SPEAK! With Transformed Eyes

March 21, 2017

 

THE SERMON

 

In the next part of our series Sy Huffer, our Lead Minister, continues through the book of Mark as we learn just what it means to transform how we look at the world around us, and how Jesus changes the way look at the world.

What will people read in your life?

What will people read in your life?

 

THE QUESTIONS

Use these discussion questions to further explore the theme of the message:

QUESTION 1: Pray

How can prayer help you see Jesus clearly? What assumptions about your prayer life come from a faulty way of how you have seen Jesus? Ask the Lord to transform your eyes to see Jesus clearly. 

QUESTION 2: Speak

Sy said, "When we see Jesus with clarity, we speak Jesus with clarity." Do you agree with this or not? Why or Why not? How can having a transformed view of Jesus impact how you speak to others about him? 

QUESTION 3: Grow

What are you currently struggling with in your view of Jesus that you need to grow in? Are there any ways that you are currently seeing Jesus that are proving to be false? Where did that view come from? 

QUESTION 4: Love

Sy said, "To be great in God's kingdom is to serve." How can you "be great" according to the kingdom of God? Have your eyes been transformed in the way that you see greatness?

 

THE NEW SONG

 

Here's a song by Vertical Church that is new to College Heights. We sang it this past Sunday and we'll surely sing it more in the future!

 

 
Posted on March 21, 2017 .

SPEAK! With A Transformed Life

March 14, 2017

 

THE SERMON

 

Dr. Mark Scott, one of our Teaching Team, leads us through the next message of our "Speak" series discussing how the Gospel speaks through a transformed life.

Speak your life because what has happened to you is not as big as what has happened for you.
— Dr. Mark Scott

THE QUESTIONS

Use these questions to further explore the topic of the message.

  • Where should we speak about our transformed life?  Near and far (Mark 5:19-20).  To family—are they easy or hard to witness to?  To people in the wider geographical area—where is your Decapolis?
  • What should we speak?  Mercy (Mark 5:19).  This is a term of redemption.  If we are overwhelmed by mercy shouldn’t it show?
  • How should we speak?  Verbally—tell (Mark 5:19) and proclaim (Mark 5:20).
  • Why should we speak?  To make Jesus famous in our region (Mark 7:31-37).
  • Who should speak?  Us—people who have been transformed (Mark 5:15).
  • When should we speak?  How about right now?  Read 2 Corinthians 6:2.
When I am overwhelmed by the mercy of God and what he has done for me it is natural to speak about what He has done.
— Dr. Mark Scott
 
Posted on March 14, 2017 .

SPEAK...With A Transformed Heart

March 7, 2017

 

THE SERMON

What does it mean to transform your heart? Watch the next part of our Speak series as Sy Huffer, Lead Minister, walks us through Mark chapter 7 as we learn together what it means to speak with a transformed heart.

When you keep the letter of the law without the spirit of the law, you miss the Person behind the law. When you keep the letter of the law, with the spirit of the law, you reveal the Person behind the law AND you become like the Person behind the law.

Upcoming Events

Father/Daughter Ball
Saturday, 6:30 - 9:00 PM, April 1. Fathers can enjoy time with their daughters during this special evening reinforcing how very precious each young lady is in the eyes of both her father as well as her Heavenly Father. Join us for an evening of good food, dancing and inspiration. Grades 6 & up. $30 per couple ($10 each additional daughter). Tickets available at the Sign Up Counter in the Atrium. For more information: smurdock@chjoplin.org or 417-624-6915x181

 

Mom/Son LEGO Challenge
5:30 - 7:30 PM, March 18 in the Atrium, Grades 1-8. Cost is $5 per person. The challenge is not only to build an extraordinary LEGO creation but to challenge each young man to become the man of God he has been called to be. Join us for food, fun and innovation. Tickets available at the Sign Up Counter in the Atrium.

 
Posted on March 7, 2017 .

SPEAK! With Compassion

February 28, 2017

 

THE SERMON

 

Lead Minister Sy Huffer walks us through Mark chapter six and talks about how we can speak with compassion.

