August 29, 2010

#ChurchWORDS - Salvation

We started a new sermon series at Renovate (our Saturday Evening Contemporary Service you can read about here) entitled #ChurchWORDS (which you can read about here) a couple weeks ago. Here is my sermon outline from the first sermon in this series from 8/21.

#ChurchWORDS - Salvation

Webster's dictionary defines salvation as: “preservation from destruction or failure b : deliverance from danger or difficulty”

I want to highlight a few passages of scripture that speak to who can be saved, what we're being saved from, how salvation is possible and what salvation is for.

Who can be saved: Joel 2:32; 1 Timothy 2:3-6

What we need salvation from: Romans 3:23, 5:8-10

How is salvation made possible: 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Acts 4:8-12, 15:10-11; Romans 10:8-13; Titus 3:3-7

What salvation is for: to produce good fruit; to find pasture, freedom (John 10:9); Ephesians 2:1-10;

Isaiah talks about joyfully drawing from the well of salvation (12:3)
Work out your salvation with "fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12)
Grow up in your salvation (1 Peter 2:2)

August 25, 2010

The Launch of 'Renovate'

We officially launched our Saturday Evening Contemporary Service under the name of Renovate. It took us a while to come up with a name but I'm glad it did because we are liking the one we've got. We received lots of different ideas and suggestions, which we are very grateful for but eventually decided on this one. On August 14th we launched (still with little to no outside marketing at this point due to trying to nail down a logo) our service with a free concert from 1000 Generations to follow. Numbers were OK for the service, 150 showed up so that's not awful. Here is a little of my sermon from that evening.

faith :: community :: culture

The word renovate means:
1 : to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding)
2 : to restore to life, vigor, or activity : revive, renew

This process of renovation is just that, a process. Similar to how our faith is a process. Constantly being restored and renewed and maybe even revived when it feels like its been dead for a while. Like the writer of Hebrews talks about "running the race with perseverance" (Heb. 12:1-3).

This is what we're hoping for through this service, that the process of renovation might either begin or be encouraged to continue on to completion (Philippians 1:6). To the point where it begins to impact not only one's faith, but community and culture as well. Like the wise man who built his house on rock (Matthew 7:24-27), we hope that Renovate is just one way in which individuals might build a solid foundation of faith as they find additional ways to connect with the community of Castleton UMC. It's more than simply attending a service, it's about allowing the Spirit to work in you and through you to bring about renewal. If you haven't already, this might be something worth checking out.

August 9, 2010

"Dealing with Temptation: Part 2"

Sermon outline from part 2 of a 2 part series talking about temptation. You can find part 1 here.

"Dealing with Temptation: Part 2"
Practical Ways to Deal with Temptation

• Refocus your attention on something else

*2 Timothy 2:22
*Philippians 4:8
*The battle for sin is won or lost in your mind, whatever gets your attention will get you
*Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ, to reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with good things

• Avoid it

*1 Peter 5:8-9
*Don’t try to argue with the hungry lion
*Without Christ we are defenseless against the Devil
*It’s easier to stay out of temptation than it is to get out of it

• Recognize your vulnerability

*Mark 14:38
*1 Timothy 6:9
*Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin

• Be in community

*1 Corinthians 10:12-13
*You are only as sick as your secrets
*Satan wants you to think that your sin and temptation are unique so you keep them a secret
*Separating yourself from the community makes you much more vulnerable to attack

"Dealing with Temptation: Part 1"

Sermon outline from part 1 of a 2 part series talking about temptation. Thoughts, questions and comments welcome.

"Dealing with Temptation: Part 1"
James 1:2-16

1. The difference between Trials & Temptations

*Trials lead to testing and come from outside the individual or community…sickness, natural disasters, persecution, etc
*Temptations comes from within…a collaboration of our selfish desires and evil

2. The development of perseverance is communal

*James is not talking about individual competition
*Endurance is not about the individual’s character but the community’s commitment to God as its source of identity
*This is what makes finding joy in trials possible and prayer fundamental
*In prayer we understand reality as being soaked in the grace of God
*Being “double minded” in prayer is knowing that reality but wanting to live as we choose

3. vs. 9-12

*The little I will say about these verses is that having little and having much are both a test

4. How Temptation Works

Step 1 --> An evil desire is identified inside us
*In this case desire is understood as a misguided or disordered passion

Step 2 --> Lures us away
*We begin to ask questions like "Is it really that bad?"
*We think since it doesn’t impact/involve/hurt anyone else it shouldn't be an issue

Step 3 --> Deceives us
*Satan offers a lie to replace God’s truth
*We start playing the justification game

Step 4 --> Creates a pattern of disobedience
*This leads to “full grown” sin and eventually death
*There is strong imagery of conception, birth, and death...see this as allowing sin to grow as you might a child

August 4, 2010

Control: In or Under?

There are lots of things that happen in life that we don't understand or can't explain. As Christians we typically find ourselves saying something like "God is in control" when we can't answer the 'hows' and the 'whys'. My struggle with this is the implication that because "God is in control" He caused such things to happen, which I'm not sure is the case.

I believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present but I don't believe He controls everything, despite His ability to do so. He allows things to happen but doesn't force them to. Maybe it's semantics but I like to think of this as God having things under control, which leaves control in His hands but doesn't make Him the cause of divorce, the death of a loved one, a friend's illness or a natural disaster. Instead, seeing God as having things under control gives me the hope and faith to believe He can provide reason when there doesn't seem to be any or to pull good out of an otherwise painful experience. Our world is chaotic. God does not cause the chaos, He does however have it under control.

What do you think, any difference between God being in control or having things under control?