Message Recap – 3/26/10 – The Real Naked Me

Sunday, March 28, 2010

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This week we have the privilege to hear from Melissa! This is her very first time preaching; that's right, you are a witness to history!

Probably most of you would be pretty uncomfortable if you were physically naked in front of the whole room. But emotional and spiritual openness can be just as scary, if not more so. Letting people see what you are really like takes nerve! That's what Melissa is going to talk about in this message.

Most of us have at some point pretended to be someone or something we're not. We try to talk like, dress like or act like somebody else. It's never a good thing to try to be someone we're not. It's very tiring for one thing! It can also cause hurt to a lot of people, not only yourself, but to those around you. Trying to be what others want you to be only ends up hurting you and them.

The feelings that you may have of being inferior or inadequate won't end when you graduate, when you turn 21, when you get married, or whatever magic time you have in mind. Without God's help you will never simply grow out of it.

So, how do you avoid this problem of not being happy with yourself?

It's simple! Just remember D.E.F. You may not have heard, but DEF is the new ABC. Pass it on!

D – discover your gifts, your passion – the naked you! If you're like Melissa, you might think you don't have any gifts. But that isn't true, you absolutely do! If you are having trouble figuring out what they may be, look at what you're good at first; that will be a good clue.

E – embrace your gifts! If you have an idea of what you gifting is but think, “that's stupid!” Don't! It is necessary, helpful and needed; otherwise, why would God have given it to you? You may have to come to terms with the fact that you are not gifted in “exciting” areas like music, sports or public speaking. Don't compare yourself to others because you think their gifts are cooler. Your gifts are just as good.

There are many examples of jealousy causing problems in the Bible: Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, Sarah and Hagar just to name a few. Jealousy never results in good things!

In fact, James 3:16 says; For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

It's hard, but don't be jealous; you will save yourself a lot of trouble!

F – face the world with your giftings!

OK, so you were embarrassed or ashamed of your gifting, but you've moved past it and are trying to embrace it. You will need help from God to face the world!

One of Melissa's gifts is mercy, yet she tries to build a reputation of being tough and insensitive. But she has realized that she needs to be true to the giftings she has. She feels deeply for others, and she shouldn't hide that. This means opening up to potential hurt from others by exposing something precious – your gift. But God will be faithful to protect you, cover you and heal you. God gives good things and takes care of His children! Check out Psalm 121:1-3:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

Melissa is not saying this to say that she has it all figured out – cause she doesn't. She likes to do things herself and sometimes has a hard time allowing God to work in her and help her. But she is saying that if you surrender to God and allow Him to help you reveal the real, naked (no, not physically naked!) you to the world, you can make the difference you were created to make!

Discover your gifts, embrace them and face the world with them!

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Message Recap – 3/19/10 – All We Need is Love

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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This week we have a special guest speaker – who is it?

It's Maria! Maria has always loved music and singing. It is said that the more senses you use, the more likely you are to remember something. For instance, if you write it down, read it, and listen to it, you will better remember it. And for Maria, music has always been a way for her to connect and remember things.

Here's a little audio memory aid Pastor Dan and Maria made to go along with this message:

Love Montage

There are so many songs that talk about love. Sometimes when you hear those songs you think that if someone would only love you, everything would be alright. When Maria was growing up she didn't have a relationship with her father and didn't get along with her stepfather. Even though her family and friends loved her very much, she had a feeling that she just needed someone to love her.

The world presents the love that they think we need in a false way – they present things that they think provide the love that we need, but it just leaves us empty. The world can make you feel that you're worthless without love. It seems like you have to find someone or you're nothing; without a boyfriend or girlfriend, life is not worth living.

It can feel like we are nothing without human love. But the truth is that human love and the love of worldly things leaves us empty! Whether it be a person or a thing or a hobby, none of it will give us what we are looking for.

Maria was also the only child of her mother and father. Her parents went on to have 8 other children, and Maria would sometimes wonder where she fit in. Did her parents loved her as much as the younger kids?

But the truth is that Christ loves her, even if no one else in the world does!

When you go to the gas pump, no one really wants to pay the higher price for the high octane gas. If you can get by with the cheaper stuff, why pay more? And in life we often don't want to pay the price for the more "expensive" love because it is too much of a risk. So we buy the cheap, crappy stuff. God's love is like the high octane, high quality stuff, but it's already been paid for by Him!