Speak with compassion by doing what you can and provide space for God to make up the difference.
— Sy Huffer

THE QUESTIONS

Use these to further explore the topic of the sermon:

QUESTION: Pray

Has God broken your heart for the needs of the masses? What does it look like for you to pray for the harassed and helpless in our world? How can you make yourself aware of the needs in our world that breaks God's heart?

QUESTION: Speak

We saw in the story about Jesus feeding the five thousand that a major way that Jesus cares for and speaks to the masses is teaching them. How can you leverage our weekly Sunday morning church service in order to show compassion to the masses? What does it look like for you to invite people you know to church? Who do you know that you can invite?

QUESTION: Grow

Jesus pursued boundaries. What do your boundaries look like? When non-Christians see you living out the faith, do they desire the life you live or are they overwhelmed by how busy you are?

‪If you are so busy with church that you are unable to be the best husband/wife you can be, the best parent to your children, and a friend to lost people around you, then QUIT SOMETHING.‬
— Sy Huffer

QUESTION: Love 

What needs in our world break your heart? How is God leading you to show compassion and extravagant love to the masses or maybe simply to one person?

Do for the one what you want to do for the many.
— Mother Teresa
 
Posted on March 1, 2017 .

SPEAK! With Courage

 

THE SERMON

Our Lead Minister Sy Huffer takes us through Mark 5 and explores what it means to speak courage.

THE QUESTIONS

Use these questions to further explore the topic of the sermon:

QUESTION: Pray

Do you believe Jesus? Not in him, but believe what he says? How can your prayer life lead you to greater trust and dependence on what Jesus says, promises and commands?

QUESTION: Speak

How can you speak with urgency (Jairus), to the outcasts (bleeding woman), and to the few (Jesus)?

QUESTION: Grow

What does it look like to speak to a few disciples on a regular basis? How can you focus on multiplication rather than addition? Who are you training to speak, not just who are you speaking to? Use Model, Assist, Watch and Leave as a format to train others to Speak.

QUESTION: Love

Who are the outcasts of our society? How can you engage those who are hurting and helpless, who the world has turned their back on? How can you love the unlovable?

COMING UP

Have coffee on us! Next Steps Coffee is a casual gathering for you to find out how you can take the next step in your journey with God here at College Heights. You'll have an opportunity to hear about who we are, what we do, and ask us questions. Come grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat during the 9:15 AM service in the Prayer Room in the northwest corner of the Atrium.

 
Posted on February 22, 2017 .

SPEAK! Against Culture

February 15, 2017

 

THE SERMON

 

Dr. Shane Wood, one of our Teaching Team, walks us through the book of Mark and tackles the difficult topic of culture. We look not only at how Jesus interacted with the culture during his ministry but also how we should interact with our culture today.

Church, we are sacrificing people on the altar of truth…and it needs to stop. We want to be right more than we want to love. We want to win the argument more than we want to win people to Christ. We use truth as a weapon to murder people.
— Dr. Shane Wood

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION: PRAY

Who (or what group) have you used your tongue as a weapon  against in the past three months? Commit to praying for them every day this week, to change words of cursing into words of blessing.

QUESTION: SPEAK

If someone did a survey of all of your social media posts, would they find words of grace or words of anger? Does your speech on social media match Christ’s love on the cross?

QUESTION: GROW

Destructible speech against sectors in the culture usually stem from ignorance of that person or group of people. Who do you speak out against but do not know very well (or personally at all)? How could you get to know them in order to view the world through their eyes?

QUESTION: LOVE

How would you want Jesus to speak to you or about you to get you to change your behavior or position on an issue? How does your speech to others compare?

 

One of the things Shane said in his sermon was, “Truth Without Love is Not God’s Truth.”  For something to be God’s truth, it MUST be combined with love, as if love is part of the very DNA of truth. You can find a visual reminder here you can download to use as a wallpaper for your phone or computer.

 
Posted on February 15, 2017 .

SPEAK! Against Legalism

February 7, 2017

 

SPECIAL EVENT TONIGHT

Come join us tonight to hear Greg Pruett, President of Pioneer Bible Translators and author of Extreme Prayer. We will be meeting at 7:00 PM in the Worship Center. Regular adult classes and small groups are encouraged to attend this special event. All programming for Early Childhood through High School will still meet. Middle School and High School will be combining in the Chapel at 6:30 PM.

