Thrive Sermon Notes. Week Two of #ForCentralMichigan. ‘Be Practical’

Last Sunday at Thrive Church, we kicked off a new series called #ForCentralMichigan. It was awesome and it was a GREAT Sunday!

We kicked off this series by laying out that we believe Thrive is called to be a Church

FOR the Community, not just in the community. 

Today, our plans changed a little at Thrive. We were going to spread throughout Central Michigan and serve at a ton of different projects. But, the rain decided it needed to come.

So, we changed our plans a bit! We hosted a LIVE online worship experience and it turned out GREAT!

This week, I wrote out my sermon notes. Here they are.

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My Seminar Notes from Exponential: Engaging Your Community (Pt. 1)

Engaging Your Community

    • Good afternoon! So excited you’ve joined this conversation and that’s what I hope this will be. So, pipe up at any moment, throw in ideas. I hope that this is a think tank for you and I hope you will walk out of here with tons of ideas!
    • I’ve been serving as a Pastor at local churches since 1995. I was in youth ministry, well, I still am, but I served as a youth pastor for 17 years. I started a nonprofit to speak in public schools and then my wife and I planted Thrive Church on October 6th, 2013. We are 184 weeks old.IMG_9996.JPG
  • It has been the GREATEST journey of our lives. Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of paint and lots of joy and everything in between!
  • So, this conversation we’re having, I’m going at it from the perspective of a church plant that’s in the preplant days. Now, if you’ve already planted, I think we’ll have some ideas to help you to continue engaging with your community. But, I wanted you to know that.
  • In a nutshell, if we’re going to really engage with our communities, I really believe our philosophy and our focus has to be rooted in this idea:

Big Idea: Be a Church FOR your Community, not just IN your Community

  • Thrive, after 3.5 years, still doesn’t have a building of our own. That helps us a little with this mindset. But, it’s super easy to slip into the philosophy of…well, people just need to come to us. It’s easy once you’re up and going to just take your foot off the peddle a little bit.
  • At Thrive, we set out to reach people who had given up on God and church. We want to create irresistible environments for people who have given up on God and Church. That’s our context.

Story: This is a great F’ing Church

  • We were like 2 months in, and this giant guy, came up to me after church. Like, he’s a massive man. We’re in the hallway and he grabs my shoulders and he says…I LOVE THIS F’ING CHURCH! It was awesome! A few older ladies sprinted out of there!
  • That to mean was an indicator that we were reaching people who hadn’t been reached!
  • But, if even before we launch and plant, this idea of being FOR the community is front and center, that will keep us moving in the right direction.
  • I love what Andy Stanley says about a Church being a movement:

“The church at its inception was essentially, a movement…a movement built around conviction that Jesus had died as the only Savior for sinners and that he had risen from the dead proving he was who he said he was; that he was the rightful Lord of the earth and all people everywhere were now commanded to repent and invited to come home to him.” ~Andy Stanley

  • If you haven’t had a chance to read Deep and Wide by Andy, oh my goodness, do it immediately. The book continues to blow my mind and is so powerful!
  • In it, he really breaks down this thought process of…is the Church a Building or a Movement?

The Church? Building or Movement [From Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley]

  • This will be a refreshers course, but I think it’s helpful to lay this foundation out before we get to 10 really practical steps to Engaging your Community. So many people, when they hear the word church, immediately think of what???
  • A Building. A Place.

Story: Planting Thrive in a Rural, predominantly catholic area

  • So many people thought I was crazy when we announced that we were going to plant a Church. And they just couldn’t wrap their minds around not having a building. To them, the church was a place they went to a few times a year, wore their Sunday best and it was a building.
  • So, to some in our area, we were a cult. We started in a bar (some people seemed to dig that, hah!), then a movie theater and, wow, the very traditional crowd thought that was crazy.
  • In our first year and a half we started this annual giving campaign called the SHOE PROJECT. Schools and supporting them has always been on my heart. We found out that shoes was a very real need. So, we raised $15,000 and bought 425 brand new pair of shoes and gave them out in a school!
  • It was like a giant foot washing!
  • And, then we cancelled a Sunday pretty early and started a ‘Church has left the building’ day where we served schools.
  • We want to teach very practically early on, that the Church was both a gathering and a movement.
  • That’s exactly what Andy Stanley teaches in Deep and Wide. He takes the world Church and teaches that in the Greek, it’s translated, Ekklesia, it literally means…

‘Ekklesia’ = [‘ek’ = ‘out of’] [‘kaleo’ = ‘called out’]

  • So, it’s an Assembly of people called out around an idea, a movement
    • But over the years, a terrible thing happened. People began to think of church as a place that you went to for religious services.
  • Our English word “church” comes not from the Greek ekklesia but from the German word kirche, which meant “a sacred place where you gather for religious purposes.”

‘Kirche’ = A sacred place where you gather for religious purposes

    • That shift in thinking changed the fundamental way people related to the church. Throughout the Dark Ages people went to church; it was a place you attended or sat through, rather than a movement you were part of.
    • And the church became an institution that essentially provided services for people and was controlled by powerful people who used it to serve their own interests.
    • But then something awesome happened. God raised up a group of people called the Reformers. One of the main ones for the English speaking world was William Tyndale.
    • He came to the conviction that Christianity was essentially a movement, and that if people were going to be devoted to the movement they had to understand the message and so his life’s work was to produce the first translation of the Bible into common English.
  • And every time he came to this word, ekklesia, he translated it ‘congregation’ instead of church, because he was trying to emphasize that the church was not a place you went to, but a movement you belonged to.
    • You church history buffs know that infuriated Church leaders because it undercut their authority. Eventually Tyndale was tried as a heretic, hanged and burned at the stake
  • During his trial, right before he died, he said, ‘If God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more Scriptures than you do’.
  • As he was being burned his last recorded words were, ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes’. If you’ve got a copy of the King James Bible, you can see that God answered that prayer.
  • But, the Church is an assembly built around a movement.

Illustration: Cruise Ship or Coast Guard

  • It’s easy to have the MOVEMENT and ENGAGING YOUR COMMUNITY mentality in the beginning. But, trust me, you can slip into the safe, no risks, pleasing the Church people mentality very quickly.
  • There is a GREAT Church in Rapid City, South Dakota and the Pastor, David Kinnan, uses this illustration.
  • Are you a Cruise Ship Church or the Coast Guard?
  • Cruise Ship Churches are obviously ‘kirche’ kind of Church! A place you go. And, it attempts to meet your every need! You are pampered, stuffed at buffets and everything is about you.
  • Unfortunately, that mentality cannot slip into Churches. We have to Be the COAST GUARD! An ekklesia that moves throughout our communities and saves drowning people!
  • So…

Is our GOAL to just launch a SERVICE and find a BUILDING … or create a MOVEMENT and ENGAGE your Community?