The word love appears in the Bible over 300 times – it's a very important part of God's word! He really is the God of love!

First let's look at 1 John 4:7-21.

It's a lot of scripture, but let it come alive to you. Christ is where we find true love. God gave His only Son for us!

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors and to love orphans and widows. It's not all about us getting love, it's about loving others! Your family, your friends, your enemies – everyone! No one is excluded! God's love reaches to everyone!

Now check out John 15:10-11: If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

It sometimes may seem that God requires a lot from us, but when we consider what He has done for us, what we give back is so simple.

Romans 5:8 says, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus died in a horrible, painful way, for us! He loved us so much that He didn't care.

Romans 8:38-39 is a very cool reminder of God's love: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing, nobody, can separate us from God's Love. We can never be separated from His love!

It turns out that the Beatles actually have a good point: all we really need is love. Not the love of a person, but the love of God.

All we really need is Christ's love. We don't need to be filling our hearts and minds with the love of people and things. That's OK, but there is a love that is greater than all of those things!

Even if you feel that no one else in this world loves you, notices you or cares about you, are you walking in the love of God?

Quick pick-me-ups of love leave you incomplete. It's like applying a Band-aid to a huge cut. But using God's love to fill up your heart covers it all and heals your heart.

How can we show others the love of God? What do you do to show His love to other people? Should we sit at home and ponder? Or should we open our mouths and let people know about God?

We have to start thinking about more than just ourselves and share God's love with others. They are hurting, trying to put Band-aids on huge gaping wounds -- and it's not working! We have the answer for their pain!

God loves you so very much. Let His love shine through you. Show others that love really is all you need; the love of God!

Message Recap - 3/14/10 - Church for One: Part 3

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tonight we are bringing the Church for One series to a close with Part 3. You can brush up on parts 1 & 2 here:

Part One

Part Two

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Our theme verse for this series is Psalm 27:8:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

You can have church everyday – you can meet with God everyday, just you and Him! Not only that, but He wants you to!

It's little secret known as ”devotions.” OK well, it's not actually a secret.

There are lost of techniques and styles for devotions, but there are a couple of things that you must have in your devotional life. For example, watching Saved by the Bell and eating Ho-Hos is not devotions.

Here are the three components devotions should have:

1. Bible reading

2. Prayer

3. Worship

We've covered the Bible and prayer in parts 1 and 2, which means that this week we are delving into number 3: Worship.

Now, if you've been coming to Rev Church for any length of time, you may have noticed that worship is something pastor Dan is passionate about. He talks about it frequently, and if you've heard some of this before, don't turn off or tune out! It is still extremely important!

Why do we worship?

Why do we sing songs, clap, jump, close our eyes and lift our hands? What is the point? Why is it so important? Why is it an important part of your devotional life? Those are great questions, I'm glad you asked! There are essentially two reasons why we worship.

1. As a response to what God has done and who He is

Let's take a look at Romans 12:1:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

The word “spiritual” actually means “logical” in Greek. It means that worship is the only logical response to what Christ has done for us.

God has given us something great – and the only thing that makes sense in response to that is to praise, worship and offer thanksgiving. It's saying a big thank you to the One who gave his life for you.

We also worship because God is worthy. He's worthy because He's glorious; He's the creator or the universe!

Check out Psalm 100:

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

2. Worship is the doorway

The best thing you can do when you come to devotions is to start out praising God and thanking Him. It's as simple as saying thank you for how good He's been to you.

We worship because He's worthy and because it's our access point to the throne of God. When we worship we can access God!

How do we worship?

1. Worship is not built on ritual.

Take a look at Isaiah 29:13.

Here's the NIV translation:

The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.

But you should really check out the Message version as well.

There is no formula for worship. It's not something that can be learned by rote. You can't just stand next to someone and copy what they are doing and truly worship.

It's not just rules and going through the motions. It's about what is happening in our hearts!

John 4:19-24: Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."

The woman at the well was asking Jesus what the rules of worship are, and He responded in an interesting way. He told her that God is not looking for worshipers who worship by rules, but in Spirit.