 

THE SERMON FROM SUNDAY

 

Titus Neuenschwander, our Family Minister, leads us through the next chapter in our "Speak!" series as we go through the book of Mark and tackle the topic of legalism.

THE QUESTIONS

Use these questions to further explore the meaning of the sermon.

QUESTION 1: PRAY

How might thanksgiving flow from our prayers when we think of God as the great Grace Giver? How does forgiveness transform the way we speak to God?

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

Think of someone you know (friend, family member, co-worker, or acquaintance) that has recently messed-up, maybe even publicly.  How might Jesus engage this person? What message might you send or what words might you express to this person?

QUESTION 3: GROW

Is there any matter, where being right has become a “joy stealer” of good gifts that God has given? Is there any matter that being right has become more important than loving people?

QUESTION 4: LOVE

If the answer is “yes” to either of the grow questions above, how might you respond in a way that brings honor to Jesus?

 

 

 
Posted on February 8, 2017 .

SPEAK? WHO?

January 31, 2017

 

THE SERMON

If what we are speaking is "good news", then who is the news good for?

Sy Huffer, Lead Pastor, continues through our "SPEAK?" series. We look at Mark 2: 1-17 and learn who Jesus was speaking to and who we need to be speaking to, also.

 
 
We speak Good News for sinners, not sweet sentiments for saints.
— Sy Huffer
 

THE QUESTIONS

Use these questions to further explore the topic of Sunday's message.

QUESTION 1: PRAY

How can prayer keep you focused on those who are close to you but far from God? How can prayer be a constant reminder as to who you are in Christ so we don't forget that we are only saved because we recognize that we are sinners saved by Jesus. 

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

Who is close to you but far from God? Write that name down on one of our "Speak" boards (which will be located in the Atrium this coming Sunday), and commit to this year, this month, this week, this day to speaking to them about Jesus. 

QUESTION 3: GROW

How does speaking to sinners about Jesus help grow your faith? There is nothing like leading someone to the Lord that reinvigorates your faith. What would happen if every person at College Heights led someone to the Lord? What would that do to our faith?

QUESTION 4: LOVE

Remember to always combine the good news of Jesus with good deeds of love. How can you show love and compassion to those that are close to you but far from God?

 

PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING

One of our commitments is to be a church who PRAYS about everything.

Greg Pruett, the author of Extreme Prayer, will be speaking in the Worship Center this Wednesday at 7:00 PM. In order to make the most of this opportunity, all other adult classes will cancel their normal teaching and attend the Greg Pruett session. All programming from Early Childhood through High School will take place as usual.

Come with your small group or with a friend and let your prayer life be inspired and encouraged by Greg's stories!

 

 
Posted on February 1, 2017 .

SPEAK? WHAT?

January 24, 2017

 

THE SERMON

Watch part three of our sermon series "SPEAK?" as we continue looking at the book of Mark and learn what it is we should be speaking about.

When you speak news out of prayer and into compassion, that is good news that is timely, authentic, and impactful.
— Sy Huffer

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: PRAY

The kingdom of God is heaven on earth, it is righting all the wrongs of society, it is paradise on a place that needs paradise. So what aspect of this world wrecks you? What issue that exists in hell on earth causes you to say, "That isn't right!" Lift that up to the Lord in prayer. Perhaps God is calling you to advance His kingdom by doing something about it. 

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

How could practicing speaking Jesus stories, your story, and God's story empower and prepare you to do your part and sow seeds broadly?

QUESTION 3: GROW

Make a commitment to grow in your speaking of the good news of Jesus. How can you do this? Perhaps it is practicing speaking those stories each week at small group; perhaps it is committing to sharing with someone one of those stories every week. 

QUESTION 4: LOVE

A definition of love is, "meeting the needs of people." How does sharing these stories with others show them love? Who do you know that needs to hear the stories of Jesus that will meet their needs?

