New Sermon Series!

Hey church family! Yesterday we wrapped up our ‘Better Together’ series. Next week, we’ll start a new sermon series ‘His Glory, Our Joy’ going verse by verse through the book of Philippians.

Philippians has been referred to as “The epistle of joy” and called “the most joyful book in the Bible” as we find the words joy and rejoicing repeated multiple times throughout its 4 chapters.  

In a world that asks, almost exclusively, what circumstances will make me happy? In our study of Philippians, we want to ask and answer a deeper question, how can I have JOY, in spite of my circumstances?

If you’d like, read through Philippians ahead of time, and maybe highlight or circle all the times you see joy and rejoice.

Love you guys and can’t wait to start this series as we journey toward greater joy in Christ together!

Blessings, 

roy 

(Btw my sweet and talented daughter Trinity made the cool sermon graphic for us 🙂)

Be Killing Sin…

The quote in the pic is from a book I read years ago, ‘The Mortification of Sin’ by John Owen. It had a profound impact on me to say the least. So much so that I named one of my best friends after the author, my dog, Owen. Not even kidding 😂 I could go on and on about the author of the book, but the reality is the book was great because it was biblical and Christ-centered.

This past Sunday’s sermon was on the subject of SIN from Numbers 11:4-20. We talked about the dangers of giving in to sin and how sin wants to enslave us. Sin can be a trap where, like the Israelites in the book of Numbers, we end up ROMANTICIZING and CRAVING sin, then BUILDING A TOLERANCE for it, then falling into DENIAL of it, then falling into a horrible CYCLE where we indulge in sin more and more as a way to try and ease the pain that was actually caused by sin. This is what it looks like to be ENSLAVED by sin.

Often we mistakenly think of sin in terms of few sensational “really bad” actions to avoid. But sin is so much more pervasive than that! Of course, sin is found in our actions but it’s also a power that is at work in all of us. It wants to destroy us, and must be resisted and fought against, every day.

Yesterday we defined sin as: “Craving something more than you crave God. The essence of sin is living for something other than God.” H/T Tim Keller

So our battle against sin isnt just about changing behavior, its about changing our affections and attitudes. About changing our CRAVINGS. It’s about TASTING and SEEING that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

The best place to get perspective on sin, is of course, the Word of God. Here are a few passages of Scripture to encourage and better equip us to, by the Spirit, struggle against sin.

Romans 6:11-14

Romans 8:12-15

Colossians 3:5-17

Hebrews 12:3-17

Matthew 5:17-48

Romans 13:13-14

If you are interested in reading The Mortificaiton of Sin by John Owen. You can get it at the link below. Kindle version is just .99 cents and paperback is $7.50.

https://www.amazon.com/Mortification-Sin-John-Owen/dp/1798901196

Love y’all. And more importantly, Jesus loves you, more than you know!

Grace and peace,

Roy

A great book!

“Likeness to Christ is the ultimate goal of sanctification. It IS holiness. It is therefore also the ultimate fruit of being devoted to God.”

Last week I read one of the best books I’ve ever read: Devoted To God, by Sinclair Ferguson. At a conference a few years ago I heard Sinclair express some concern that we as modern Christians may be lacking an emphasis and understanding of “our union with Christ.” His words really stuck with me so I was really excited to read his book on the subject. It did not disappoint! If you’re serious about becoming more like Christ, and I pray that you are, please consider giving this a read.

Blessings, Roy

Self-righteousness

…not having a righteousness of my own…but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith… Philippians 3:9

It’s truly insane that self-righteousness would be a battle for me. In addition to the many flaws and failures that you all see, there are SOOO many more that I am keenly aware of. But still, somehow I find a way to downplay my sin, amplify the sins of others, and there it is—self-righteousness, easily identified by thoughts and feelings of moral superiority and an “I’m so glad I’m better” attitude. Charles Spurgeon said “The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.” Now, I believe that my salvation comes from the person and work of Jesus Christ! I believe that factually, but do I trust Jesus functionally? In other words, am I thinking more about his gift of righteousness to me or am I running in my head a score sheet of how good I am doing—or, lets be honest, how much better I am doing than others? The truth is, when I’m more focused on my own righteousness than the righteousness of Jesus Christ, I am trusting myself as a functional savior.

And when self-righteousness shows up in my life, it’s just ugly. It makes me think it’s me vs them when it’s actually me vs sin. It blinds me to my sins so it stalls my growth in Christ. It robs me of the ability to love others because you can’t really love people when you think you are better than them. It makes me condescending and sarcastic rather than understanding and compassionate. It alienates me from community because people cant be real around me out of fear of judgement. The list of ramifications goes on and on.