  • I know this is probably a crazy way to start out, because if you’re planting, you are in the thick of being a movement.
  • But, I know so many planters that just work so hard to get to a service or a building. You work so hard just on details!
  • Details are fine! Details are important, they’re necessary. It’s one of the reasons I planted through STADIA CHURCH PLANTING. They provided me a Project Manager, really an Ex. Pastor for the first 10 months to handle the details.
  • That freed me up to ENGAGE with my community!
  • The big question to ask is…

“A movement is something that is usually marked by three things, or it’s said it’s marked by three things. First of all, a movement is something that’s united around a common, compelling vision. It’s got a broad base of involvement and participation, which is very broadband and spontaneous. And it’s energized by a power that leads to innovation and sacrifice.”  ~Tim Keller

Big Idea: Are you a Church FOR the community, or just another Church IN your community?

  • Acts 1:8 reminds us why this is all so important!

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

  • We have to MOVE. We have to ENGAGE.
  • This has got to be one of the strangest scenes ever, doesn’t’ it? He gives them the largest assignment you could ever imagine…and then…with hardly any explanation, or plan of action, he leaves.
  • They are like, what? The whole world? As he is ascending, they are like, ‘Jesus, do you realize how big the whole world is? Jesus is like, ‘Yup, I can see it from here suckers! And, you have no idea how big it really is!
  • This is where it all began. 2000 years later, here we are, with more Christians on the planet than any other religious group, all stemming from a group of 12 fisherman, carpenters and tax collectors.

The Question to ask before you launch?

‘If our Church disappeared someday, would anyone in our community even notice?

  • When we planted Thrive, we said that this question would be one that we would come back to all the time.
  • Our area is smaller, its rural. We have 26,000 people in our town, about 130,000 in a 30 mile radius. Lots of traditional churches.
  • So, we just keep asking ourselves, if Thrive goes away, will anyone notice?
  • We ask that, because we want to make a big impact in our area!
  • And the way to do that is by Engaging with our community.
  • So, here is a step by step to do just that. To be FOR the community, not just IN the community.

Step by Step Plan to Engaging Your Community

  1. Remember that you CARRY the most important news ever.

And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere’

  • Yes, of course we remember this, that’s why we’re doing this. But, we get so busy, again, with the details. The pressure of Launching Large, or getting Missional Communities going, or building a launch team.
  • So, a good question to ask is, Do you really know the Gospel Message?
    • I Love the Gospel Message. But, if I’m being honest, it was years before I really could articulate it in a way that an unchurched person could understand.
    • Todd Clark: How to lead a person to Jesus on a napkin
  • Do you know what you believe about the essentials?
    • People will ask. Be ready.
    • And, they will want to know what you believe about Homosexuality.
    • I got the most emails about that before we launched. We’re in a college town. I got emails from parents asking if there kids would be accepted at Thrive. Broke my heart.

Story: Cornered by a Grandma on Child Dedication Sunday

  • This grandma cornered me and drilled me. You a real pastor? Where’s your robe? Why don’t you baptize babies? What’s this child dedication?
  • What are your non-essentials?
  • What are your Core beliefs?
  • Are you passionate about sharing Jesus?
    • Are you more passionate about the idea of starting and growing a church, that about sharing Jesus with every person you come into contact with?

Story: Panera Bread: You’re a Pastor?

  • I worked at Panera Bread my first year at Thrive! Hundreds of meetings, coffees, thousands of study hours, phone calls.
  • I got to know the staff very well. The manager would let me clean up tables.
  • Staff would talk to me on their breaks!
  • One day a young lady who I was getting to know sat down and rather rudely said, I just found out you’re a Pastor! Is that true? Because what I know of Christians, they hate everything and everyone and you just don’t seme that way!
  • Remember that you’re a carrier!
  1. Learn how to be an AMAZING story teller.
    • Study how to ‘Cast a Vision’ from both in front of people and face to face with people
      • Read Visioneering by Andy Stanley and then read it again!
      • Watch GREAT vision Casters
        • Greg Nettle
        • Albert Tate
        • Bill Hybels
        • Andy Stanley
    • Learn how to share the story of your church in under 5 minutes
      • What makes you different?
      • Read everthing you can from Will Mancini and get CLARITY.
      • Do you have a tag line? Thrive’s is NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED.
    • Practice, practice, practice.
      • Ted Williams, I believe was the greatest hitter of all time. Played for the Red Sox in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s. He swag a bat 1000 times a day!
      • Practice like that.
      • Charles Swindoll has a full length mirror in his office and he practiced in front of it.
      • Actually be compelling
    • Do you know how many stories (or parables) Jesus told?
      • 58! Fifty-Eight!
  • Stories are powerful!
  • I love this quote by Eugene Peterson…
    • “Stories are verbal acts of hospitality.”
  1. Build a team of storytellers.
  • Teach them the Gospel [How to share the Gospel in 2 minutes]
    • Have them watch Todd Clark’s…How to share the gospel on a napkin
  • Remember that vision leaks, so teach them the vision over and over
    • Figure out how many 1 on 1’s you can emotionally process in a week and then set a goal. Meet for early breakfasts, coffees, lunches, walks in a park. Every conversation bring up the vision.
    • Ask the tough questions.
      • Are you praying for anyone to share the Gospel with?
    • Create a facebook private group and share vision stories
  • Show them how and when to share stories of your church
    • Our society is not very keen on Emotional Intelligence. Read everything Daniel Goleman has written on it!
    • Teach your people Self Awareness, and Relational Awareness
  • Resource them with your Church Swag
    • People love free stuff. We didn’t send mailers, we didn’t spend a lot of marketing dollars. But, we provided COOL SWAG.
      • Make T-Shirts
        • Cool T Shirts. Sweatshirts. Great designs, Quality Designs.
    • Lawn signs that don’t look Churchy
    • Invite Cards. Business card size.
      • Ours say…Not your mama’s Church, unless of course, your mom goes there.
    • Car Decals
    • Door Hangers
    • Facebook Page
      • Use this primarily for INSPIRATION not INFORMATION. Tell the story of your Church online.
      • Turn them into Online Evangelists
        • Teach them how to share online
        • Use hash tags
        • Use great photo’s
  1.  Really get to KNOW your community.
  • Be the expert
    • I grew up in the city of Detroit, I planted in a rural area. I had a lot to learn.
    • Stadia helped me with this as well. Provided reports for me. Information.
  • Do the research
    • Go to your cities websites.
  • Build a database of the who’s who
    • I created a google doc with everyone!
  • Drive around it, walk around it and pray for it
    • Prayer Walks are HUGE for me.
    • We didn’t launch with a ton of resources, so prayer was all we had!
  1. Meet with as many Community Leaders as you possibly can. 
  • Police, Fire, Mayor, City Manager
    • I remember meeting with the Police Chief and he said at the end of our conversation, I wish I wasn’t Catholic, this Church sounds awesome! I drag myself to Church!
  • Principals, Teachers, Superintendents, PTA’s
  • Pastors, Clergy, Chaplains
  • Nonprofits, Business Leaders, Chamber of Commerce

