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November 5, 2017 - Rethinking the Priority of Loving Marriages & Families - Mark 10:2-16

posted Nov 6, 2017, 8:43 AM by Grant Garber

  • Children don’t only want parents who are close to them. Children want parents who are close to each other.
  • Jesus loves a loving family!
  • Moses’ temporary provision for divorce isn’t God’s norm; it is proof of humankind’s sin. God’s intention for marriage is revealed in the very beginning.
  • We need to rethink this difficult passage in terms of the Spirit, rather than the letter of the Law.
  • We continue to ask, “Is divorce legally permissible?” when we should be asking, “Is it God’s intention?”
  • Jesus wants children to be seen as people who are important in the Kingdom of God and not just a bother or people “to be”.
  • Children are curious people who want to learn and grow. Children need help along the way. What better arrangement could there be then for parents or grandparents and the church to partner together to lead them to follow Jesus, the Savior.
Rethinking Traditional Wisdom Series
Pastor Jim Spon | Mark 10:2-16

October 29, 2017 - Rethinking Commitment - Numbers 11:24-30; Mark 9:38-50

posted Nov 3, 2017, 7:26 AM by Grant Garber   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 7:27 AM ]

  • Jesus shows us that being a member of His Church is a commitment.
  • Remember, it’s “go time”. Don’t treat someone like an enemy just because they’re different. Instead, treat them like a committed brother or sister, even if they might need some help or training.
  • If we are doing anything which excludes people from committing themselves to Jesus and His cause, then we are in serious trouble.
  • People who are “little ones” in the faith can easily fall away.
  • What are these things which can cause people to lose their faith?
    • Hypocrisy
    • Silly arguments
    • Lack of love
    • Big egos
    • Drama
    • Cliques
  • The source of our sin isn’t our hands, feet or eyes. It’s our sinful nature which infects everything we do.
  • The only cure for our sin is to repent, be forgiven, commit ourselves to Jesus and take up our crosses and follow Him.
  • Being committed to Jesus means making sacrifices.
  • As Jesus’ committed disciples we are called to have a different “flavor” than the rest of the world. We are called to preserve the world from becoming corrupt and spoiling.
  • Our commitment to Jesus is always being tested like fire to metal. Live in a way that avoids scandals and stumbling.
Rethinking Traditional Wisdom Series

October 22, 2017 - Rethinking the Path to Greatness - Mark 9:30-37

posted Oct 25, 2017, 12:07 PM by Grant Garber

  • Service is as much about the attitudes of our hearts as it is about what we are doing.
  • With everything in His being, Jesus came to be the consummate servant; every moment of His life was lived for the sake of serving us.
  • You would think such dedicated, selfless service would inspire us to be completely serving and giving of ourselves. Sadly, this isn’t usually the case.
  • Ambition has an appetite that can never be satisfied.
  • God cannot trust most of us with worldly power and the greatness that accompanies it.
  • Why do the disciples continue doing what they know to be wrong?
    • Obviously they believed Jesus was out of the range of hearing or seeing.
    • If we realized that Jesus heard all our words and saw all our actions our guilt would also cause us to slip into embarrassed silence.
  • When disciples falter, a leader has the opportunity to exploit the situation to his/her own advantage or turn it into a positive learning experience.
  • A lot of good things get done in this world in spite of the fact that people do them for the wrong reasons.
  • Jesus’ choice of words illustrates the qualities that a child and a servant share.
    • Each receives his/her identity from the parent or the master.
  • True greatness in God’s eyes is about humble, self-less service given on behalf of others, not for any sort of personal gain.
Rethinking Traditional Wisdom Series
Pastor Jim Spon | Mark 9:30-37

October 15, 2017 - Rethinking Conformity - Mark 8:27-35

posted Oct 25, 2017, 12:03 PM by Grant Garber

  • Conforming simply means to act or present yourself in a certain way because you are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. Simply said, you want to please, identify with or impress others.
  • Ironically, to be a really good non-conformist you usually have to conform yourself to a fashion, image, or certain way of thinking and acting set by those non-conformists who have gone before you. Try as we might to break free from conformity it’s really very difficult.
  • Too often today it is popular to identify Jesus only as a great teacher and a courageous rabbi who not only “talked the talk” but “walked the walk”. But if Jesus is, as Peter said, the Messiah and the Son of the living God, that means He has authority over us in a way that He doesn’t need to conform to traditional wisdom and thinking -- - He can demand us to conform to what He says.
  • As soon as Jesus starts talking about the necessity of His suffering, we see Peter demand that Jesus conform to his idea of who He should be as the Messiah.
  • Jesus didn’t come to be a god of our design, constantly trying to reinvent Himself to keep up with our latest ideas for Him. He came to conform Himself to the Father’s will.
  • Jesus rejects any kind of conformity to the pattern of this sin filled world.
  • By not conforming to the world’s expectations Jesus was able to demonstrate the depth of His love. He gave Himself wholly for us so that we will be able to meet God’s expectations.
  • Conforming to Christ and taking up our crosses is going to lead us to inner renewal and a life of loving service even to the degree that we would be willing to lose our lives for the sake of Jesus and His Kingdom.
Rethinking Traditional Wisdom Series
Pastor Jim Spon | Mark 8:27-35

October 8, 2017 - Rethinking Suffering - Mark 7:31-37

posted Oct 25, 2017, 11:59 AM by Grant Garber   [ updated Oct 25, 2017, 12:00 PM ]