Worship is internal! It is heartfelt, from the inside! It's not going through the motions to fooling people – it's in spirit.

Secondly, it's in truth. The Bible says, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Your actions must line up with what's in your heart. If you say, “I'm worshiping God,” but your action is to just stand there... well, it doesn't seem that your heart is overflowing with love and thanksgiving for God. This applies both to devotional worship and corporate worship.

Just try worshiping loud the next time you're home alone. When you pray, try praying out loud – like, really loud.

Think about the moment when your favorite team makes a game winning goal. When you worship the same kind of passion should come out of you!

Worship in truth; express what's in your heart with your words and actions!

God is worthy of worship, even if there were no benefits of worship. The greatness of God and of what Christ did is amazing – that is enough reason to worship. But God in his mercy gave us benefits for worship – yup, worship is good for us!

Benefits of worship:

1. Brings God's Presence

2. Gives Comfort When You're Hurting

Isaiah 61:3: ...and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.

There are times when we all feel like giving up. When we are hurting, feeling betrayed, whatever. In those moments, if you worship, God will comfort you and restore your joy.

God loves us, He doesn't want to see us hurt and broken!

3. Healing

Exodus 23:25: Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,

4. Deliverance

Psalm 18:2-19 describes someone trapped and God coming down in scary, fierce anger to rescue them. The person trapped is you – God is angry because someone messed with you and He's gonna get 'em!

In Acts 16:20-26 Paul and Silas found time and chose to worship in the worst of circumstances, and God delivered them! As you put God first, see what He does for you – He will deliver you!

Devotions are about relationship, it's not about getting a star on your chart or fulfilling a list of requirements.

God wants you to get to know Him and Him to get to know you.

Back to the theme verse, Psalm 27:8: My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

He's calling you today and everyday to get together with Him, to worship Him, to talk with Him.

How will you respond to His call?


Message Recap – 3/5/10 – Church for One: Part 2

Monday, March 8, 2010

This week we are delving into Part 2 of Pastor Dan's series Church for One!

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Our theme verse for this series is Psalm 27:8:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

There is a call today and everyday; a call to come away and talk with God. You don't have to wait for a Friday night or a Sunday morning to respond to that call and talk with God. You can access Him anytime!

Church for One, unlike a table for one, is not boring!

Church once a week cannot be your only connection with God. If it is, you are missing out on an incredible relationship that God wants to have with you!

This series is really about devotions. A lot of people have made their devotional life into a chore. God is calling us to more than an activity we can check off our list, He's calling us to a relationship with Him. You can experience God's presence on your own, wherever you are – in your room, on the bus, even in prison (don't do something illegal to prove that last one, please).

Last week we covered reading your Bible. You can catch a quick refresher here: Part 1

This week we are looking at prayer (no, not Perdue; prayer). Our number one problem as Christians is that we don't pray enough. All of us, all the way up to Pastor Dan have this problem.

You might say, “You don't know me! You can't judge me!” Well, if we were praying like we should be, we wouldn't be struggling with what we're struggling with -- resisting temptation, confusion, witnessing to our friends.

Most of the challenges that we face can be answered by prayer.

Believe it or not, if you have a prayer life, a close relationship with God, you can withstand temptation!

In that moment when you are facing temptation: pray! Seek God, talk to Him! Nothing builds a relationship with God like prayer.

Have a conversation with God – don't just talk to Him, but allow Him to talk to you.

If you never have a conversation with God except in a large group setting (such as church), it will be hard to get to know Him. But when you spend time alone with Him on a regular basis, having conversations with Him, you will develop a relationship!

When you spend time talking with someone you get to know them, right?

Nothing helps with challenges and problems like talking to God about them.

So, how should we pray? What should we say? How should we say it? What are the hard and fast rules about prayer? What does God say about it? Let's take a look at some answers.

The Approach

1. Fervency

James 5:16 says, The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Fervent means, "Very hot or glowing, marked with great intensity."

Bored prayers don't accomplish much, but passionate prayers are heard.

Ever read Psalms? David certainly prayed passionate prayers. They were real, fervent prayers.

It's hard to be passionate and fake at the same time. Passionate needs to be honest!