 
Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road; make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.
— Jim Elliot, martyred missionary to Ecuador

 

THE RESOURCE

Sy talked about sharing your story with others. He encouraged people to pick up a packet with instructions on how to practice telling a Jesus story as well as a list of Jesus stories to start with memorizing and practicing. If you missed it, you can find the packet here:

 

 

 
Posted on January 24, 2017 .

SPEAK? HOW?

 

January 18, 2017

THE SERMON

 

In part two of our SPEAK series Sy Huffer takes us through Mark 1:35-39 as we discuss the necesity of prayer before we speak, and the importance in allowing time in our day to be interrupted.

We have often heard, “Take good care of each other.” YES! But also take good care of the people who aren’t even here yet. Love your neighbors.
— Sy Huffer

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: PRAY

Jesus made it a priority to get up very early in the morning to spend time praying. We learned that prayer is a key part of the equation that provides for us the eyes to see who needs to be shown compassion and to be told the good news of Jesus. How can prayer do this in your life? What do you need to give up in order to make this a priority?

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

Who is God calling you to speak to about Jesus? Who is close to you but far from God? What does it look like to share with them that you are a Christian and that you love Jesus?

QUESTION 3: GROW

We are all at different stages in our journey of following Jesus. So what does it look like for you to grow in your prayer life? And how can you take a step in showing compassion to those around you?

QUESTION 4: LOVE

What needs of people do you see around you that can show compassion to them and meet those needs? Who has been an annoyance in your life that perhaps God has placed there for you to show compassion to, to interrupt you so you can speak to them the good news of Jesus?

 
Posted on January 18, 2017 .

SPEAK? A Series From the Book of Mark (and Upcoming Events)

 

THE SERMON

Why do we speak? Sy Huffer leads us through Mark 1:1-15 as we wrestle with the importance of the good news and why we need to share it.

THE READING CHALLENGE

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: PRAY

How does your prayer life change when you approach God with this question: “Who do I know that is dying to hear good news?”

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

This whole sermon series is about SPEAKING. The entire purpose of it is to move our congregation to become a culture where we tell people the good news about Jesus. This question is going to be hammered a lot this sermon series: “Who is close to you but far from God?” Whoever that is, commit to speaking to those names the good news about Jesus.

QUESTION 3: GROW

Who can hold you accountable to grow in your speaking about Jesus? Find a small group leader, a family member, an elder, or a trusted friend to help you grow in your evangelism. How many people did you tell about Jesus last year? What does it look like to grow beyond that number this year?

QUESTION 4: LOVE

Who in your life needs to hear the good news that: there is hope in the midst of despair; there is good that will overcome evil, there is acceptance that swallows up rejection; there is a kingdom that will change the world?

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS

Our Wednesday Night Programming starts THIS coming Wednesday. Middle School and High School programming begins at 6:30 and ends by 8:30. Most of our other classes run from 7:00–8:15 PM. 

In addition to LaunchPad Blast for our elementary students, we also have Kid's Choir which meets in the Cafeteria. They will be performing a musical this Spring from the story of David and Goliath. The entire cast and choir are fun insects! 

Whether through the Spring Musical or LaunchPad Blast, your elementary child is guaranteed to learn more about God and His Word. 

 

MARRIAGE RETREATS

February 10-12 or March 3-5

Maranatha Retreat Center

Marriage was meant to be anything but boring so go wild! Refresh, create memories, have fun, and enjoy community with other couples! Pre-registration is $150. Register below. For more information contact SuSan at smurdock@chjoplin.org or call the church office.

 
 
Posted on January 12, 2017 .

Happy New Year!

January 5, 2017

 

THE SERMON

College Heights’ own Preaching Resident, Justin Dewell, wraps up our series "Be Christmas" by teaching us what it means to "Be Life" in a world full of death.

 

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: PRAY

Ask the Spirit to show you ways to “be life.” How can prayer prepare you to be life?

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

Who do you know that needs to hear about God’s forgiveness? In the next month, tell them the story of Jesus coming to forgive them.

QUESTION 3: GROW

Where in your life has fear held you back from following God? Next time you sense God is calling you to something, but you are afraid, determine to say “Yes” to God.

