Where will it take you?

We start not just a new series, but hopefully a journey for many.

We will follow Jesus down the roads of Galilee (via the Gospels) to the paths He has before us in 2016. Where will He lead us?

Here’s how it will work.

FIRST We will look at what Jesus said, what He did when His two feet were on this earth.

SECOND We will ask questions like, how do I specifically apply what Jesus did? 

THIRD Brief reading assignments will be encouraged in advance of that week’s message.

The purpose of this journey is to transform our walk with Jesus.

We’re all in the same crowd. Pray for a movement of God’s people.

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When conflict circles around you

At our worship gatherings, we have been talking about the privilege that is ours to have a deeper relationship with God. Our denomination describes a reality about that privilege, “The movement from the believer’s privileges in Christ to the actual experience of Christ’s power over sin and selfishness is not automatic.”

One reason for this is because of conflict. Primarily, spiritual conflict. It might look like this, and let me explain…

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In this photo there is a family (one of which is separated from the rest and taking this photo) — a family which set out to do something they are very accustomed to doing and enjoy.

Suddenly, they noticed dolphins started to appear and circle around them, eventually at rapid speeds! That is because just out of the view of this photo there is a huge shark with bad intentions.

This family unexpectedly found themselves in a whirlwind of conflict between good and evil. Life can be a lot like that. We may find ourselves in a spiritual conflict where it feels like the forces are raging around us.

Galatians 5:16-17 describes a conflict between flesh & Spirit. When it says, “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives,” have you ever asked, how do you do that? In my view, He works through what has already been revealed. If you’re in obedience to God, then you are in His will and free to carry out your good intentions now! Not live in guilt or shame of what you may have missed out on in the past.

Romans 8:5-8 discusses this same conflict. Verse 6 is extremely important, “letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

I have seen so many fall victim to the first part of that verse. Most may never realize that what they just went through was a spiritual battle. If anything, remember — your enemy is never a believer. It’s bigger than that.

And for every shark in life, there are a lot of dolphins. We’re all in this. Romans 7:21-25 is great,

“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

Live to the fullest, even in trials

We recently did a series on the book of James. It was very rewarding to go through the book together as a church family. Here are some of the highlights from chapter one. Hope you find it refreshing.

No matter what we’re going through, we can practice our faith in any environment — the good times and bad. We will face times of testing. Your test can produce joy, if you view that test as an opportunity to grow. How much of what I go through (a) just happens to me or (b) I know there’s a purpose.

Patient endurance can result in the full development of who God wants you to be.

Quick example. When I first started hunting/shooting rifles, I would’ve liked to say I was a natural marksman and could hit any target I wanted on first try, but that wasn’t the case. It took practice. We’ve all heard the phrase, “practice makes….” But I want to change it. I think the lesson of James is telling us that “practice makes faithful.”

As we start a journey of practicing what James has to say to us, v. 5 tells us that God can supply wisdom along the way. As much as you need. You can receive, if your faith doesn’t waver. But it’s okay to be real. You can find honor in your humility.

Look at those words in bold. That’s the fruit of the Spirit! They come right out of the text. I believe it is telling us this –> trials can produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, if we put James’ words to practice.

 

God bless you. See you soon!

We’re breaking the ice.

We’re getting to know everyone, and we enjoyed welcoming our new guests to Mountain View Alliance. There was a great vibe in the building on Sunday.

We talked about breaking the ice to connect with God, just like we do with people when we’re getting to know them on a deeper level.

Here is Sunday’s message in one sentence…

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