Looking Back, to Look Forward

remember-1-1152856-1600x1600So on Sunday we looked back at some of the different lessons God has really taught us in the past 4+ years here. Because I believe that what God teaches us in the past is what often prepares us for our future. The trouble is that we are so forgetful. We forget what God has taught us, we forget the lesson, and we move on.

So we wanted to halt that memory loss by remembering 4 key lessons God has taught us as a church over the past number of years.

The first was to focus on your great work. I believe that God has something that each of us are to do that is lasting and impactful. For some this great work is launching a business, writing a book, starting a ministry, or being a great dad, being an amazing wife, being the best grandmother possible. Each of us are graced for different things, the point is not to give up on what God has given us. We remembered an amazing story of Nehemiah where when a good opportunity comes along he says, “No I am doing a great work I cannot come down”. This is what we need to do, focus on the great work God has for us.

We also remembered that our lives leave a legacy that can shape generations. We looked at Jacob and Esau and how one decision by Esau changed and shaped Jospeh so that when he was in the same situation as Esau he knew how to act. And lives were changed and generations were saved. We can have the same impact if we choose our choices intentionally, if we do the hard stuff of living like Jesus.

We then looked at something hard but necessary to do: forgiveness. The truth is that forgiveness as a Christian isn’t optional – it’s kinda part of the job description. But it’s really hard to do, but that’s why it’s so life changing. So we remembered and reflected on how forgiveness, while hard to give, is necessary and challenges ourselves to give forgiveness to someone.

And last but not least, we looked at the story of Jesus and the disciples in the boat. And we reflected on a main point we had worked through earlier this year. That when difficult and darkness come that we need to always remember who is in our boat. God is always with us, and we can’t let the storms steal our focus from him.

So that’s what we learned on Sunday. The main point was really don’t forget what God has taught you. And we challenge each of us with a simple challenge: to put one of these lessons into practice. Because the way we ensure we don’t forget what God teaches us, is to live it out. Things we practice and use, we remember and don’t forget.

So we closed with a challenge. To put one of these four lessons into practice: to focus on your great work, to ensure you leave a legacy, practice forgiveness, and never forget Jesus is in your boat. Because it’s when you start to live differently that lives are changed.


Sermon Notes:

Big IdeaDon’t forget what God has taught you

Teaching Points:

  • What God prepares in us in the past, is what enables us for his future
  • If we want to find where God is leading us, it begins by remembering what he has done within us.
  • I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. – Nehemiah
  • The choices you make today can be the thing that determines someone’s life years from now.
  • Forgiveness is not a feeling. Forgiveness is a choice to end the cycle of revenge and leave justice in the hands of God. Brian Zahnd
  • Always remember who is in your boat.

Adult Discussion Questions:

What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? What sermons do you remember most? What lessons has God taught you that have been significant in your lifetime? Is there one of those lessons that Andrew shared that resonates? What can you do to take a next step? Who can help you with that?

Challenge for the Week: Put one of these lessons into practice.

Finding God on Your iPod

Well on Sunday we are launching a brand new series here at church: Finding God on your iPod. We are going to be looking at songs that reveal truth, and have impacted my relationship with God.

Some of the songs you might know, some you might not. But the beautiful thing is that God is all around us and ready to speak to us through so many ways. And we hope to find one way that God speaks to us on Sunday is through music.

I’ve found that at very specific and important times in my life God’s spoken through a song.

So we want to explore some of those over the summer.

But before we get there, what about you? What songs has God used to speak to you? How did he reveal his truth or a thought to you? I’d love to hear what songs God has spoke to you through, and who knows maybe I’ll use one!

god on ipod series

Three Powerful Words: It is Finished

There are three really powerful words when put together. And no it’s not “I love you”, although those are powerful words too.

The three words I’m thinking of are these: “It is finished.”

Those are really wonderful and powerful words to be able to say. Sometimes it feels good  just to say them after remodeling or renovating your house. Sometimes it feels good to say them after a hard day at work, saying “it is finished”.  Sometimes it is really powerful to say them after a huge project, or event.

it-is-finishedBut these words are really more powerful and meaningful when they are shared about soul level stuff.

  • Like when you can finally look back at a brutally dark period of your life and finally say, “It is finished”.
  • When you can look at a hurtful person, and finally because of forgiveness say, “it is finished”.
  • When you can look at some of your addictions (drugs, drinking, pornography, power, importance whatever) and be free from them and say, “It is finished”.