Are you looking for a Church Home? A few things I would look for…(part 1)

From time to time, I’m asked this question:

What would you look for if you were searching for a Church home?

So, here are some thoughts. Now, this list is for people who are genuinely searching for a new church home. Maybe you’ve moved, maybe God’s lead you to help start a Church, maybe your last Church was unhealthy and God finally gave you the ok to leave.

This list is not for the Church Shoppers and Hoppers. As a Pastor, I’ve seen and experienced the steady stream of those and my encouragement is to stay far away from that stream!

How do you know if you’re a Shopper or Hopper? How many Churches have you been a part in the last 5-7 years? If the answer is multiple fingers, you may have your answer.

And, Please…PLEASE never refer to your search for a church home as church shopping. The Church isn’t a great deal. It’s the Bride of Christ, so no shopping has to happen.

Here’s what I would look for…

Jesus. There are over 300,000 Churches in America. Believe it or not, not all of them point people to Jesus. In some churches, you can sit in a row for weeks and months and get involved and not even hear His name.

Jesus has to be all over the Church and the focus of the Church.

The Gospel. I would look for a Church that regularly gives people a chance to respond to the Gospel. That teaches people how to find the answers they’re looking for in Scripture.

Evidence of Life Change. Is anything happening? Are people being baptized? Are there people in groups. Are people serving? Is there life in the church? Are all the generations represented?

Music that’s not stuck in the 50′, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90′ or the early 2000’s. This one is a big one for me. I think sometimes churches get stuck in a time warp of when the church was going well and they stick with everything from that era. Churches need to change, the Gospel stays the same.

FOR their community, not just in their community.. In my opinion, many Churches are just the opposite. Churches have a tendency to become super insider focused. And, after time, they turn more and more inward. I would look for a Church that’s focused on reaching people who have given up on God or the church.

No churchy language. Would you need a translator to explain to you what’s happening to be a part of the Church? Sometimes, churches have their own christian sub-culture and again, that can be a real turn off to someone who won’t understand it.

 

Ok, that’s the first 7 things I would look for! Tomorrow I will post 7 more!

 

 

 

Sermon Notes. #ForCentralMichigan. Week One. We have to be a Church FOR the community, not just in the community.

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

    • Good morning Thrive church!! How are we doing today?
    • Today we start a new series where it’s basically one of those…less talking, more doing kind of series.

 

  • For a long time, it seems, the CHURCH as a whole has been known for what we’re against and not we’re FOR.FullSizeRender
  • Shouldn’t we change that?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if the CHURCH and THRIVE CHURCH was known as a place that cared so passionately about people that everyone heard about it because it was so different?

 

  • And, it’s so important, we believe, if you’re going to experience the full goodness is to SHOW UP, JUMP IN and DO GOOD!
  • See, so many Churches are like Cruise Ships. A Pastor I admire a ton in South Dakota just used this analogy.
  • Sometimes, if we’re apart long enough, we just expect a nice ride. We have a saved seat. We like things our way. We don’t ever think of what someone new would like or want. We come to expect a club environment.
  • The Pastors and staff are just event directors. Make me laugh. Get me the answers I need. Make me feel comfortable.
  • Thrive cannot and never will be a Cruise Ship Church. That’s one of the reasons Tracie and I started this Church. We looked around the area and we couldn’t find a church that we wanted to dive into with our family. We found lots of cruise ship churches in our opinions. Lots of denominational churches with their stuff. And, I’m not speaking bad about them, that’s one of our biggest rules, we don’t talk bad about other churches.
  • But, we have to be a COAST GUARD type of CHURCH! A church that never gets too comfortable and loves to change. Why? Because when we hate change and we get really comfortable, we start to care less about the sinking ships around. We care less about what we need to do reach others.
  • So, we have to be the coast guard!
  • That’s why we’re doing this series! That’s why we have a Shirt for you to buy that says we’re all about Central Michigan.
  • So, let’s jump in! How can we be about CENTRAL MICHIGAN?

Story: Mother Teresa Story

  • There was a little boy once who asked his mom if he could send a letter to Mother Teresa and his mom said yes. So, he wrote out a letter. The mom thought for sure she would never reply.
  • Well, the boy worked on the letter for a week! He was very proud of it.
  • He had his mom read it.
  • Dear Mother Teresa. I really like how you care for people. I really want to do that as well. Where do I start? Signed little boy.
  • Well, a few months went by and a letter did come in the mail. The little boy opened it up and Mother Teresa wrote out a reply

Slide # 2…’Find your own Calcutta’ ~Mother Teresa

  • Right?!? That’s it! So many people are like, there’s just nowhere for me to serve. For me to make a difference.
  • THERE IS EVERYWHERE FOR YOU TO SERVE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
  • So, for the next three weeks, we will dive into how we can SERVE our city and LOVE our city. Oh, and get ready for our next series! I haven’t been this excited about a series since, well, I don’t know. Oh, and just a heads up, we’re doing a series called ‘Better Together’ after that to help strengthen our marriages and relationships.
  • So, if you live in Mount Pleasant, great. Clare. Alma, wherever.
  • We now have people who are a part of Thrive over a 40 mile radius!
  • So, together we are going to SERVE and LOVE the Central Michigan area.
  • And, we have to remember that….

Slide # 3….We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

    • So many churches are just IN a community, doing their thing.
    • Now, we have a VISION and MISSION.

 

  • Our VISION is To create environments that people who are done with church and God will find irresistible.  
  • Our MISSION is to help people find and follow Jesus.

