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.

SECURE (Beyond Borders Series)

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.”

A Work In Process: A Labor of Love

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)

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

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 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.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 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. 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. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 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, 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.

The Power Of A ‘Win’

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.”

From Struggle to Strength

Life can be difficult. Living means that we will face challenges along life’s journey. As we deal with difficulty we must remember that God is not the author of our struggles. But rather, our struggles (spiritual, emotional, physical, mental) should lead us to depend on God’s presence, not His absence, in our lives. God has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us and and comfort us ‘From Struggle to Strength’. It is the Holy Spirit who journeys with us through this life.

In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Dan shares Biblical principles that teach us how to turn our attention from our problems to His presence. Outlining an ABC process, we can go from struggle to strength in the Lord: First, bring ATTENTION to your thoughts. Renew your thoughts in spite of your current troubles. Second, BELIEVE in the battle. Strength is fueled by faith. The opposite of faith is doubt. Third, CONTINUE to grow in the pain. Pain should be a reminder that we are being challenged to grow.

Work this ABC process every single day – day after day – over and over again. As you push your way through, God will move on your behalf.

James 1:2-4 (NIV)

Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

A Tale of Two Sons

‘Lip service’ can be understood as just saying what we think others want to hear. There are no “actions” behind our words. We fail to come through on our commitments and promises. God sees our heart and knows when we are just giving Him ‘lip service’. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah stating His judgement on ‘lip service’ by declaring, “These people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me” (Isaiah 29:13).

In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Marcy shares biblical insights into three possible reasons that keep us from from following through on our commitments:

  1. Fear of Failure
  2. Fear of Future (Expectations)
  3. Fear of Pain or Loss

We must trust ‘the process’ when we fail to ‘get it right’ at first. Be open to the opportunity to recommit and reconsider your decisions. If never to late to change your mind. Persistence pays off. So, push through your ‘quitting point’. Take the first step (the first step is often the hardest), and God will reward your decision by honoring you.

Small steps. Big changes.

Matthew 21:28-32 (NIV)

The Parable of the Two Sons

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

God’s Process for our Progress: “Process Series”

Our world has experienced incredible progress. Much of this is a direct result of the technological advances that make life’s daily tasks easier to accomplish. Yet, many people still experience frustration in life because of the ‘slow progress’ they are making in their health, finances, relationships, and spiritual journey. In order to see progress in our lives we must embrace God’s plan and purpose. God has a strategy for our life.

In today’s sermon podcast, Pastor Dan shares a biblical perspective on God’s Process for our Progress. First, we learn that God will often lead us out before He can set us free. Second, we learn that our vision is often distorted on the journey of progress. We don’t always have the ‘right picture’ because we are often stuck on the ‘end result’ and the ‘get it now’ mindset of instant gratification. Lastly, we learn that consistency will make the greatest impact on our progress. Progress is made when we consistently do the same ‘productive things’ over-and-over again – day in and day out. On the journey of progress remember that consistency counts. So, don’t quit before your time.

Mark 8:22-25 (NIV)

Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.