When you can look back on hurtful periods, sinful things, or difficult things and finally say “It is finished”, those are some of the most powerful three words to utter.

And come Sunday we are going to look at how you can say them in your life, over the things that hold you trapped. But first we are going to look at who said those three words first, what they mean, and how they can change your life.

“It is finished” – Jesus (John 19:30)

The Language of Hebrews

On Sunday we are starting a brand new series on the book of Hebrews. This is probably one of the most neglected books of the New Testament because a lot of its context is far from ours. We don’t know what to quite do with the language of blood, goats, sacrifice, and covenant. But we hope to change some of that through this series: that we might learn the language of Hebrews and through that grow deeper with God.

Language of Hebrews

Contentment or Comparison? Which Way to Live

Roter und Grüner ApfelOn Sunday we looked at the issue of comparison that runs throughout so many of our relationships. We share with a parent friend that our child is reading Dr. Seuss and they respond with, “That’s great my little Johnny loved reading Dr. Seuss…last year”.  And we feel like our kids are behind.

This happens all over in sorts of relationships. We base whether we are doing okay, on whether we are keeping up with those around us. Our lives end up being driven then by those around us. They set our pace, and they set our expectations.

Solomon says this is dumb. Well technically he says it’s meaningless, but I think he would also say it’s dumb, silly, and not helpful. He writes this: “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind.”

He essentially is saying comparison drives us forward, but it’s meaningless. It doesn’t get us anywhere and leaves us empty, and grasping.

And this is Solomon that won at the comparison game. He was the wealthiest, smartest, most powerful person around. When he compared himself with anyone, he always won. And so even though he won the comparison game, he says it won’t get you anywhere. It will drive you into the ground. It’s meaningless.

So that’s what we looked at on Sunday.

Thankfully though Solomon wasn’t done. He didn’t just say don’t live with comparison, he gave us another way to live. He says one verse later: “And yet it is better to have one handful with quietness, than two handfuls with hard work and chasing after the wind.”

His point is this: it is better to live with contentment (one handful) than comparison (two handfuls and grasping for more). Contentment is better than comparison every time.

And this is true, learning to be content is the most freeing thing. And it is something we need to learn, because we are taught to compare and compete. But Solomon, the wisest person, says contentment is far better.

So to land this on Sunday we asked one question: are there any areas of our lives that comparison is leading rather than contentment?

  • Is comparison or contentment driving our career?
  • Is comparison or contentment driving our parenting?
  • Is comparison or contentment driving our finances?
  • Is comparison or contentment driving our lives?

And I think this is a question worth reflecting on and acting on. The rat race, of comparison and competition, just makes us frantic. Contentment makes us whole.

So what can you be grateful and content with today? And maybe if we just start with that question every day we can learn to live different.

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Contentment is always better than comparison.

Take Aways…

  • Comparison is a trap we get stuck in.
  • Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless–like chasing the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:4
  • We are motivated not by what is best for us, but by what everyone else does.
  • We are driven not from real need but from comparison.
  • “Fools fold their idle hands,
leading them to ruin.” Ecclesiastes 4:5
  • “Better to have one handful with quietness
 than two handfuls with hard work 
and chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6
  • We need to let contentment shape our lives, rather than comparison.
  • Am I content or comparing?
  • When our focus is on what we don’t have, we will always feel empty.

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Has comparison ever driven you to do something you regret? What was it? Which of the examples Andrew shared about comparison resonated or related to you? How much has comparison been driving your relationship in the past few months? In terms of your family, work, friends, and finances is contentment or comparison the main driving force? What do you have that you can be grateful and content with? Where do you need to rid yourself of comparison? Who can help you with that? How can you do that?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families: Talk to you kids about today’s topic. Teach them that what matters is being content. Ask them how they might compare themselves or their toys with others? Ask them what is something they can be content with? Share with them some of the things you are content and happy with. Start to make that rhythm this week doing it at least once a week.

Challenge for this Week: This week live with contentment.

What is the Wise Thing To Do?

So on Sunday we pursued one question that I think will change your life. It will lead you into becoming a wise person. The question is this: what is the wise thing to do?

And at first glance it’s such a simple question that it doesn’t even seem that helpful. But if you think back to your greatest regret, failure, or mess up – I bet if you had asked that question, and followed through with it – things would be different.

