‘Waiting is an act of Faith’. Message notes from week two of our Buffering series at Thrive Church.

Message Notes:IMG_8978

Slide # 1. Series Theme Slide

  • Good Morning Thrive Church! My name is Jason Raitz and I’m the Pastor of Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning!
  • Did you know that there are 3 other Churches in a network with us? Thrive TX in Houston and Thrive CA in northern CA. All the pastors have been friends for a long time. So, let’s be praying for Thrive TX!!
  • Did you know that Thrive is almost 4 years old? On October 6th, 2013 we gathered for our first official Thrive Sunday! And, October 8th we are going to Party! Why? Because, we are going to celebrate God’s faithfulness over the last 4 years!
  • So, just know this, you are expected and invited to be here on Sunday, October 8th.
  • Say it with me, Sunday, October 8th!
  • We have been planning, praying and preparing.
  • Here’s the crazy thing, and I know this is only going to interest a few of you. But, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
  • So, the BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!

Series: Buffering

  • Last week, Dr. Tom kicked off this series as we learn how to endure God’s silence.
  • Silence is awful sometimes.
  • Like when you text someone and you can see that their writing back, but every time you look, that little thing keep spinning and you’re like, come on!!
  • Silence is tough sometimes on our faith, we don’t always get the clarity we want, and we need to understand how to make the journey in the dark and confusing times.
  • And we WAIT!!!!!
  • And waiting isn’t fun, is it?
  • So, today, we dive into WAITING.
  • We begin to ask tons of questions, just like Habakkuk did in chapter 1!!
  • Will the person forgive me? Will they talk to me again? Is my girlfriend pregnant? Does my dad have cancer? Will my mom be ok? Am I going to get fired? Are we going to be able to pay our bills? Why God, why did that happen?
  • Why can’t ‘THIS IS US’ start back now???
  • Who else hates to wait? We live in a day and age where people hate to wait! We want everything right now!

STORY: Chick Fil A in MD

  • This summer, I was in line in a Chick Fil A in MD with Madison and the lady in front of us was not happy about the wait. How do I know? She was on the phone and she kept telling the person on the phone…
  • If I have to wait any longer for this food, I’ll just go kill a chicken on my own.

And, imagine our what our kids are learning about waiting. They have every bit of information available to them in an instant.

  • They just have to speak into their phone. They don’t have to research. They don’t have to wait till next week’s episode. They are the binge watching generation!
  • But, waiting on God is a theme throughout scripture!
  • Waiting on God to move on our behalf gives us the space to work out our souls. It’s like a gym. Waiting is a gym for our souls.
  • God’s not all that concerned that you get your answer like google gives you an answer.
  • He’s ok with you waiting on Him. And, turning to Him.
  • Last week, Dr. Tom looked at chapter one of Habakkuk and today we look at chapter two.
  • God points out all the junk that needs work: pride, extortion, dishonesty, violence, murder, dishonesty, ect… and asks for silence.
  • Silence of our soul: when we stop our complaints, demands, and questions, it gives God the space to work and speak within us. We stop from asking God to act according to our insufficient perspectives, onto God’s grounds in humility.

Slide # 2…Big Idea: Waiting is an act of faith

  • I hope you walk out of here remembering just that. Waiting is an act of Faith.
    • What’s faith? It’s complete trust or confidence in God. What we believe about God and how we live out that belief. One of my favorite definitions of faith is…
  • Faith is the quality that gives us mastery over life’s difficulties.
  • So, when God is silent in your life, are you ok with waiting on Him?
  • Are you ok with being silent and just listening.
  • Sometimes we’re not, right! We want an answer now! We want God to move now. We want God to speak now. We want our problem or our need taken care of right now!
  • I love this quote by Craig Groeschel.

Slide # 3…Your greatest need becomes a blessing when it drives you to depend on God’ ~Craig Groeschel

WHAT!?!? How in the world can it be a blessing?

  • We’re looking in the book of the OT called Habakkuk.
  • This book’s purpose is to show that God is still in control of the world despite the apparent triumph of evil. It was written a long time ago. Between 612 and 589 BC.
  • This book tries to get answers to the complex questions and discussions in life.
  • Habakkuk was a man who sought answers. He was troubled by what he saw and he asked difficult questions. He saw a dying world and it broke his heart.
  • He boldly and confidently took his questions and complaints directly to God.
  • In chapter two, verse 4 it says this…

Slide # 4…

“See, the enemy is puffed up;

   his desires are not upright—

   but the righteous person will live by his faith ~Habakkuk 2:4 (niv)

    • Guess what, WAITING on God is an act of FAITH.
    • The righteous person will live by his faith!
    • In chapter one, Habakkuk gives it God. Brings all his questions and complaints and what does God say in chapter two?
    • Be patient. I’m God, I have this. I will work out my plans in my perfect timing.
  • To trust God fully means to trust him even when we don’t understand why bad stuff happens or we don’t get the answer we need when we need it.
  • Psalm 37:7 says…

Slide # 5…‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.’ Psalm 37:7 (niv)

Waiting is an act of FAITH. But, guess what? Waiting is not just sitting around with lilies in our hair.

Slide # 6…Waiting drives us to Action

  • We don’t have to sit on our hands. Waiting is like a gym for our soul. It can drive us to our knees.
  • In another book in the Old Testament, we see a GREAT example of this. And, before I even say another word, there’s a Pastor by the name of Steven Furtick and he preached a message that hit me hard years ago and some of these ideas are from that message! He also put them in a book called ‘Greater’, check that out.
  • But, in the book of 2 Kings chapter 3, there is a story that just teaches this idea so well.
  • A little background info…
  • There are 3 Kings that have set up to fight an opposing army. These kings are under the impression that they’ve been on God’s good side, but the reality is, they have ignored him in the good times. These three kings consist of two kings of the divided nation of Israel and an ally king. They set up to fight and then realize they have a major problem.