QUESTION 4: LOVE

The Spirit gives us what we need to follow Jesus. How can you use your gifts and passions to communicate the life God offers?

WHAT'S NEXT

We are kicking off a new sermon series through the Gospel of Mark called SPEAK. We will work our way through the life of Jesus from now till Easter. And the way we are dividing this study through the book is through punctuation marks.

We will first spend several weeks talking about SPEAK?  We will answer the major questions of

  • Why speak? 
  • How to speak?
  • Who to speak to?
  • What to speak?

We will then move on to SPEAK! 

We will highlight the things we speak against and the tools we speak with that give our speaking a punch, that make it speak!

Then we will look at SPEAK... 

We will see that are speaking is not complete in and of itself, but is joined together with other key activities in the life of Jesus.

 

If you didn't get one of our  SPEAK bookmark Sunday, you can find the reading list here. Take our New Year's Challenge to read the passage every week between now and Easter as we study through the gospel of Mark!

And then lastly we will conclude with SPEAK:

We will learn the story of what we are supposed to be speaking.

So the series in a nutshell:

  • SPEAK?
  • SPEAK!
  • SPEAK…
  • SPEAK:

Hope to see you this Sunday!

 
Posted on January 5, 2017 .

"BE CHRISTMAS": What does that even mean?

December 20, 2016

 

THE SERMON

In this sermon in our series, Be Christmas, Dr. Mark Scott teaches us what it means to "Be Christmas" by focusing on the love of God.

The Father’s primary identity must become our primary activity.
— Dr. Mark Scott

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: PRAY

Some people are porcupine people (i.e. hard to love.) See John Ortberg’s Book, Everybody’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them. Who is that person in your life? (Don’t tell them.) Pray for that person today. Fred Craddock’s favorite Scripture is Luke 6:35, “God is kind to the ungrateful and evil.”

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

Speech goes belly up if not coupled with deeds. See 1 John 4:20. But when do you need to speak up for love? Are you shy about speaking love into someone’s life?

QUESTION 3: GROW

Perfected is mentioned three times in our text today. It means “completed or maturing”. The litmus test on Christians loving is if you do it with greater ease than last year. Dallas Willard asks, “Are you less irritable this year than last?”

QUESTION 4: LOVE 

There are many love chapters in the Bible (Hosea 11; John 3, 13; 1 Corinthians 13; and 1 John 4). In this small text the noun love is mentioned 12 times while the verb love is mentioned 15 times. Love is the biggest thing in the Book, and it should be the biggest thing in our lives. The object of our love in this text today is the church. What could you do to concretely express more love to the church?

 

THE HIGHLIGHT

Sy Huffer, Lead Minister, shares the results of commitments made during our series, THE BA$ICS, about pursuing generosity. If you missed filling out one of our (anonymous) Financial Commitment Cards, you can still do so here.

 

ONE LESS GIFT

If you would like to donate to One Less Gift in honor of a friend or family member we have gift certificates available that you can give them and let them know! This would make a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer! These will be available at our services Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. You can also print out your own certificate here.

 
Posted on December 20, 2016 .

Advent Week 4: LOVE

 
The Season of Advent Slide 4.png

Omnia vincit amor. Love conquers all. This Latin phrase was first coined by the Augustan poet, Virgil. It feels strange to use the word “conquer” in conjunction with the word “love” during the Christmas season, a time when words of war do not seem to belong in our vocabulary. When we think of love, we may think of the people we care about, the affection or feeling of loving someone.

The promise of the Messiah was a message of rescue, of victory over the enemy. When Gabriel told Mary she would bear the Christ child, he told her she would bring a king into the world and that his Kingdom would never end. When Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph rejoiced, angels celebrated, and shepherds searched for this new savior. Love had entered the world. When Jesus was presented at the temple, Simeon’s blessing included words of prophecy to Mary, “and a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:34-35).

A sword will pierce through your own soul also. We celebrate the coming of Jesus as happy time, but there is an aspect to his coming that must not be forgotten. Jesus was born to die. His birth was the beginning of his conquest over sin. He came out of love, as love, to show love by dying on the cross. He was and is the perfect embodiment of love and when he entered the world and later when he died on the cross and rose again, he conquered sin and death and pain and sorrow and heartache.