So that’s what we looked at on Sunday; one simple question and 4 different responses to it. In Proverbs there are 4 types of people mentioned and each type of person has a different response to this question.

The first type of person Proverbs says are “simple”. These are people who do not know enough yet to ask this question. They are the young, naïve, and innocent people. These are our kids, and others who don’t have enough maturity or experience yet to ask this question – what is the wise thing to do.

The next type of person is a foolish person. This is someone who knows enough to ask the question, and knows the answer but doesn’t care enough to follow it. If you ask a fool what the wise thing to do is, they can often tell you. But they don’t care to follow it. This is because as Proverbs says Doing wrong is fun for a fool. Proverbs 10:23. So they know that dropping out of school, going to that party, not showing up for work isn’t wise. They just don’t care enough to change. That’s what Proverbs calls the foolish person.

The next person is the mocker. Proverbs descirbes them as someone who has given up on the question. They don’t care about being wise, they care about being in control and cutting people down. They want to be the best in the room, but rather than focusing on being wise to gain respect, they focus on being critical to lower others around. They know what is wise, they just don’t care about the question, or those who follow it.

And then the last type of person is a wise person. This is someone who knows the question, what is the wise thing to do, unlike the simple person. This is someone who cares about the question, unlike the foolish person. This is someone who hasn’t given up on the question, unlike the mocking person. The wise person is someone who asks the question, and follows through on it.

They ask, “What is the wise thing to do?” And then they do it.

That was our challenge this week. To ask that question each and everyday, and also to make it personal. To say in light of my stage in life, my finances, my future, my past, who I am etc. What is the wise thing to do? Because what is wise for you and for me might be different because we are different. So we challenged everyone to ask that question and to make it personal.

Here is the beauty of the question, what is the wise thing to do. Even if you come to a situation where it is so complex and difficulty you are unsure what is  the wise thing to do – the question still works. Just ask, “What is the wise thing to do, when you don’t know the wise thing to do”.  The answer is pretty simple – go to God, go to others that are wiser, and move slowly.

So this one question I believe can prevent so much regret, start to heal relationships, and set our lives in the right direction. And all we need to do is ask it, and follow it.


Sermon Notes

Big Idea What is the wise thing to do?
Take Aways…
  • Being wise is about knowing how to apply knowledge
  • Being smart does not equate to being wise
  • What is the wise thing to do?
  • Four types of people: Simple, Fool, Mocker, and Wise
  • Simple people don’t know enough to ask the question
  • Fools know enough to ask the question, but don’t care enough to follow it.
  • The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense. Proverbs 10:21
  • A foolish person didn’t care enough to think.
  • Eventually being foolish isn’t fun
  • The mocker has given up on the question.
  • Ask this question, “What is the wise thing to do”, and follow it through
  • Is it wise for me to do?
Adult / Group Discussion Questions What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new?

Have you ever in life been, the “simple person”, “foolish person”, or “mocking person”? How do you think asking the question, might help? What major decisions are before you right now, or major issues or situations? What would be the wise thing to do? Who can help you to do the wise thing?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families Talk to your kids about today’s topic. Teach them the question – “What is the wise thing to do” and explain it to them using some examples. Maybe as an example, eating a few treats is great, eating all of them isn’t wise as you’ll get sick. Get into the habit too of asking them the question when they come to you for advice.
Challenge for this Week Ask the question: what is the wise thing to do, and follow through.

Be Extraordinary


On Sunday we opened a new series here called Modern Family looking at issues that affect our “families” however you define family.

And we began by looking at “being extraordinary”. In many ways we often settle. We don’t reach for greatness, or anything other than mediocrity. We look around and see what everyone else is doing, and we do that. Donald Miller wrote that we want to live deep stories, but end up settling for living for a Jetta and Roomba Vacuum cleaner.

The point is that we are called to be more than average in our lives. We are called to be more than average husbands, friends, parents, or employees.

And we know this because we desire this for those significant people in our lives. We hope that our spouses are extraordinary. We want extraordinary parents. We want to work for extraordinary bosses. The point is why don’t we seek to be extraordinary?

And to discover how we can do that we looked at the story of Gideon. The story of Gideon in the Bible is of one man – who is rather whiny actually – who saves the entire people of Israel. God picks the weakest man, from the weakest tribe to do something extraordinary.