 

    • So, what we do on Sunday mornings is vital, because we share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus and give people a chance to invite Him into their lives! That’s why Sunday’s are so important. And, us who have done that, it’s important so we can serve and continue helping others.
    • But, its not all about what we do in here. It’s so much about what we do and how we live out there. Our hope is that you learn how to follow Jesus in these gatherings. That Jesus will inspire and encourage and lift you up!

 

  • So, we can go out there!

 

  • We’re basing this whole series on a great verse from the Old Testament in the book of Jeremiah.

Slide # 4…

And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” ~Jer. 29:7

  • We’re encouraged to LOVE and SERVE the place we live.

Story: Jason’s story of learning to love Central Michigan

  • Maybe this is to honest, but I really struggled with living in Central Michigan when we first moved here almost 7 years ago!
  • I grew up in Detroit. Lived in the suburbs and then in the suburbs of Chicago and then bam, Mt Pleasant.
  • I searched for the Mountain of Mt Pleasant the first 4 months we lived here. Where is it???
  • After a year, I tried to get us back to Chicago. 15 months in I had two job offers, one in FL and one in TX. I was packing!
  • But, God just kept saying, you’re supposed to be here.
  • I’ll never forget taking one of my kids to work on their homecoming float at a farm and the only time I saw a farm as a kid is when we went to Greenfield Village. Amazing, right!?! That’s it!
  • Then, God did something in my heart! I love this area now.
  • And, I’ve experienced serving at Churches like Willow Creek and what they offer just doesn’t exist around here and that’s why I’m so passionate about Thrive! Because I think we offer something new to this area.
  • We are FOR the community, not just IN it.
  • If we’re going to be FOR this community, we have to…

Slide # 5…Dump our PRIDE. Dump our pride. Get it out of the way.

  • Two types of Pride. The good and the bad.
  • The good takes pride in who we are. A Child of the risen Savior. A son or daughter of the most high king. A beloved creation.
  • The bad side though, well, it’s bad. We exclude others, we remind others how great we are, we talk about ourselves all the time, we never ask questions in conversations. We post everything about how awesome we are.
  • If you’re going to Love and SERVE your area, you have to dump your pride.

Slide # 6…

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Eph. 6:10-12 MSG

  • Often Christians think that it is us vs the evil people out there. But Paul makes it clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood people, but against spiritual evil powers.
  • In our walk with Jesus, we are going to battle against some very powerful evil forces that don’t us to work together or be for others.
  • That’s why Satan loves when we’re Prideful. Because It’s all about us!
  • So, that’s why we have to rely on God and not ourselves.
  • I love this quote by CS Lewis.

Slide # 7…“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” -C. S. Lewis

  • You cannot love someone you are at war with.
  • Jesus says to love even our enemy
  • Humility is the crowning virtue of each Christian (Phil 2 mind of Christ)

Big Idea: We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

Slide # 8…Wear some GLOVES

Slide # 9…

Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life. John 13:12-17 MSG

  • You didn’t become an elite human with privilege when you said yes to Jesus, you became the servant of all, just like our Master
  • My dad taught me a valuable lesson when I was 15 years old. We were building a deck, a big giant one for this massive house and we were talking about work.
  • He said, you’re number one job as an employee is to make your boss’s job easier. That’s it. Don’t’ make extra work for them. Take things off their plate. Be reliable. Show up on time. Have a great attitude.
  • Wow, that has stuck with me. If we’re going to serve, we don’t walk in all high and mighty.
  • We have some incredible servant leaders at our church. One of our elders, all of them do, but one of them models this amazingly well. During the work week, on the org. Chart, he probably oversees 300 employees. He’s a big deal!
  • But, at Thrive, he’s a servant. Help set up, sure. Pray for you? Sure.
  • That’s the kind of attitude we need if we’re going to serve our City.
  • We often times replace humility with self righteousness (moral superiority, doctrinal correctness, which leads to an attitude of entitlement and privilege)
  • Jesus came not be be served but to serve. He is our model, pouring out his whole life for the benefit of others.

Slide # 10…

“Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.” ― Eugene H. Peterson

Big Idea: We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

Slide # 11…Work for your CITY

  • We are a church FOR the community and not just IN the community. Loving our community helps them see the face of God

Slide # 12…

Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jer. 29:7 NLT

  • A church FOR the community asks,
    • “what are the needs we are gifted to meet?”
    • “Where are the hurting and forgotten cast aside to?”
    • “Who has not heard the Message, and how can we bring it to them?”
  • A Church IN the community asks,
    • “What’s in it for me?”
    • “Do I have to reach out to THAT group?”
    • “Why are people NOT coming to hear our message?”

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold.  When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone.  But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself. That is what our life in community is about.  Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world.  Nobody can say:  “I make God visible.”  But others who see us together can say:  “They make God visible.”   Community is where humility and glory touch.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Big Idea: We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

So, here’s your action step, go and sign up to be a part of serving our City next week.

We are serving at Morey School, West, Fancher, Vowels and Ganiard. The Foster Closet. Downtown, parks, the cemetery, the airport and a few homes of shut ins.

Buy a shirt and wear it with pride!!

 

LOOK AGAIN. Easter at Thrive Sermon Notes

Message Notes |    |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

  • Good morning Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning? It’s EASTER SUNDAY!!!!! It’s the most momentous weekend in the history of the world! Bigger than any awards show, super bowl weekend, the world series, anything! Today we celebrate Jesus!
  • My name is Jason Raitz and I’m one of the Pastors here at Thrive Church!
  • I am so glad you joined us this morning! Make sure before you leave, if this is your very first time at Thrive, to head to the VIP room right after this experience and pick up your gift!!
  • And for everyone, please take some time to fill out the Connect Card.
  • Also, before we jump in, I so hope you will join us for our next series. It’s called…

Slide # 1a…#ForCentralMichigan graphic

  • We’re talking about how we can Serve and Love where we live!
  • And, on April 30th. We are leaving the building together and we are serving all around Central Michigan! We will meet at Celebration Cinema at 930am. Next Sunday you will be able to buy #ForCentralMichigan T-Shirts for $10 or 2 for $15. We would love for everyone to wear one. If you want to buy a few for us to give away, you can do that as well so everyone can have one.
  • But, we are serving at Schools, we are serving the city of Mt Pleasant, a few shut ins, Hopewell Ranch, and the foster Closet.
  • Let’s SHOW UP big time. There will be a registration link on our website.
  • And one more thing to CELEBRATE!!! 6 weeks ago, we started the SAVE A SEAT campaign! We asked you to give over and above from your tithes to help make Thrive happen every Sunday.
  • God moved! People from all over gave and I’m so thrilled to tell you that as of today, out of 1250 possible seats to be sponsored, 1253 have been sponsored! WE hit our goal!!!
  • When Matt texted me the other with our final number, I had to LOOK AGAIN!!!
  • And, that’s what we titled today at THRIVE. LOOK AGAIN.