2. Boldness

Check out Luke 11:5-13:

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

You can always go to God! Prayer is not a time to be wishy-washy and timid; pray bold prayers! God even asks you to be bold – almost impolite!

Pray confidently. Don't be afraid to ask!

3. Faithfully

Luke 18:1-8 talks about a woman who was extremely persistent - and she got what she asked for.
Don't give up! Continue praying, consistently. Pray prayers of faith, believing that God hears you and will respond. Thank Him that He has heard your prayer and He will see you through it.

4. Spiritually

Ephesians 6:18:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Romans 8:26:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Pray spiritually, not fleshly prayers. Don't pray that God would get back at that guy that annoys you, or that your parents don't find out about your poor grades. Those are fleshly prayers. God is not a genie in a lamp to grant your every whim. Pray spiritual prayers!

Be led by the Spirit about how you pray, who you pray for, what you pray for them.

Do pray in tongues, but also when praying in English, be sure to pray by the Spirit.

The Pattern

Take a look at what Jesus says about prayer in Matthew 6:5-13. Jesus said to pray privately (yes, pray publicly as well, but most of your prayer time should be in private). He also said to pray simply; there's no need for religious games.

Follow the pattern that Jesus gave us in what's known as "The Lord's Prayer." Not necessarily using these words, but these elements:

Hallowed be thy name – Honor God; make sure that part of your prayer involves honoring God.

Your kingdom come, your will be done – Surrender to God in all areas of your life. Our prayers need to have surrender in them.

Give us this day our daily bread – Pray for your needs. If you need help with school, ask for it! If you have a problem that you need to solve, ask God!

Philippians 4:6 says,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive others – Confessing your sin and forgiving others needs to be part of your prayer life. Be specific, both about your sins and about the people you are forgiving.

Lead us not into temptation – Pray for help to live holy, upright lives, and for freedom from temptation. Just ask for help!

Here are some of the benefits of prayer:

1. Wisdom and direction

2. Peace

Philippians 4:6-7 says, Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3. Help with temptation

In Matthew 26:41 Jesus said, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

God is calling us to a relationship – make time to build that relationship and to respond to that call!


Message Recap - 2/26/10 - Church for One: Part One

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Last time, Pastor Dan wrapped up an excellent series on evangelism. You should definitely brush up by reading the recap:

Power Evangelism

This week we are on to a whole new series called "Church for One." This series will cover (among other things) some of the aspects, strategies relating to devotions and how our walk with God carries itself out on a daily basis.

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The point is not to condemn you, but to inspire you to seek God's face on a regular basis in your secret place.

The key verse for this series is in Psalm 27:8:

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Tonight, part one:

Let's start out with a little honesty. Honestly, even Pastor Dan sometimes struggles with reading the Bible every day. There are days when he doesn't read his Bible.

He's not coming at this from the perspective of one who has it all together and is doing everything perfectly.

It is a struggle – sometimes it is a struggle to find the time to read, other times it's the struggle to get something out of what you've read.

There are times when every word seems so alive and speaks to your situation.

And then there are days when you feel like, “blech.” Nothing is sinking in, nothing seems to mean anything.

Tonight we are going to talk about how to get the most out of reading the Bible. After all, the Bible doesn't change from day to day... it's we who change and struggle sometimes. You're not alone if this happens to you!

Maybe you've heard arguments against the Bible, that it is inacurate or irrelevant or contradictory.

Lets address those first.

Common arguments against the Bible:

1. The Bible is irrelevant

Part of what you're reading in the Bible is about a culture that is 6,000 years old. There are definitely parts, that are related to the culture, that don't apply today. For example, you may not be struggling with selling your birthright like Esau was. The cultural aspect of that story is irrelevant, but the message of the story is anything but. There is a reason that the story is in the Bible – so often we take a short-term view of life, and miss out on what God has for us in exchange for a passing pleasure. That message is extremely relevant today!

Check out 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

None of those traits could possibly apply to anyone today! This is sooooo outdated!

Erm, no. This is an extremely relevant scripture for our times!

The Bible has something to say about what you are going through! Take the time to discover what it is saying!

2. The Bible Contains Historical Inaccuracies

There have been many instances of times when historians believed that the Bible was written wrong, until they find archeological evidence of exactly what the Bible mentions! Just because we live in the 21st century does not mean we know everything... there are always new things surfacing which support the history in the Bible. Until we discover every piece of historical evidence, why not err on the side of believing God?