  • No one likes suffering. According to traditional wisdom, suffering is not good.
  • We want suffering to be removed and we try to avoid it at all cost. That is why we are more apt to go to God in prayer asking Him to relieve our suffering, just like the deaf/mute man’s friends did, than at almost any other time.
  • We think this must surely be Jesus’ view as well, because look what He does for the deaf/mute man.
  • Facing suffering raises a lot of questions. These questions lead us down a dark path of doubt in God, doubt in His power, doubt in His love and His mercy, and for some people even to question whether they can ultimately believe in God.
  • Jesus has done and continues to do everything well.
  • Jesus not only offers us His healing hand but also the promise of heaven. We will not suffer forever. Our suffering will be over someday.
  • For all of us who suffer but don’t have the luxury of a miraculous healing – we have this: We understand that Jesus does everything well, including the suffering He allows to come into our lives.
  • God can receive glory through our lives….
    • By the way we accept the suffering He calls us to endure.
    • When He heals us of our suffering.
    • When He calls us out of suffering to be with Him in heaven.
Rethinking Traditional Wisdom Series
Pastor Jim Spon | Mark 7:31-37

October 1, 2017 - The Tale of Two Mountains - Hebrews 12:18-24

posted Oct 25, 2017, 11:55 AM by Grant Garber

Main Thought
The writer of Hebrews draws out a contrast between two mountains. Mt. Sinai where God gave His Law which leads to death; and Mt. Zion where God reveals His salvation which leads to joy, peace and life.
  1. Mt. Sinai leads to fear and death.
    • It was a physical place.
    • It was a terrifying place.
    • It was an unapproachable place.
    • The Law was given from Mt. Sinai, but the Law can only condemn. It can never save us.
    • Faith knows not to place our hope for eternity upon our own ability at keeping God’s Law.
  2. Mt. Zion leads to joy and life.
    • The writer isn’t speaking of the literal Mt. Zion. He is speaking of a spiritual mountain and the heavenly Jerusalem. Our approach to God therefore is a spiritual approach.
Those who believe in Jesus are invited to:
    • Share in heavenly places.
    • Share in a heavenly society: Who is included?
      • Angels
      • Church of the firstborn
      • God, the Judge of all
      • Spirits of righteous people made perfect
      • Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant.
  • Today’s Scripture text draws a line between Hell and Heaven, Law and Gospel, Fear and Joy, Sin and Grace, Death and Life.
Pastor Jim Spon | Hebrews 12:18-24

September 24, 2017 - Our Shared Life - Galatians 6:1-5

posted Sep 25, 2017, 1:13 PM by Grant Garber   [ updated Oct 25, 2017, 11:44 AM ]

  • The Christian walk is a shared journey. We don’t walk alone; others walk with us.
  • In our shared life….
    • We “carry each other’s burdens”.
    • We learn to listen to each other.
    • We are available to each other in love.
  • Self-understanding, self-appreciation and self-affirmation are marks of authentic Christian faith.
    • The truly humble know who they are; they know their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
  • There are some duties and tasks which we alone can perform, for which we alone must accept responsibility.
    • In this context the “load” we must bear on our own is the job of self-examination and self-correction.
    • We must never measure ourselves against other Christians.
  • At the heart of our shared life is the ministry of spiritual support, guidance and restoration.
    • We are all vulnerable. Any of us may slip.
    • Within our shared life we make judgments of each other, but this judgment is an assessment made in love, not condemnation.
    • The mutual support and correcting we provide for each other is done in the Spirit of Christ who is gentle and calls us to gentleness.
Pastor Jim Spon | Galatians 6:1-5

September 17, 2017 - Jesus Makes Change Possible

posted Sep 25, 2017, 1:04 PM by Grant Garber

Bev Nottingham

September 10, 2017 - Our Spiritual Identity Crisis - Galatians 5:16-26

posted Sep 25, 2017, 1:02 PM by Grant Garber

  • We Christians have an ongoing spiritual identity crisis because we are both sinners and saints at the same time.
  • What will we allow to dominate? – That is the question. Flesh or Spirit?
  • The flesh will always continue to stress its desires in opposition to the Spirit; but the Spirit who indwells every Christian declares opposition to the flesh. Paul is certain who will be triumphant – and we can be certain if we “live by the Spirit”.
Paul catalogs the works of the flesh -- -
  • Sexual sins and impurity
  • Sins against God
  • Sins of excess
  • Sins in human relationship
  • As believers we don’t find our identity in sin, or in the label “sinner”, although we do struggle daily against sin. Instead Paul reminds us that in authentic Christianity we are of the Holy Spirit.
  • Those who belong to Jesus Christ have crucified the flesh.
  • We are completely capable of walking in step with Jesus and serving others thereby reflecting the love of God in our lives.
  • If we want to be led by the Spirit, then we must feed the saint inside us, the new person in Christ who can defeat and overcome the desires of the flesh.
  • When you are “in Christ”, and are moved by the Spirit, the unexpected and the unlisted will come.
Pastor Jim Spon | Galatians 2:6-16

September 3, 2017 - Set Free to Freely Love - Galatians 5:1-15

posted Sep 25, 2017, 12:58 PM by Grant Garber

Main Thought
Paul has quite a bit to say about what we do with the freedom that we have spiritually in Christ.
  • Christ set you free from sin -- - so that you would be forever free from it!
  • Why would anyone want to throw away freedom? Because freedom is a scary thing.
  • Jesus’ freedom enables us to move forward and freely love others.
  • Love is a far more powerful motivator than fear, slavery, debt, or orders.
  • We are free, but we are free to finally belong to God, free to follow His will, and free to love Him because He first loved us.
Pastor Jim Spon | Galatians 5:1-15

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