And this should give us hope as well – because I don’t often feel strong and awesome. I can relate to Gideon. But the point is this – if God chose him, he can choose me, and he can choose you. And more than that I think he does want to choose you to be extraordinary in your life. To be an extraordinary grandparent, neighbour, co-worker, whatever. I do not believe God calls us to settle for mediocrity.

So I ended the sermon by giving us one question to focus on this week: what would an extraordinary person do? What would a great father do? What would an amazing friend do? What would the best aunt do? And for us to actually do these things.

God shows up to Gideon and calls him mighty warrior, even though he’s hiding and not a mighty warrior at that point. God believes in Gideon and calls him to be better. And I think God is doing the same with us to show up and call us extraordinary mom, courageous co-worker, or astonishing friend. God is calling us to be more than we are and I think that’s a beautiful thing.

So this week be extraordinary. Ask what would an extraordinary person do? And do that. And the great thing is that if you keep doing that, you’ll look back and soon see, you’re extraordinary.


Sermon Notes

Big Idea: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things

Take Aways…

  • How do we have healthy families?
  • Families are diverse and sometimes dysfunctional
  • What kind of person do you want to be?
  • You control that destiny to be extraodiary or not
  • You will never be extraordinary if you try to be like everyone else
  • God’s response to difficulty seems to be to pick someone to change it
  • But if we want to be extraordinary people, we need to learn to step out
  • God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things
  • Be extraordinary this week
  • What would you do if you were confident God was with you and for you?
  • What would someone who is extraordinary do? Now do that.

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? Are you ever tempted to settle for ordinary? In what role (parent, work, friend etc) are you most tempted to settle? Where is God calling you to be extraordinary? What do you think God sees in you if he see Gideon as “mighty warrior”? How are you going to be extraordinary this week?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families: Today talk to your kids about how God wants us to be extraordinary. Tell them we want to shoot for greatness with God’s calling in mind. So ask them what extraordinary thing they want to do, or be. And then take a step towards it with them. If they want to be an astronaut take them to science centre. If they want to be chef, take a step and let them cook. Build into them the idea that settling isn’t for them.

Challenge for this Week: Be extraordinary this week

Resurrection Changes Everything


Sunday was Easter. The biggest day of the year for Christians. Because on this day 2000 years ago all of life was changed. On this day 2000 years ago death was beaten. On this day 2000 years ago darkness was beaten. On this day 2000 years ago sin was beaten.

In short, Jesus won and life overcame the darkness. 

And this is radical, momentous, and something I can’t even put into words. Yet the significance of this day is something that seems to get overshadowed by bunnies, Easter eggs, and a familiarity with this death-shattering day. Our familiarity with Easter causes it to lose some of its power.

So on Sunday I talked about resurrection. Because Paul makes a radical and life-changing statement: “that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you”

Do you understand how utterly life-altering that one statement is?

The power that broke death…is in you.

The power that trampled evil…is in you.

The power that conquered all darkness, sin, difficulty, and disease…is in you.

Paul’s point is that resurrection isn’t just something that happened 2000 years ago, resurrection is something that is happening now. The same power that raised Jesus, that resurrected him, is in you.

So on Sunday we asked the radical question: what does God want to resurrect in us? Because Easter isn’t just that some guy was raised from the dead. Easter is about the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, was raised from the dead and  now that power dwells in us.

Jonathon Martin writes this,

Resurrection changes everything. If that man could get back up, anybody could get up. If hope died and came back to life, then hope can rise again for the whole world. If even God can die but come back to life, then anyone can come back to life.

That was our main point on Sunday: resurrection changes everything.

Resurrection changes everything. We live in a world strangled by the language and reality of death. We see dreams die, relationships fracture, hopes crushed, and lives defeated. Yet resurrection says – new life is possible, new hope is possible, a new reality is not only possible but here. Because resurrection changes everything.

So on Sunday we asked one simple but life changing question: what do you want to resurrect in our lives Jesus? If resurrection isn’t something that just happened, but can happen today – what does that look like in our lives?

And while I don’t know what that might specifically look like  in your life I know some things about it. Areas in your life where death reigns, where darkness covers hope, where defeat directs your life, where fear rules, where sin shames – do not need to stay that way. Resurrection happened and resurrection is happening.

So today if yesterday just slipped by like any other day, why go one more day without resurrection in your life? Go to Jesus, he is alive, he is risen, and he has resurrection power he wants to give to you. Why not go to him and see what he might do in your life? Because 2000 years ago life burst from a death-filled ground, and it changes everything…

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea:Resurrection changes everything…

Take Aways…

+  Resurrection means that new life can begin, even out of death.