LOOK AGAIN17880155_1299373263491318_8132221945181295977_o

  • Have you ever needed to LOOK AGAIN? I feel like this is a constant phrase in my house. My kids can’t find something and they me or Tracie and we say, LOOK AGAIN.
  • Then, I can’t find something, and Tracie says, LOOK AGAIN. I swear there are some days she’s like a MOTHER NINJA or a NINJA MOTHER and she doesn’t even have to get up. The kids are I are talking to each other about where something could be and without lifting her head, she says…’Oh, that’s in the closet under the basket, but inside a box’. Don’t be afraid to move stuff! Anyone relate?
  • Have you walked through a crowded area and thought you saw a celebrity and had to LOOK AGAIN? I have! Many times!

STORY: Scottie Pippen in the Airport

  • You kids out there. Your parents ever get a little touchy feely in front of you and you made the unfortunate decision to LOOK AGAIN to verify that YES, they where doing what you thought and now you’re doubly grossed out?
  • Mom and Dads out there, you ever see something your kids did and had to LOOK AGAIN to make sure what you saw the first time was correct?
  • Here’s a picture of 2 of my boys. This picture made me look again.

Slide # 2…Picture of Bob and Zach in Tuxes

  • I mean, come on, look at those handsome guys! Ladies look out!
  • Then, there have been other times where I’m like, I better LOOK AGAIN.
  • Like this time with Bobby…

Slide # 3…Picture of Bob in Hot Dog Costume

  • Yup, he wore this to the One Youth costume party and then he wore it home and then he wore it to bed. About a week later, I came downstairs and there was a giant hot dog playing the XBOX!
  • Then, when my son Zach went to the Big Stuf summer camp last summer, which we’re going again in July and can’t wait, [OH…Golfers out there. This week you can sign up. We need 50 of you to play in the first ever One Youth Golf Outing on May 13th. We’re still also looking for sponsors. Why? We’re raising money to get our kids to experience the BEST summer camp in the world!
  • But, from last years trip, I kept seeing a photo emerge on instagram of Zach and well, here it is…

Slide # 4…Picture of Zach in Whoopee Cushion

  • Yup, he loved this Whoopee Cushion! He would wear it everywhere around Big Stuf and people would just LOOK AGAIN.
  • Eventually, it wore him out and he lost the Whoopee!!

Slide # 5…Picture Zach sitting down in Whoopee Cushion

  • So, just last week, I had one more LOOK AGAIN moment with one of my boys. Kai and I were on a walk and he wouldn’t come and I turned around and this is what I saw.

Slide # 6…Kai looking up at the sky, looking like an eskimo

  • It took me a second, because I was rushing. I wanted to get done with the walk. I turned around and I was wondering what he was looking at and then I realized, he was just enjoying looking at the sky.
  • You see, this little boy spent the first 3 years of his life in an orphanage and spent the majority of his time in 2 rooms and everything is new to him.
  • I love watching him because he LOOKS AGAIN a lot!
  • What I love about all 3 of these pictures and moments with my boys is that they were all out enjoying LIFE!
  • Sometimes you and I need to LOOK AGAIN. Life has become stale or stagnant or the same ole story and it’s time to LOOK AGAIN. We become negative. We fall away from life giving relationships. We fall into dark filling relationships. We start to LOOK for things that are the opposite of Jesus to fill us.
  • I love this quote by Dr. David Jeremiah…

Slide # 7…‘It’s time to begin righting the story of your life.’ ~David Jeremiah

  • Not writing, as in with a pen and paper, but right-ing. Like, its time to get off our tails and begin living the life God intended us to live.
  • I love how the book of John describes Jesus, because without him, we cannot do any righting of our lives.

Slide # 8…John 1:4-5

‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

  • Jesus Christ is the creator of life and his life brings light to mankind.
  • In his light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior).
  • He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our lives.
  • Here’s what we need to understand about Jesus.
  • What Jesus taught and what he did are tied inseparably to who he is. John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God.
  • Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed.
  • This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to him.
  • The disciples themselves had to LOOK AGAIN when they were told that the tomb was empty. fac
  • So, when it comes to experiencing LIFE, are you ready to LOOK AGAIN or are you just going to settle?

Slide # 9…What are you looking for?

  • Are you looking for success? Are you looking for comfort? Are you looking for happiness? Those things lead to an existence.
  • Are these the things that you’re trying to LOOK AGAIN to find?
  • Are these the things that you think will bring you LIFE.
  • Do you know what LIFE really is?

Slide # 10…Life is what you are looking for, not just existence

    • How many of us are just existing and not really living.
    • So, what is LIFE?

 

  • Life is existence drenched in meaning. Thank you Dr. Tom for that!
  • Can you imagine if we lived that way?

 

  • But, too often we settle for existence. Here’s the thing about existence

Slide # 11…Existence looks for SUCCESS

Story: Jason and his love for BMW’s

  • So, once upon a time, I was in love with the idea of owning a BMW someday. True Story. If you know me, you’re kind of laughing, because I’ve always owned crazy clunkers. I owned a car once that you didn’t even need a key to start.
  • Except now. About 6 months ago, we were blessed with a car and it’s the nicest car we’ve ever owned.
  • But, for 4 years I lived in the Northwest suburbs outside of Chicago and BMW’s are everywhere. So, we have trackers, Amish and pick up trucks. Over there, they have BMW’s everywhere!
  • Well, in 2009, I was burned out. I had been serving Churches since 1995.
  • I started to work out at this gym and every car was a BMW. I started an MBA and one of my partners was like, Jason, with your work ethic and people skills, you could crush it at my company.
  • I started to dream for that kind of success! I would dream of driving around in a BMW. Wearing cool sunglasses. Listening to Hootie and the Blowfish in style.
  • Sometimes, we attempt to supplement existence with success. We want the validation that comes with achievement, or the security that comes with money.  
  • At the same time, I lead a small group of Jr high boys. I’ll never forget a night when we were going over questions and one of them was…if you could have anything, whnt would you want?
  • This guy pipes up and I really respected his dad. I wanted to be his dad. His dad drove a BMW. Ooohhh.
  • He said, honestly, I just want to play catch with my dad. He’s too busy. This kid had everything.
  • Gosh, that day just rocked me.
  • Here’s what I realized.

