Anniversary Sunday: 60 Years to Celebrate and More in Our Future

bbq-1-1537565On Sunday we had a great celebration, that our church has been here 60 years. We have been blessed with 6 decades of change and influence in our community and partnering with change in people’s lives.

And so we celebrated, we threw a party, we had a BBQ and bouncy castles. But more than that I also shared on Sunday where I believe we are headed for the next 60 years. And what I believe is this: that the future that is coming is greater than anything we have seen before. That we will be saying, “Who could have seen that coming?”

Because while I know lots of people like to talk about the end of the world, the difficulties of the church, and how the future is dark – that isn’t how Paul talks. Instead, Paul believes, like I do, that there is always good and grace on the horizon. So on Sunday we opened up this passage of Scripture from Ephesians 3 which says, “By his mighty power at work within us, God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or even to hope.”

God wants to do more in our lives that we have ever hoped, dreamed, or even imagined. The words there translated “infinitely more” means literally vastly more than more. God has vastly more than more in store for you. 

And this is something I have believed about this church from day one and still believe it is true. 

When I came here to be the lead pastor, we had to preach for a “call”. Which basically is a terrifying process where you preach and then everyone votes on you afterwards. Just a small bit of pressure…but it obviously went well.

But this was the verse I preached then. That I believed regardless of whatever happened in the vote, that God had good things in store. And I still believe that. That while lots of people like to pronounce doom and gloom; God is pronouncing life, love, a better future than could ever be imagined. This is your future, and this is mine.

So on Sunday we simply closed with having people state it aloud. To actually say, “God has infinitely more in store for me than I could ever hope or imagine”. Because there are lots of other voices that are saying different things, but I think we need to listen to the Spirit’s voice. The Spirit that says, I have infinitely more in store for you than you could ever hope or imagine. And that…that is good news.

Sermon Notes:

Big IdeaGod’s got more in store for you, me, and this church.

Teaching Points:

  • If you don’t appreciate the markers you reach, you often stop reaching them.
  • “Who could have seen that coming?”
  • The future that is coming is good.
  • God’s love is so beyond us that we cannot grasp it, but we can experience it.
  • Because when you trust in the future he has for you – you find it.
  • Listen and trust in the future God has for you.
  • Your dreams are too small for God, God’s got bigger in store for you.
  • Are you willing to let God loose in your life?
  • Your future isn’t dependent on you but on what God has in store for you.
  • “God has infinitely more in store for me than I could ever hope or imagine”

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? When you look into the future do you see hope or difficulty? Do you believe that God might have infinitely more in store for you? Are you willing to let him loose in your life? What might that look like to trust in his voice? What next step might you take? Who can you ask for support as you continue to follow him?

Challenge for the Week: Trust in God’s voice

“Daddy I’m Not Special Because You Love Me”

1470072_10153676442255643_402969151_nA few days ago I was talking with my three-year old. And sometimes I think three-year olds should be in charge because in their simplicity and understanding they are brilliant. But, of course, if they were in charge we’d probably have to watch more Dora than we’d want to but that’s a side point.

As I was talking with Hudson I told him he is so special and loved by mommy and daddy. And he got mad. Down right angry. And he told me, “No daddy I’m not special because you love me”. And I started to get a little frustrated that it kind of felt like he was rejecting a bit of my care and love for him. So I told him, “No you are special because daddy and mommy love you and will always love you no matter what.” And he said again “No daddy I’m not special beause you love me” And he started stomping his feet.

Just as I was feeling a little inwardly unsure about what to do, Hudson said this. “Daddy I’m special because God loves me, mommy told  me that. God loves me, made me, so I’m special”.

See three year olds can be brilliant – right?

And Hudson is right. That is the foundation for why we are all special, unique, and valued. And I pray to God that he will never ever forget that foundation. I pray that he holds onto that truth for every day of his entire life. I pray that he will never seek to find his validation in love from anyone else, from anything else, or from any other substitute. I pray that he will know he is special, matters, and has value because God loves him.

If you think about how might our lives be different if we would have just held onto that truth?

How might decisions in high school have been different, if we knew with such conviction, like Hudson, that we matter because of God? How might our decisions in our marriage, in our jobs, and in our families be different if we were so secure in God’s love for us?

So on that day Hudson taught me something important. He is special because God loves him, and so am I, and so are you.

Finding Something to Die For…

380639_10152357546245643_786204358_nI think a lot about the future. I think a lot about my sons’ futures. I sense both of them have different paths in life. I’m already sensing their different personalities and as I pray for them I’m sensing God will use them both in deep but different ways.

But what I’m realizing is that how I raise them will affect what they live for. So already I’m praying for strength to be able to raise them to be courageous, grateful, grace-filled, and to have a sense of wonder. But this will be tough. This goes against what the world, marketing, and society teaches us. Namely that what we want out of life is personal happiness. Unfortunately nothing can be further from the truth…

Stanley Hauerwas writes, “What you want out of life is not happiness but to be part of a worthy adventure you want to have something worth dying for.”

The difficulty is as a dad how do I help them to see this? How do I teach them that they don’t need stuff to be happy they need someone worth following and life worth leaving. That’s right leaving. They need something worth dying for. They need something bigger than themselves to give themselves to. They need Jesus.

So the question is how do you help little boys who love fire trucks, and Kraft dinner to see and learn this? How can you help them to see past TV and see the poor, hurting, and broken around the world and in our neighborhood? How do you help people see the Kingdom that is hidden all around them?

Well what I know for sure is you can’t force it. This type of life has always been an invitation. Jesus says, “Come and learn to die with me” (Luke 9:23) A statement that on the outside makes no sense, but it’s an invitation I can’t refuse. Yes, giving grace to people who don’t deserve it doesn’t make sense. Giving generously to people who will never repay you doesn’t make sense. Forgiving enemies, welcoming the broken, making room for the messy, and making your life about others doesn’t make sense. And while it might not make much sense, it does make a difference…

So while I’m not totally sure yet on how to help my boys find an adventure worth following, I know it will require a few things. It will require many prayers, sleepless nights, and a lot of sacrifice on behalf of Krista and myself. But it’s worth it because one day I hope to sit with both my boys and share with them Jesus’ invitation to take up your cross and follow him. And I hope that we might do it together…