As you celebrate this season, remember how Christ chose to love his people in the best way anyone can be loved. His is a love that cannot be overcome for it has already conquered the things of this world.

 

Purple Candle: 

On this Sunday, we encourage you to light four candles – the first reminding us of the hope of Christ, the second reminding us of his peace, the third of his joy, and the fourth candle reminds us to anticipate the love Christ brings to the world. With your family or community, read through some or all of the Scriptures for this Sunday and light the candles for Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.

 

Sunday Reading:

Isaiah 7:10-16

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Romans 1:1-7

Matthew 1:18-25

 

Reflection Questions:

Who is the person or group of people that you find most difficult to love? How can you practice loving them better?

 

Prayer:

Pray this prayer throughout the day. Every time you sit down at a meal or sit at a red light breathe this prayer: 

Father, show me your love and help me to show that love to others.

 
Posted on December 18, 2016 .

The BA$ICS: PURSUING GENEROSITY

December 16, 2016

 

THE SERMON

Sy Huffer, Lead Minister, challenges us to pursue a life of generosity:

THE QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: PRAY

How do your dreams need to be changed to Gospel dreams? Tim Keller says, “Prayer sanctifies your imagination.” Ask the Lord to make your dreams Gospel dreams.

QUESTION 2: SPEAK

Who needs to hear this wisdom from the Lord about peace and contentment in relation to money? How can you teach your children and those in your circle of influence the principles of contentment when it comes to money?

QUESTION 3: GROW

What obstacle of contentment do you need to overcome: discontentment, debt or greed? Where do you need to grow in your management of your finances: living on a budget, wise saving, getting out of debt or pursuing generosity?

QUESTION 4: LOVE 

How can you love people with your finances? How can you grow in your generosity this year? What does taking a step up on the ladder of giving look like for you and your family?

 

PURSUING GENEROSITY

There are many opportunities for pursuing generosity! One that we choose at this time of the year is ONE LESS GIFT.

During this time of year, we take up the challenge of buying one less gift for ourselves and donate that money to acts of compassion for people who are in great need. You can read more in our One Less Gift catalog.

CHRISTMAS @ COLLEGE HEIGHTS

 
Posted on December 16, 2016 .

Advent Week 3: JOY

 

She is heard in the crushing roar of a stadium as the home team clinches the victory. She is audible in the screaming laugh of a woman as she reads the words “pregnant” on the test. She’s there between the waltzing steps of a father spinning his toddler around the linoleum kitchen floor. She rocks along with you in the sanctuary that is your car when you belt out your favorite song at the top of your lungs while playing an amazing drum solo on the steering wheel. In the moment where aching unknowns are swallowed up by relief, she’s there—and her name is Joy. 

This Advent, where we have welcomed a steady Hope and a restful Peace, Joy now bursts onto the scene with full-volume shouts, and twirls around the room performing her best victory dance. She is an energetic emotion, who hasn’t learned how to whisper. Joy is a party. Joy is a celebration. Joy is a perspective-changer. 

We find Joy in the best times in our lives; however, she isn’t restricted to living only in the good. Joy’s presence is not dependent on whether we are experiencing success or suffering. No matter our circumstances or situations—we can rejoice because there is Jesus. Where there is Jesus, there is Joy.

Christmas can not exist without Joy. She is the direct result of the birth of Christ. When he came, he invited her into the world with him. She danced in the sky as the angels sang of the highest glory. She filled the stable with gleeful squeals of relief. Where there is Jesus, there is Joy. Just as he promised, he came and will come again! Heaven and nature sing as we receive our long-awaited king!

Joy pleads with us to invite her into our Advent season, but often we crowd her out with other guests. Stress, Busyness, and Distractions bully their way in and will always try to rob us of our Joy. Instead, we must make room for her. We must embrace Joy. Allow the presence of Jesus and his Joy to overflow in your life. As you anticipate and celebrate the birth of Jesus, may his Joy—your Joy—be palpable to others. May uncontainable Joy be yours and may she point others straight to Jesus!