One more Spurgeon quote

“Beware of self-righteousness. The black devil of licentiousness (thinking it’s ok to indulge in sin) destroys his hundreds, but the white devil of self-righteousness destroys his thousands.”

Prayer: Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Help me to see you for who you are, and myself for the sinner that I am. Kill the self-righteousness in me and replace it with awe inspired worship of you, thankfulness to you, and grace and love toward others. It’s truly all about you, God. Amen.

Aspen Trees and Christ-Centered Community

Heart-level, Christ-centered relationships with other believers are a vital part of a healthy, growing relationship with God. 

Years ago, a handful of adults and myself took a group of students from our church’s youth group on a several day hiking trip in the mountains of Colorado. It was actually this time of year, we left on July 5th. We had a really knowledgeable trail guide who also served as a sort of spiritual guide as well. Along the trail, he pointed out a lot of things in nature that teach us about spiritual realities. The lessen he shared from Aspen trees is one that I have never forgotten.

A little about these beautiful trees, they’re easily recognized by their white bark. They’re commonly around 3-18 inches diameter but they grow to an impressive 20 to 80 feet in height. They live about 150-200 yrs. You can find them in Colorado and parts of NM and and up in the northwest and some northeastern parts of the US and then all over Canada. 
Here’s the lesson to be learned from Aspen trees, they can’t survive alone. Rarely would you find just one Aspen tree. If you do it’s likely short lived.  By their nature, Aspens are not a solitary tree. Their roots run lateral, just below the earth’s surface and spring up and give life to other aspen trees. They’re roots aren’t deep, but they are connected. So Aspen tree growth is a community effort. They are all connected by their roots and they share nutrients and resources to help and support each other.
This is picture of us church! A huge part of us being rooted in Christ, is also being rooted in one another. We are to share the spiritual nutrients that God gives each of us. That’s true sense of fellowship. 

When you can, take some time to read through Romans 15:1-7. As you read, note the importance of how we are to value and interact with one another. Also, notice the example that we are to look to for how we relate to one another, particularly in vs 2 and vs 7. 

Church, let’s be good Aspens and make a concerted effort to share life with others in a way that helps them abide in and follow hard after Jesus!

Temperate in troubled times…

There’s a lot of heartache and ungodliness going on in our world right now. All you have to do is turn on the news or read your social media timeline to be reminded of that. But the last couple of weeks our Tuesday morning men’s Bible study has offered our participants a much needed, fresh, Biblical perspective. The study has been over the subject of being “temperate” or “sober-minded” from 1Tim 2:2. To be temperate is to be a Christ-follower with a clear, God-informed outlook on life and not in a constant state of anxiety because of world’s conditions. No matter how undesirable and ungodly our world may be, we have to remember, that this world is not our home or our final destination. We are ambassadors (2Cor 5:20) and citizens of a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb 11:28). So even in troubled times we can be temperate!

Our focus should not be on all the problems, but on the problem solver! Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

….let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

How do we become more temperate? Three words: FAITH, HOPE, LOVE.

Saving FAITH (Eph 2:8-9)

Eternal HOPE (1Peter 1:3-4)

Abiding LOVE (1Cor 13:4-6)

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Would you say that your outlook has been marked by FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE or more like fear, dread, bitterness? It may be time to refocus….on Christ!

Big thanks to Dylan Schafer for leading our men’s study this summer. We meet each Tuesday morning at 6am and would love for you to join us.

Blessings,

Roy

Pursuing Relationships

On imitating Jesus in pursuing relationships with others:

He says “I love you” first, even when we respond with an indifferent shrug or the equivalent of a passing, “Oh, thanks.” And in this we discover why it might be hard for us to move toward others: the one taking the initiative in the relationship—the one who loves most—is the one who risks humiliation.

But imagine this. You believe that Jesus pursues you. You are letting go of old lies that suggest he doesn’t care and that you are forgotten. Because of Jesus, you no longer look for the easiest person to talk to when people gather. Instead, you move toward the quieter ones, the new person, and the outliers. Imagine a group of people who move toward each other—active more than passive, loving more than fearing rejection. They look glorious; they attract the world. This is an example of what the apostle Paul calls putting on Christ and is evidence of the Spirit of Christ at work in us.

Ed T. Welch, Caring For One Another: 8 Ways To Cultivate Meaningful Relationships With One Another

Christian, Husband, Dad, Pastor