ILLUSTRATION: Dropper of water onto sponge.

  • We think Success will refresh us. We think it will bring us life. But, it just leaves us dry. It really doesn’t do all that much!
  • We think that if we were recognized with a promotion, if we had more likes on a Facebook post, if we had enough money for better things.Then, we would really experience LIFE.
  • I know some people who do whatever it takes to succeed.
  • I love what John Ortberg said about this…

Slide # 12…’Winning alone is called losing’ ~John Ortberg

  • The truth about success is found in the book of Ephesians 1:6

Slide # 13…Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. ~Eph. 1:6 (msg)

  • God graciously accepts us, though we don’t deserve it.
  • When you and I trust in Jesus as our Savior, so much happens in our lives!
  • We have been chosen for salvation, we were adopted, we were forgiven, we have the insight and wisdom of the God of the universe available to us, we have spiritual gifts, we have power to do God’s will and we have the hope of living forever!
  • Life is so much more than SUCCESS!

Slide # 14…Existence looks for COMFORT

  • Next we may try to supplement our existence with comfort.
  • We want relief from pain, boredom, loneliness, and exhaustion that overwhelms us day to day.
  • We medicate ourselves with alcohol, or substances, or food.
  • We live for the weekend.
  • We stay up late at night watching Netlix.
  • We live in our parents basement and play videogames until we’re 32.
  • We loosen our standards on dating so we don’t have to be alone any longer.
  • That’s not living. That’s existence.

Illustration: Dropper of water onto sponge

  • But again we are dry.
  • Work is monotonous, your spouse becomes a stranger, suffering enters life, your schedule and pace of life is overwhelming.
  • Comfort becomes your god. You do anything to just cope and be comfortable.

Story: Jason Coping

  • A few years ago, a guy came to Thrive and Jesus started to change his life. He was baptized. He served. He loved his Church.
  • Then, after a series of unfortunate events, he felt it was wrong of me to go on facebook and ask people to give our adoption fund. So, he went on his facebook page and kind of bashed me and the church.
  • This sort of thing happens when you lead. When you have a big vision, not everyone is going to understand.
  • So, as his post sat on the interwebs, people started to comment and some mean stuff was said. It hurt. I started getting texts and messages from people saying they didn’t agree. One Thriver tried to reason with him in the thread but he deleted them.
  • Man, I was hurt. Now, as a leader, this stuff happens. Some of the Pastors I admire most have been ripped into like crazy.
  • But, it was early on in our Church’s history and in my own leadership, I wasn’t quite ready to deal with that short of thing. Boy, God has worked in me now.
  • So, I started to cope. I started to seek comfort and for me it was food. It was binge watching TV shows and I tried to drown that stuff out.
  • The truth is, comfort won’t bring us life. It won’t bring us life drenched with meaning.
  • Jesus told us how to experience that kind of life in Matthew 11

Slide # 15…“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” -Matthew 11:28-30 (msg)

  • Jesus frees people from a life of comfort. Jesus promises love and healing and peace with God.
  • Comfort is not living. That’s existence.

And, lastly…

Slide # 16…Existence looks for HAPPINESS

  • Finally we try to supplement our existence with happiness.
  • We want the contentment, satisfaction, or exhilaration that comes through favorable circumstances.

Illustration: Dropper of water on sponge.

Yup, its still not enough.

  • But our life sucks up everything we give it without any relief.
  • We chase after relationships and flings, we dabble is substances that promise to alter our experience, or perhaps we are chasing after a fleeting contentment just out of our grasp.
  • The truth is found in Romans 15:13…

Slide # 17…May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (niv)

 

  • We don’t have to run to success, or comfort or happiness, we just need to go God!
  • We have to LOOK AGAIN for Him!
  • I love this quote by CS LEWIS

Slide # 18…“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ― C.S. Lewis

  • Here’s the truth so many people are searching for…

Slide # 19..Jesus offers a life drenched in meaning.

  • What we are really looking for is existence drenched in meaning. This is the Life that Jesus offers.
  • Here is how Jesus said in in John 10:10…

Slide # 20…A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. ~John 10:10 (msg)

  • When you make the decision to follow Christ, give him your life and trust in Him as your Savior. Confidence of belonging to God’s family, peace of knowing God provides, and the purpose of a God directed life.

Illustration: Existence is boring. Take the sponge and dunk it and hold it up!

 

  • Its up to you, you don’t have to settle for a mediocre life. A life that’s just about happiness and comfort

Slide # 21…Life is what you are looking for, not just existence

Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week Five. Live like an Original Masterpiece!

Message Notes    |     |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

    • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing on this beautiful Sunday?
    • If this is your first time with us at Thrive, thank you so much for being here this Sunday! Our 2nd Sunday at CMU!! Please make sure you either grab a VIP card from your Section Leader (Section Leaders please stand) or just head to the VIP room just after the experience. It’s just left when you walk out of either door and we would love to give you a free gift.
    • OK, before we head into the message and the final week of ‘How to wreck your life’, I have something to share with you.
    • As you know, this is a Church that exists for people who have given up on God and Church. That’s why we work hard to NOT be all that CHURCHY! We try to talk like REAL people. We dress comfortably. You have no idea how people stay away from church because they have nothing nice to wear. We like loud music. We like to laugh.
    • We also incorporate stuff from our culture in our experiences. Many churches and christians try to shield themselves from everything and that’s just not us. We care deeply about people finding and following Jesus, not a list of rules and stuff that doesn’t matter.

 

  • And, we CARE DEEPLY as a Church for Kids and Students. We want them to get our best. Not our scraps. This is where so many Churches screw up. If you walk around the kids areas, they are not great. Many churches don’t want kids running around.

 

    • Again, not us. Our kids and students are not second rate Thrivers. They’re not Thrivers of the future. They are thrivers of today.
    • Honestly, that’s the primary reason why we moved to CMU and did the SAVE A SEAT campaign. To create the BEST environment for kids we possibly could.
    • My own 9 year old was so skeptical about the move. She was in tears one night about missing the old place. I just kept saying, just wait. Well, after last Sunday she doesn’t even remember we met in a theater! Hah
    • But, one of our DNA statements to create ‘IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS’. That’s why our banners look amazing. And the store is amazing. And why there’s music playing when you walk in. that’s what there are section leaders and a vip room and the store.
    • Last week I was talking with Jacob, Thrive’s College Director and the director of Chi Alpha and I said, hey, you’re a great deal guy, find us a used inflatable for our kids. I mean, we have a ton of room now!
    • On Saturday I get a call. He’s found a package of 9 inflatables. Way too much money but they were so awesome! I started to pray. We started to put our heads together.
    • Sunday morning he stopped me at the door, what are going to do. Then, he showed me the photo’s of all them! I was like…OH MY GOODNESS.
    • So, I started to have some conversations and one thing lead to another and…

 

  • Thrive Church Now Owns 9 Giant Inflatable Games!!!