+  Jesus, what do you want to resurrect today?

+  Entropy is a law of nature in which everything slowly goes into disorder.

+  Another important point is that Jesus’ death was a political death. If you ask one of the crucial theological questions – why was Jesus killed? – the answer isn’t “Because God want us to love one another.” Why in the world would anyone kill Jesus for that? That’s stupid. Its not even interesting. Why did Jesus get killed? Because he challenged the powers that be – Stanley Hauerwas

+  Fear’s a powerful thing / It can turn your heart black, that you can trust / It’ll take your God-filled soul / And fill it with devil’s and dust. – Bruce Springsteen

+  “What we have then in the apostolic circle, is a group of disillusioned, frightened, guilty, mournful, semi-traitors” – James Allison

+  “Resurrection changes everything. If that man could get back up, anybody could get up. If hope died and came back to life, then hope can rise again for the whole world. If even God can die but come back to life, then anyone can come back to life. Jonathon Martin

+  Resurrection changes everything…

+  Death can do its worst, and Jesus will do his thing

+  What is it you need resurrected in your life? And are you ready to receive it today?

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? In what ways is your life under the “shadow of death”? Can you relate to the disciples feeling full of fear? Talk about the quote from Jonathon Martin. How does resurrection change everything? How has resurrection changed your life? How might God want to change your life today? What do you need Jesus’ resurrection power to touch in your life today?

Discussion Questions / Actions for Young Families: Today talk to you kids about what Easter is. Share with them that Easter means that when things seem darkest and most difficult – Jesus can show up and change everything. Talk to them about how fear holds us back, but God wants to take away our fear. Ask them if there is anything in their life they need Jesus to help them with – and then believe and pray about it. Jesus resurrection power isn’t just for adults, its for everyone. 

Challenge for this Week: Live in Jesus’ resurrection power


Fighting the Darkness Around Us – Theology of Spiritual Warfare

On Sunday we are exploring a new series, looking at a new topic often called “spiritual warfare”. While many people have many different thoughts and opinions on what spiritual warfare is, a simple definition for me that works is how we are called to challenge the darkness and evil that is around us.

I think this is simple yet easy to understand. The reality is that in our world we do see evil and darkness around us. Often we don’t have to look very far, we turn on our TV’s or look around in our neighborhoods. And what we might see is greed, hate, loneliness, anger, war, racism, injustice, sin, and pain. These are all simple examples of the darkness that is around us. And as Christians we are to be part of challenging that darkness, and changing it to light.

Jesus was clear that he is the light of the world (John 8:12), to bring light, life, and hope to anyone and everyone. Jesus came not simply to save us from our individual sin, but to overthrow the powers of darkness and evil around us. He came to show us a different way to live, and a different Kingdom to follow. So for the next few weeks we’re going to be looking at what that all means, how it happens, and how we can be part of it.

I know surrounding this whole topic of “spiritual warfare” the spectrum of what people believe is huge. The point for me isn’t what other people believe, but what do you believe? And more importantly, how can you start to change the darkness that’s around us? I don’t think a lot of people debate that there is hurt, pain, sin, anger, and hate around. The question is then how do we transform those anti-Kingdom things into Kingdom things of life, love, grace, hope, and mercy. So that’s what we hope to discover, but why wait? This week if you see something that’s running counter to God’s Kingdom, why not try to bring a little of God’s Kingdom and love to that situation, place, or conversation.

the darkness games

Crayon Coloured Bible Stories

On Sunday we are starting a new series called “Crayola Bible Stories” for the summer. What we are going to be looking at are those stories that we tend to teach kids, but don’t really look at ourselves. Those stories that we might have an idea of them, but haven’t really filled them fully in with all the amazing details, and directions that they give us. So we are going to be looking at stories like Noah, Daniel and the Lion’s Den, and Moses.

The reality is these stories weren’t give to us to just teach kids, but to change our lives. So we are going to be deeply exploring some of these stories pulling out new insights that will shape how we follow God.

So this whole series is starting with Noah. So brush up on your ancient history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and we’ll discover how you are to make it through disaster.

But before we get there what Old Testament story would you love to hear teaching on and why? Let us know and who knows maybe in the future it’ll make it in!

Crayon Coloured Bible Stories