 

Pink Candle: 

On this Sunday, we encourage you to light three candles – the first reminding us of the hope of Christ, the second reminding us of the peace he brings, and the third and pink candle of the joy that comes with his coming. On week three, our sorrow turns to joy, our grief to celebration, as we prepare for Christ’s coming.

 

Sunday Reading:

Isaiah 35:1-10

Psalm 146:5-10

Luke 1:46b-55

James 5:7-10

Matthew 11:2-11

 

Reflection Questions:

What elements of this season may be squeezing joy from your lives? How could you make more room for God’s rich joy this week?

 

Prayer:

Pray this prayer throughout the day. Every time you sit down at a meal or sit at a red light breathe this prayer: 

Lord Jesus, please allow your presence and joy to overflow in my life. May this uncontainable joy point others to you!

 
Posted on December 11, 2016 .

The BA$ICS

December 7, 2016

 

THE SERMONS

November 27

Two weeks ago, Sy Huffer, Lead Minister, kicked off this series about finances with a compelling message called "Lead Your Heart" based on Matthew 6.

You will hear more about the Commitment Ladder this coming Sunday!

This past Sunday, he continued the series with "Live With Contentment" based out of 1 Timothy 6. He reminded us that one way to experience peace in our lives is through wise financial stewardship. 

December 4

The heart is the battlefield of every Christian ministry. Winning people to Christ is a transaction of the heart. And at its core, the process of discipleship is growing people in their faith...to expand their heart for God so that God will ultimately own that entire real estate.
— Rick Dunham

THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

Pray: How do your dreams need to be changed to Gospel dreams? Tim Keller says, "Prayer sanctifies your imagination." Ask the Lord to make your dreams Gospel dreams. 

Speak: Who needs to hear this wisdom from the Lord about peace and contentment in relation to money? How can you teach your kids and those in your circle of influence the principles of contentment when it comes to money? 

Grow: What obstacle of contentment do you need to overcome: discontentment, debt, or greed? Where do you need to grow in your management of your finances: living on a budget, wise saving, getting out of debt, or pursuing generosity? 

Love: How can you love people with your finances? How can you grow in your generosity this year? What does taking a step up on the ladder of giving look like for you and your family?

 

PRACTICING GENEROSITY

Sy also called us to consider this avenue of generosity: One Less Gift. Every year we take the challenge to buy one less gift for ourselves at Christmas so that we can give to those most in need. Here's just a couple of the projects that the One Less Gift funds:

SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

We are currently observing the second week of Advent. Read more about Advent or view the Advent Guide.

 
Posted on December 7, 2016 .

Advent Week 2: PEACE

 

When God comes, peace comes.

The people of Jericho were in rebellion against God. Generation after generation only worsened in their lifestyles of idolatry and oppression. Caring only for their own well-being, they warred with neighboring kingdoms, oppressed the weak and marginalized, and did terrible things during their religious rituals. Behind towering walls the city lived in rebellion, hostility and swelling fear.

But then God came, along with a people living under his rule and reign. And when God comes, peace comes. He would not let Jericho’s oppression and rebellion continue. It was time for peace. 

But here’s the tricky thing about peace—it can come in only two forms, reconciliation or defeat. Rahab, one woman in Jericho, chose reconciliation, and she was joyfully received into the community of God’s kingdom. The rest of Jericho continued to rebel, and were defeated. God tore down their walls, and peace descended upon the land.

These days, things are not much different. We care only for our own well-being, at war with our enemies, oppressing the weak and marginalized, and doing terrible things in the name of personal happiness. We’re still in rebellion; we’re still building walls. God is still breaking down walls; he is still bringing peace. And when Jesus—the Prince of Peace—came into the world, this peace also came in only two forms, reconciliation or defeat. 

But Jesus took the defeat that we deserved so we could choose reconciliation. “For he himself is our peace, who has…broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Eph. 2:14 ESV). In an unforeseeable twist, the conquering king broke himself, not his rebellious subjects, so that he could be at peace with them. 

When God comes, peace comes.

Peace is going to come no matter what. May you choose the way of Rahab and be reconciled to God this Christmas.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Lk. 2:14 ESV).