3. The Bible Contains Internal Contradictions

Some people argue that there are places where the Bible contradicts itself. There are always two sides to this argument, and the sections they are quoting are most often taken out of context. If you take the time to study the scriptures out, you will find out the reason behind the supposed contradiction.

Don't just blindly believe what someone tells you, do some research! Even research what Pastor Dan says!

Search the scriptures, hear both sides.

Those are the three main problems that people most often have with believing the Bible. Understand that it is still going to take faith – all of your questions will never be answered, but why not put your faith in the Creator of the universe?

let's see what God has to say about His word in the Bible:

Psalm 119:105

Psalm 119:130

Deuteronomy 8:3b

Matthew 24:35

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Hebrews 4:12

Sometimes we like to play games with ourselves, manipulating what is right and wrong in our own minds. The Word of God cuts through all that, getting right to the heart of the issue and showing you the truth.

James 1:22

OK, now on to how to read the Bible:

Don't beat yourself up. There are a lot of people who read a lot of Bible. There are a lot who pretend to read a lot of Bible, but don't.

Different people read at different paces. Read what you can read – for some it may be 1 chapter a day, for others it will be 20 per day. If reading is a hard way to learn for you, get the Bible on CD or MP3. Just make sure you are taking it in on a regular basis.

Read enough. Yes, keeping the above in mind, but also make sure that you are giving God a chance to speak to you through the Word! Don't just read one chapter of genealogy and expect a life changing impartation.

Imagine starting a conversation with God and never giving Him a chance to say anything.

Give yourself a chance to settle in and listen. Don't just speed-read or skim it - allow yourself to get into the conversation. Read your Bible for extended periods of time – even if it takes you 35 minutes to read 3 verses.

Ask the Holy Spirit to speak.

The bible is not one dimensional. There are layers of meaning! There is a meaning that is straightforward and true and great, but there is also a meaning to that same verse that is brand new to you! No matter how many times you have read the Bible, there is always something new to discover.

The Bible is not meant to be used on its own. It's mean to be read with the help of the Holy Spirit. People can get really messed up from reading the Bible on its own. Some weird doctrine comes out of that.

God made the Bible so big that you can take it waaaay out of context if you don't read it through the lens of the Holy Spirit. People have used the Bible without the Holy Spirit to justify all kinds of horrible things.

There is nothing inherently holy about the physical Bible. But when we're reading and the Holy Spirit takes those words and shines light on them, suddenly it carries power and life.

Here are some questions to ask as you read:

1. What is the context?

What is the author talking about, what are they dealing with?

For instance, Philippians 4:19 says,

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

This verse is often taken out of context – but really, Paul is talking about the results of generous giving. It changes the whole meaning when we know the context.

2. What is it saying?

Its easy to skim over it, but ask yourself what the Bible is saying to you.

3. What do other scriptures say about this subject?

You can do a word study by going to Biblegateway.com or using an old fashioned concordance... find out what the Bible says in other places about the subject.

4. How does this apply to my life?

This is a big one. Don't just learn a principle, but find out how does the scripture apply to your life, your choices, how you live your life. It may not be obvious right away, you may need to think about it for awhile. This is often called “meditating.” When a verse pops out at you is a good time to put this to use. Start researching the words in the verse, praying about it, reading it again and again, thinking about it, going over and over it in your mind.

Some verses are not like yogurt; they are like steak in that it takes work to chew them. Sometimes it takes time and mental "chewing" to get the nutrients and nourishment from the scriptures.

As you chew it over, parts you didn't understand become clear and God teaches you as you think about it. Instead of thinking about Tetris or how to avoid work, think about God's word!

And finally, here are just a few of the benefits of reading God's Word:

1. Comfort

2. Getting to know God

Devotions are not about a duty. It's not a chore, it's about a relationship with God.

3. Direction

4. Wisdom

5. Correction

Believe it or not, you will be wrong at certain times in your life. You need the word of God to show you where you are wrong and how to right it.

6. Peace

7. Encouragement

So, what are you waiting for? Crack open that Bible your parents got you when you were 8 and take a look!