Exiles
10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
An NFL quarterback doesn’t just know how to throw the ball. He has developed inner habits that contribute to his outer success. Good, productive habits are not easy to establish, they require purposeful intentional work. Similarly, in our faith journey, developing good inner habits are an important part of ‘The Process’ for living a life of purpose.
In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Dave shares Biblical insights regarding why we must depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to perform the ‘inner work’ of sanctification that leads to developing good habits (i.e. spiritual disciplines) in our lives. First, we must ‘Define our Priorities’ by committing our lives, daily unto worshiping and serving the Lord. Second, we must ‘Discover our Passion’ and identify the ‘why’ behind our love for God and for others. Third, we must ‘Develop our Patience’ as we strengthen our endurance inspired by hope. This hope is a ‘living hope’ and is found in Jesus Christ – raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and soon returning Lord and King.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 (NIV)
1 Paul, Silas and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace to you.
Thanksgiving for the Thessalonians’ Faith
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
We all experience ‘wins’ and ‘losses’ in life, and for each life changing moment God has a process. ‘Winning’ boosts our confidence. We tend to bask in the glory of our victories. Yet, there are also moments when we ‘lose’. This often causes disillusionment. But, God can use our ‘losses’ as a setup for our next ‘win’. This is because Jesus is the ultimate winner. He defeated sin on the cross and death in the grave. His ‘win’ means that our victory is guaranteed. There is victory for all who believe in Him. Living from this perspective will help us to experience life’s ‘wins and losses’ differently.
In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Dan and Pastor Marcy share Biblical principles on the power of a ‘win’ from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. First, we must Pursue the Promise. The power of the ‘win’ is for those who “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Second, we must Disregard the Debris. Life leaves behind a trail of destruction, but we must learn to “forget what is behind.” Third, we must Allow Ourselves To Be Stretched. “Straining towards what is ahead,” we have to push, press, stretch, breakout, and/or break away from the things that are holding us down.
Don’t quit when you experience pain. Don’t quit when you are challenged by the demands of life. Don’t quit because you choose not to push through. The power of the win is this: WINNERS NEVER QUIT! God is there to see you through. He is your provider, sustainer, healer, encourager, strength, and everything else you need to walk in victory.
Philippians 3:12-15 (NIV)
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things.”