 

Purple Candle: 

On this Sunday, we encourage you to light two candles – the first reminding us of the hope of Christ we anticipate during advent, and the second to remind us of the peace of Christ we look forward to in this season as well. With your family or community, read through some or all of the Scriptures for this Sunday and light the candles for Hope and Peace.

 

Sunday Readings: 

Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 

Romans 15:4-13

Matthew 3:1-12

 

Reflection Question:

How can you bring peace into the lives of those around you?

 

Prayer: 

Pray this prayer throughout the day:

Father, show me the way to be at peace with you and at peace with others.

 

 
Posted on December 4, 2016 .

What is ONE LESS GIFT?

November 29, 2016

 

Through One Less Gift, we spend less on ourselves at Christmas and more on those who are most in need.  We intentionally choose to put Christ at the center of Christmas—celebrating His coming and pursuing His heart for the lost and the hurting.

We have seen firsthand what those gifts can do. When we dug wells in India, old men wept and thanked us for giving their wives and daughters their lives back because the long, exhausting, daily journey for water had finally ceased. When we were able to buy milk cows for 600 orphans, the children had access to good nutrition for the first time in their lives. And when we bought propane for a Joplin family, they enjoyed a warm house that winter. 

Still not sure what we mean by "One Less Gift"? Watch our Children's Minister, Brian Sitton, explain it to our kids:

THE CATALOG

In our One Less Gift catalog you will find a wide variety of wish list items from our Community and Global Partners. We hope to fully fund each request through One Less Gift. As a sponsor, your contribution goes toward the One Less Gift fund. We distribute these financial gifts proportionately to each of our Community and Global Partners. 

You can give at church on any Sunday between now and December 31, pay online (choose “One Less Gift” in the drop down menu at the top right), or bring a check to the church office (mention "One Less Gift" in the memo line).

Thanks for being a part of this amazing opportunity which will make a real difference this holiday season! 

 
Posted on November 29, 2016 .

Advent Week 1: HOPE

 

Hope is the longing of your heart and soul for the reign of King Jesus. It is only fitting that hope would begin the season of Advent. We begin by making sure our longing is in the right place. As citizens of God’s Kingdom, our longing this season should not only be for gifts, food, rest, or even family. Yes, all those things are beautiful gifts from God, but the most precious gift is the coming of God’s son. Advent must begin with our hearts set towards the coming of King Jesus.

My heart likes to drift away from that desire. It finds other hopes to latch on to. All those hopes turn out to be poor moorings because, as good as they might be, I need something greater to hope for. Rest, family, and gifts are exciting around this time of year, but eventually I let out a sigh because I know my heart is hoping for something more, something greater.

I think I long to hope for something greater because hope leads to purpose. What I hope for causes me to act and think a certain way. Israel hoped for the coming of the Messiah and it changed what they did. People were willing to follow anyone who claimed to be the Messiah because they longed for God to be revealed in the Messiah and save Israel. Peter understood this. When given the chance to walk away from Jesus he said, “Where else can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

This first week of Advent is a time to align the desires of your heart with God’s desire to make Himself known to the world. Hope is why we can fight from a place of victory. Hope is why we keep saying “Yes” to Jesus. Hope is why we are determined to make disciples who change the world through the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. Hope does not see an empty throne room.

Hope knows the King is coming.

 

Purple Candle: 

Sundays are special, set-apart days of Advent. Traditionally, every Sunday of Advent we light a candle. Three of the five candles are purple—the traditional color associated with Advent. Purple represents mourning, longing, and grief. Without a Savior, we are left with our sin and are in desperate need of rescue. During Advent, we wait. We long, and we mourn. On this Sunday, we encourage you to light the first candle—representing our longing for the hope of Christ. With your family or community, read through some or all of the Scriptures for this Sunday and light the candle for hope.

 

Sunday Readings:

Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm 122

Romans 13:11-14

Matthew 24:36-44

 

Reflection Question:

How does your heart need to change to hope for God to come?

 

Prayer:

Pray this prayer throughout the week: 

Sovereign Lord, help me to remember your promise. Direct my heart to follow you as King, for you have revealed yourself to the world and saved your people.

 
Posted on November 27, 2016 .