 

Pictures of Inflatables

    • Check these out: A bounce House, a Giant Slide, a Jacob’s ladder, a 25 foot tall climbing mountain, a velcro wall, a bungee run, a slam and jam, a 32 foot long dual lane slip and slide, and a Zorb Balls track
    • It’s pretty unbelievable!
    • We won’t have these all set up every Sunday, it takes an army to move them! But, we will, when we have a new team of inflatable help, we will set up a few for kids each week! So, EASTER is going to rock!
    • And, just think of the possibilities to use these for the Kingdom.
    • We want to approach schools and offer them for Back to School Nights….for free.
    • We’re dreaming of renting Finch out for Halloween Night and doing a Giant Halloween party for the community. Kids from 6-8, with all all 9 inflatables and pick up trucks for tailgate party, then college kids from 8-10!
    • Dad FEST this year is GOING TO ROCK! We’ll have all 9 set up! Baptism and BBQ will have all 9 set up!
    • We approached Community Church awhile ago and asked if they would allow us to store our trailers in their lot and they said yes from April to October. So, as a thank you, we’re going to offer some inflatables for their big VBS.
    • And, then, I’m having our financial team and our staff look into renting them out. And, anything we make would be split between Chi Alpha, Thrive’s College Ministry and then either Thrive Kidz or One Youth trips, or the Shoe Project or the Church we want to plant in Ecuador!
    • And again, these are going to be used to ATTRACT people to Thrive Church, to you and I and ultimately to JESUS!!!!!

 

  • ISN’T God incredible!!!

 

  • I thought we could pray and thank God and let’s thank Him for the Save a Seat Campaign.
  • As of right now, $46019 has been given to help make this move. That means, all we have left is $3981. What I love about this campaign, is that it’s rooted in our future!
  • Here’s the thing, CMU is not our forever home. Someday, Thrive will have a 24/7 building, that will be open 7 days a week. It will be a community center. It will have a giant play area for young kids, it will have spaces for tutoring, it will have a care center to help people who are struggling. And, oh yeah, it will be our Church.
  • But, this move right now, will help us grow to be the size of a church that can begin saving and preparing for that.
  • For now, we’re here at CMU and it’s AWESOME!
  • If you want to help us reach our goal, and invest in our future, please give. We’re going to close this campaign up soon and we would like to hit our goal!!

PRAYER of THANKS!!

  • This series has been great! If you want to wreck your life, be afraid of Failure. Be afraid to take the steps that God is calling you to take. Don’t forgive. Live with the bitterness and anger that unforgiveness causes. Settle for less. Keep living on a percentage of the amazing life that Jesus has promised you and then last week, we talked about making it all about you.
  • If you’re social media is filled with constant images of yourself, you’re on your way to making it all about you.
  • And today we finish with a look at Comparison.
  • If you really want to Wreck Your Life, constantly compare your life to others. Because, what will happen, is that Envy and Jealousy will start to take over. They are Comparison’s best friends!
  • I love what Teddy Roosevelt said about Comparison…

Slide # 2…‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ ~Theodore Roosevelt

  • How do you know if Comparison is taking over?
  • Well, do you keep track of all the new stuff your friends get? Do you notice if they wear new clothes? Do you add up how much all that stuff costs?
  • Do you constantly look at your car, or your house, or your life and get upset they’re all not as nice as your friends.
  • Nothing is never good enough for you. A few of us, we’ve already compared the movie theater seats with these seats. Now, these aren’t as awesome! But, a little sacrifice on our behinds is a huge benefit for our entire church.
  • Do you wake up with facebook, eat lunch with facebook and go to bed with facebook? If you do, the Comparison monster is going to get you!
  • I love facebook! I think it’s a great tool for the Kingdom!
  • But, U of M did a study a few years about a very real disease called…’Fear I’m Missing Out’. It’s true and it’s real.
  • Now, all Comparing isn’t bad. It’s how we learn as a kid.
  • But, when our ego gets involved, and if our ego wants to be puffed up and we want to feel better about ourselves than someone else, this is where Comparision gets bad!
  • We compare our cars, our stuff, our toys, our bodies, our TV’s and the list goes on and on.
  • A little mass confession, anybody ever struggle with Comparison?
  • This actually goes way, way back and runs all the way through the Bible, it’s the second sin in the Bible. We’re going to look comparing myself to other people is such a miserable, toxic, anti-kingdom way to live.
  • We see this in the Bible in Gen. 4 with Cain and Abel. They each brought an offering to God and God looked with favor on Abel’s offering and not Cain’s.
  • God loves it when we make giving and generosity a priority. So he teaches his people to not give the leftovers, but the first fruit of the harvest or the firstborn of the flock. Abel makes generosity a priority. Abel does that. Cain doesn’t.
  • He just brings some. The implication is he’s doing it out of obligation or with a grudging heart or because he thinks he has to. Abel experiences what generosity does in a heart. He trusts God and he loves God and he’s living in the reality of God’s favor and dependence on God, and God loves that.
  • God loves generosity. God is a generous God. Cain shuts himself off from that. Cain sees this joy in Abel, and it grates on him. It’s so interesting. Cain gets angry not at himself. He didn’t say, “Come on, Cain! You could do better.” Not even at God. He gets mad at his brother Abel. He thinks, “If Abel wasn’t around, I wouldn’t be feeling this pain.”
  • There’s comparison at the very beginning of the Bible. It’s so interesting. Cain ends up killing his brother. Comparison and Envy were a part of the first murder in the Bible!
  • So, how do you fight the Comparison Monster and his friends, Envy or Jealousy in your life? How do we stop them from taking over?
  • Here’s how…

Slide # 3…Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

  • We Compare ourselves to others because some time, sometimes we just can’t believe that we’re an Original Masterpiece.
  • We just doubt the amazing, incredible, never ending love that God has for his children!
  • I love how Peter words what we mean to God in 1 Peter 2:9-10

Slide # 4…1 Peter 2:9-10

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. ~1 Peter 2:9-10

  • We have WORTH because of what God does, not for what we do! Our value doesn’t come from our success and what we can achieve. It comes from Jesus.
  • Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece
  • To be an Original Master Piece means that…

Slide # 4…You are part of a CHOSEN people

  • 1 Peter says…But you are the ones chosen by God
  • You may have been left off a team or not picked for dodgeball, or passed over for a job promotion, but the God of the Universe Choose You!
  • I tell my kids all the time, if all the Madie’s were lined up and I had to pick one to be my daughter, I would pick you EVERY SINGLE TIME!
  • You are CHOSEN!

