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November 15, 2015 - Stay - Luke 8:26-39

posted Nov 16, 2015, 6:51 AM by Grant Garber

  • The demonic is anything that takes control of your life.
  • There are many things vying for control of our lives.
  • Each of these evil voices has so twisted and distorted the image of God who created us that we can no longer recognize the holiness of our lives, which means we no longer know who we are.
  • We are vulnerable to the evil voices telling us to try one self- improvement plan after another.
  • Not only do the demons leave us unable to devote ourselves to things that matter, they also make us mean.
  • Jesus is the Son of God who has invaded our evil world, and after Jesus has arrived, evil can never be seen as normal again.
  • As evil as our world is, as long as you aren’t the one raving naked in the tombs or lost in a homeless shelter, it is possible to think that you’re going to be okay in this world.
  • People prefer the misery they know to the mystery they do not.
  • Jesus is not a demon.  He will not force His way into your life or take over.  He only comes graciously, knocking, asking to be received.
  • If you have come to see that being forgiven is better than being evil, and that being gentle is more powerful than being mean, then you have a story to tell.
Pastor Jim Spon | Luke 8:26-39

November 8, 2015 - Drop Your Net and Follow - Mark 1:14-20

posted Nov 9, 2015, 10:50 AM by Grant Garber

Main Question
What would it mean to resolve to follow Jesus more closely in your life?
  • Jesus wanted to show the first disciples how to catch people who were falling, so they could make a difference with their lives.
  • We all want to make a difference, even in some small way, to the lives of other people. We want our lives to matter.
  • You have to be willing to follow Jesus.  And that means you have to be willing to leave the familiar life behind.
  • It is hard to find anyone in the Bible who is in a serious drama with God and is undergoing a change for the better who is not on the move.
  • Will you allow the inevitable changes of life to change you into a person who is better equipped to make a difference?  Or, will you waste your losses in life by settling into the role of a victim?  This is your choice. 
  • The point of following Jesus isn’t to get settled into a new place.  The point of following Jesus is just to follow Jesus.
  • You have not yet fully encountered Jesus if you don’t know about His compelling nature.  
  • I don’t know what your call may be, but if Jesus is the one who is making the call, it is always a call first and foremost to follow Him.
Pastor Jim Spon | Mark 1:14-20

November 1, 2015 - I Love the Church - Matthew 6:19-21

posted Nov 2, 2015, 1:30 PM by Grant Garber

Main Thought
If you want your life to have a holy purpose, then you must choose what you will do with the things you are holding.
  • The things we carry start to take on symbolic value.  They reveal something of our character.
  • The more you mature, the more you realize that the things you are holding seem to be slowly nibbled away – health, accomplishments, and nest eggs.  Day by day, we watch as these things slip away.
  • Invest your life in things that are eternal.  Invest your life in things you will never have to give up – things that abide.
  • Faith and hope and love – we believe in these things here.  It is what our church is actually built upon, and that is what we ask you to invest in if you love this church.
  • Take control of your heart.  Determine where you will invest it because if you want to know where your heart is, just look at your checkbook.
  • You have to give to the things you love.
  • In God’s hands, miracles can happen with the things we are holding.
Pastor Jim Spon | Matthew 6:19-21

October 25, 2015 - God’s Decision to Give Us Grace - Genesis 9:8-17

posted Oct 27, 2015, 9:48 AM by Grant Garber

  • We continue to do quite a bit of violence, and characterize ourselves by our wickedness, and I doubt God is any more impressed with us than He was with Noah’s generation.
  • The rainbow in the sky isn’t some sentimental assurance that things will get better.  It’s an enduring symbol of a day that God hung up His rainbow and promised, “Never again will I be provoked to use My weapons against My creatures.”
  • The covenant says that the storms and the violence will not overwhelm you because God will never again be found in them.
  • The covenant says that being destroyed by God will not be among the consequences of sin.
  • We find it very hard to believe that God won’t nail us if we sin.
  • The covenant God makes with the earth is unconditional.  The promise simply springs out of the heart of God and is maintained only by His grace. 
  • The rainbow is pointing to heaven as if to symbolize the way that God makes Himself accountable to His own covenant.
  • We don’t believe deeply enough in these old stories about grace because we don’t want to.
  • We just can’t stop believing you get what you deserve in life because we’re sure we deserve something.  Maybe not the best, but something. We’ve tried so hard, and been so careful, and have worked at getting life right.
  • No one makes it into the Father’s arms by insisting on his or her rights. 
  • Somebody is always doing somebody wrong.  And somebody has to pay.  You can I certainly can’t afford to pay for the hurts we have caused.  So all that was left was for God to pay.  And that is what the cross is all about.
Pastor Jim Spon | Exodus 19:1-6, 16-19

October 18, 2015 - Staring Into Heaven - Acts 1:6-11

posted Oct 27, 2015, 9:45 AM by Grant Garber

  • God’s vision of time is different from ours.
  • The things that we are waiting for God to do are important.  But no less important are the things that He is doing in our lives while we wait.
  • Waiting creates the room for faith to develop.
  • It is faith in the coming Savior that gives us the powerful gifts of joy, humility and gratitude.
  • Jesus also told us that we would receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.
  • The angels don’t tell the disciples just to sit tight while they wait for Jesus.  No, they remind us that we have a job to do in the meantime.
  • The power we have is just to be a witness.  A witness doesn’t make something happen.  Witnesses merely speak about what they see. 
  • Our responsibility is to see Christ by faith, to love Him so much, and to long so deeply for His appearance, that any glimpse we get of Him we recognize.  This is our mission even if He comes wrapped in another’s life.
“Anyone who has meditated upon Jesus, must then go out and look for Him in disguise.” ~Mother Theresa

Pastor Jim Spon | Acts 1:6-11

October 11, 2015 - The Only Safe Place to Store What Is Most Important in Life - I Samuel 1:21-28

posted Oct 13, 2015, 6:24 AM by Grant Garber

Main Thought
Those of us who pray keep asking God to give us our dreams.  Ironically, God keeps asking the same thing.  He wants to know if we will give him our dreams.