Slide # 5…Psalm 139:13-16 (the message)

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

   you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

   Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

   I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,

   you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

   how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

   all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared

   before I’d even lived one day.

You are CHOSEN!

Big Idea: Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

Slide # 6…You are Part of a Royal Priesthood

Slide # 7…’chosen for the high calling of priestly work’

  • Why do we waste so much time not doing God’s worl?
  • God has given each of us gifts to be used for His Kingdom. And, here’s the thing, you don’t need an MBA to use these gifts!
  • You can start today!
  • You can help tear down Thrive Kidz. You can greet people when they come in. You can get here at 7am and help. You can pray with people. You can host a small group. You can sit with kids and model worship. You can serve at your kids school.
  • There is this old thought out there, that only Priests or Pastors can do the God stuff. Like pray for people.
  • That’s just not the case. At Thrive, if you are in a small group and get sick, that group should be praying for you. Helping your family with meals.
  • Here’s another encouragement…

Slide # 8…2 Cor. 5:19-20 (the message)

God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

  • You don’t have to have all the answers, just be Jesus. LOVE. Be KIND.
  • Defeat the monster of Comparison by

Living like you’re an Original Masterpiece

You are CHOSEN!

You are Part of a Royal Priesthood

Slide # 9…You are Part of a Holy Nation

Slide # 10…’to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted’

  • When you became a follower of Jesus, an incredible change took place in your life. God has called you out of the darkness and into His light.
  • We can now call God our FATHER and we are now a part of the Body of Christ.
  • And, the CHURCH, is our community!
  • That’s why BAPTISM is so important. On Sunday, April 23rd, we’re going to do BAPTISMS right here! Baptism is a way for you to go public with your faith.
  • Here’s what a Thriver, Colette, said about her baptism at Thrive…

I was baptized Catholic and then later confirmed at the age of 12.  I didn’t really come to know Jesus until I was an adult.  And for a long time I didn’t really feel a need to get re-baptized.  Until I did.  And then this amazing church full of amazing people arrived in my life and I really started to wonder if maybe I needed to make that choice for myself as an adult.

I was one of the “original” baptizees (is that a thing? :)) at Lake Isabella. For me, the biggest thing I was saying to Jesus (and everyone else) was “I’m ready.” I had held onto the “new Christian” identity for a lot longer than was probably necessary.  And so my baptism was me finally being ready to take responsibility for my faith, to say, “this is what I believe, and I’m ready for you to know that and I am ready to act it out.”

I’m by no means perfect (thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be allowed at Thrive! haha!!) but I clung to that “new,” identity in order to keep myself from really stepping out into full leadership.  

My baptism was awesome, for the reasons above.  But also because one of my best friends was the one asking me if I was ready to declare myself a believer.  And I was.  

  • We’re encouraged in scripture that after we confess of our sins and repent, we should be baptized.
  • Going under represents how Jesus died and was buried and coming out of the water represents how Jesus rose again from the dead.
  • It represents how our old life is gone and we now have a new life.
  • If you have never been baptized on your own. People ask me all the time, I was baptized as a baby, do I need to get re-baptized.
  • I really don’t see it as a re baptism. The tradition of infant baptism, seems to me, is for the parents and the tradition.
  • Being immersed is for each Jesus follower on their own to DECLARE that you are a child of God.
  • So, you don’t have to be perfect or in the exact spot you want to be in, you need to have Confessed your sins, asked for forgiveness and given your life to Jesus.
  • And, we will celebrate with you on April 23rd! You will get a MADE NEW T Shirt and this place will erupt with celebration as you come out of the water!
  • You can sign up on our website under baptism or head to the info table and they can get you signed up!

Big Idea: Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

You are CHOSEN!

You are Part of a Royal Priesthood

You are Part of a Holy Nation

AND FINALLY

Slide # 11…You are a People Belonging to God

  • You are not a possession, but a priceless treasure to God!
  • That means He is willing to pay any price for you. He has a passion to care for you. He places GREAT value in you. He Honors you and gives you a special place.
  • So, let’s stop with the Comparison GAME!

STORY: Jason Struggles Comparing

  • I struggle hard with comparing!
  • As a Pastor, I struggle. I see seemingly super pastors on facebook who look amazing and preach like rock stars and I compare.
  • I read stories from other churches and I compare. Church Plants that are our age and stage.
  • Like, my buddy Brandon. His Church, Rise City in San Diego, launched the same weekend. Last year, they had a local church give them their 4 million dollar building. They raised $132,000 on Christmas Eve to just give away. They’ve already sent out two church plants.
  • I FOUGHT THE COMPARISON AND ENVY MONSTER BIG TIME!
  • Then, I was leading a webinar of church planters and I was sharing the story of Thrive and they all were like, HOLY COW!
  • I remembered, we’re Thrive Church! God is doing a HUGE work here in this area and I can’t compare what God is doing in a much different area.
  • I now, as soon as the comparison thoughts creep in, I try to just Celebrate as quick as I can!

Slide # 12…Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

  • Let me leave you with one last scripture…

Slide # 13…

Galatians 1:10…Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (niv)

Next Sunday is EASTER.

Please PRAY. I really believe this room could be packed next week! And, not because its cool to have a lot of people, which it is and there is so much momentum.

But, imagine hearing all those voices sing!

You just can’t tell me that someday this room won’t be absolutely filled!

Imagine hearing 1250 sing songs to Jesus in this room!

Imagine a church of 1250 people spreading out all over Central Michigan as a movement!
Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

Today I Get to make one of the BIGGEST announcements I have ever made at Thrive Church and I’m SOOOOOO EXCITED!!

I don’t think I’m exaggerating.

Today, I get to make a freaking huge announcement!

I mean, it will have giant implications for Thrive Church. Especially for our Kids and Teenagers!

And, I believe its going to help make a GIANT IMPACT in the Central MI area and beyond.

Oh man!

I am so thankful and honored that God allows me this GREAT privilege to Lead Thrive Church!

HERE WE GO!!!!!!