  • In prayer it doesn’t really help to make deals with God.  Deals assume that you have something that the other person wants.
    • But God doesn’t lack or need anything.
  • God never takes our deals seriously.  It is not the reason He delivered you.  He delivered you only because, out of the mystery of His will, that was His choice.
  • Hannah gave her dream back to God.  What about your dream?
  • You can only enjoy the things you don’t possess.
  • One of our greatest mistakes is to define life by possessions.
  • Our families don’t belong to us either. 
  • Samuel isn’t just some mother’s son.  It is the name of whatever it is that you are clinging to today.
  • The best way to get over your fear of losing things is to go ahead and lose them.  Lose them to God.
  • Until your heart is set completely on God, it doesn’t matter how wonderful the rest of life is, it will never be good enough.  But when the heart has first been given to God, then everything else is received as a blessing from His hands.
Pastor Jim Spon | Exodus 19:1-6, 16-19

October 4, 2015 - God the Fire - Exodus 19:1-6, 16-19

posted Oct 6, 2015, 6:25 AM by Grant Garber

  • Since we are creatures, made in the image of God, we all yearn to find holiness.
  • The irony is that every time we do encounter the holy we try to domesticate it into something unholy that we can manage.
  • Holiness cannot fit in your pocket.
  • We don’t even hear God’s voice most of the time because it is drowned out by all the other voices around us.
  • We are not trying to make you comfortable with holiness.  We are trying to breathe life back into all of our souls.  The only way to do that is to come and take our place in holy worship – where we meet the consuming fire.
  • Part of what it means to stand in the presence of holiness is to finally, at last, not be in control of the agenda.  And that is the beginning of getting life back into your soul. 
  • It is only as we remember the past that we can see how to move to the future.  The light to our path, the lamp to our feet, shines from behind us.
  • Our deepest fear in worship is that we remember that we have not remembered.
  • The Gospel proclaims that holiness has climbed down to us because, in Christ, God was dying to forgive us our sin.
  • Holiness is now revealed not as thunder and lightning on a mountain top but as acts of mercy.  And as it was revealed in the incarnation, so it is revealed when Christ is incarnated in our acts of mercy.
  • What has changed from the old to the new covenant is not God, but you.  In Christ, you are forgiven and restored and loved and freed finally to be merciful.
Pastor Jim Spon | Exodus 19:1-6, 16-19

September 27, 2015 - Being a Friend - I Samuel 17:55 – 18:3

posted Sep 28, 2015, 12:15 PM by Grant Garber

  • We are all looking for a friend.
  • We know more about the longing for friendships than the experience of it.
  • The real reason we don’t have friends is we don’t know how to receive them.
  • We don’t actually “make” friends.  We “receive” them as a grace from God.
  • Saul wanted desperately to absorb David.  That is how many of us approach friendships and what makes us actually repel them.
  • The best friends don’t need to have friends – but they choose to.  That’s because the secret to having friends is to first be self-sufficient before God.  Only then are you free to give love to another.
  • Friendship is one of the most underrated means of exercising spirituality.
  • We are yearning not just for a friend but for a fuller understanding of the love of God. 
  • In every friendship there comes a day for saying good-bye.  Friendships, like all of God’s gifts, have to be held with open hands.
Pastor Jim Spon | I Samuel 17:55 – 18:3

September 20, 2015 - Making Prayer a Priority - Psalm 19:14

posted Sep 23, 2015, 8:32 AM by Grant Garber

  • In every area, in the life of a believer, Prayer is foundational . It is essential in the aim and purpose, to reflect the Character of Christ, and to bring God Glory!
  • Expect opposition to making Prayer a Priority. We are fighting a Spiritual battle.
  • Prayer is commanded. Therefore, PRAYERLESSNESS in the life of a believer is a sin.
  • A commitment to put God first in Prayer, MUST be a Priority, NOT an Option
  • Prayer is a Personal Privilege, Jesus died to give us.
Pattern for Prayer
Power of Prayer
Purpose of Prayer

Jesus taught his disciples to Pray: (The Lord’s Prayer” Matthew 6:9-13)

September 13, 2015 - Change - Romans 12:1-2

posted Sep 14, 2015, 7:45 AM by Grant Garber   [ updated Sep 23, 2015, 8:20 AM ]

  • We would all love to make a few changes in life.
  • Most of us have learned that it is mythological thinking to assume another product has the ability to change our lives substantively.
  • We live in an age and a part of the world in which people have so much freedom and yet our greatest fear is that we are stuck with ourselves.  We don’t know how to make change, and we aren’t even sure we can.
  • The payoff in claiming you’re a victim is that you always get to put your own problems first.
  • The Gospel claims you don’t have to settle in life.  Because God doesn’t.
  • God wants to unsettle and overturn the tyranny of trying to conform to some cherished image we have of ourselves.  The only change God is asking you to make is to sacrifice the despairing idea that it is up to you to get life just right. 
  • If it is change you want, then sacrifice all of that conformity so you can be transformed by God.  We have to become who we are. 
  • You will never be able to experience changes in your life, until you change and re-think your image of God.  The image of God will determine the image of self. 
“All wisdom begins with the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self.”
~ John Calvin

Pastor Jim Spon | Romans 12:1-2

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