Slide # 7…2 Kings 3:9-12 (niv)

So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days (represents completion and perfection), the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

    • The problem! No water and it’s not raining and when you run out of rain, you look to God really quick. In these days, you can’t just walk over to the hose and get water.
    • These Kings were ruling without looking to God. They think they’re ready to fight, but they run out of rain. And when you have men and animals and they’re dehydrated and thirsty, you have a problem.
    • They find out that…
    • Trouble can be a good thing because it will make you look back to the source that you may have forgotten.
  • Sometimes going through a hard time can be the best thing to ever happen to you.
  • If you never went through anything, some of us may never even pray.
  • Wow!!!! Ok, back to the story.

“What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”

    • WHAT he says. Kind of in the Mom and Dad voice. You know the one. WHAT! He’s blaming God in bad times, even though he didn’t even thank God in the good times.
  • I wonder if there is a lesson in there for us? God gets so much of the blame when bad things happen, and so little credit in the good times.

But Jehoshaphat (pretty good king)  asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of [Snapchat] Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.

  • Ok, this is kind of a put down, he’s calling him Elisha a water boy.
  • And, not like Bobby Boucher! Elisha was the replacement for Elijah. He’s a big deal!
  • Elijah was amazing! He called fire down out of heaven, actually spoke the words for the water supply of heaven to start again after a 3.5 year drought that he called for. He has serious power in his words.
  • Elisha is the new guy and he is about to preach his first sermon to the kings and he just had his first miracle. The Kings have a need that only God can meet and they want a miracle.
  • Isn’t that how we approach God sometimes?
  • I wonder what need you need God to meet? I wonder what the thing is that your smile doesn’t say.
  • You can do all you can do, but only God can make it rain. Some of you are on your 7th lap. Some of you are faking life and you need God to give a new sense of life.
  • But, we don’t want to wait! The Kings didn’t want to wait! They wanted an answer now.

Slide # 8…Waiting is synonymous with attention. Attention is synonymous with prayer. -Simone Weil

  • They call Elisha in and he preaches his first sermon.

[a]”Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

  • This is how Elisha starts in 13 and basically says, ‘oh, you want God to move now’. You’ve waited this whole time. He has a little attitude.

Slide # 9…2 Kings 3:14-19 (msg)

Elisha said, “As God-of-the-Angel-Armies lives, and before whom I stand ready to serve, if it weren’t for the respect I have for Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I wouldn’t give you the time of day.

  • What if that was my opening line of this message? I feel like that could be a line from Connor McGregor!
  • He has a boldness about it. Hard to be subtle when you’re speaking for God. Gosh, which a little side bar: One of the soul searching things I came to grips with during my time off is that I need to speak stronger! I’m a people pleaser. Sometimes, I’m not as forthRight as I should be.
  • I mean, I’m such a people pleaser that I wouldn’t turn off my snooze because it was Hootie and I didn’t want to offend them!
  • I’m going to work on that! Maybe not as hard core as Elisha, but maybe.
  • Can you even imagine that Jason? I feel like God doesn’t approve of me? What should I do? Well, how about you stop sleeping around and gossiping. That would probably help you feel better.
  • Mic Drop! Hahahah
  • Back to Elisha…Elisha says you guys have been trying to do this all on your own. God is not your hobby. God is not a spare time thing.
  • God is the Lord of heaven of Earth!
  • Then Elisha says…

But considering—bring me a harpist.” (When a harpist played, the power of God came on Elisha.)

  • You’re the only one to speak on God’s behalf and you need a harpist?
  • A harpist?
  • That’s the power in music!
  • I listen to worship music on my prayer walks.
  • I can’t wait the final scene in footloose without crying.
  • But, Elisha says that cuz there is power!

He then said, “God’s word: Dig ditches all over this valley. Here’s what will happen—you won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their fill. This is easy for God to do; he will also hand over Moab to you.

    • This is not what the Kings wanted. They wanted a miracle and a magic trick right now.
    • They did not want to WAIT!
    • WAITING IS AN OF FAITH.
    • Some of you single people who have decided to wait to have sex are affirming that statement. Yes, waiting is an of faith!
    • But, waiting is also a beautiful thing.
    • It’s a GYM for the Soul!
    • God is working out so much in our waiting! He’s kicking the pride out of us. He’s getting our attention. He’s helping us refocus our lives.
  • Only God can bring the rain, but sometimes He wants us to be faithful.
  • He wants you and I to be faithful!
  • I think it was the great author and Pastor, Eugene Peterson, said this walk with Jesus is about being faithful and obedient in the same direction for a long time.
  • Waiting is an act of faith.
  • But…

Slide # 9…We can go to work while waiting

  • I love the verse that says; Dig ditches all over this valley.
  • You want to know what to do during the time of WAITING.]
  • Dig Ditches!
  • Get a shovel and start digging.
  • Actually, we ordered 300 little shovels and we were going to give everyone one as a symbol to remember what to do when your waiting.
  • Dig Ditches!

Slide # 10… Only God can send the water, but sometimes He wants you to dig a ditch!

Slide # 11… ‘As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’ ~James 2:26 (niv)

Story of Thrive: Just a story of digging ditches.

  • Thrive is the story of digging ditches!
  • Just waiting on God! And digging while we wait!
  • We started with nothing. Just kept digging ditches.
  • When we went to two experiences, some people were like, really! We just kept digging ditches.
  • We’ve had ups and downs. We’ve grown, lost people, grown again and lost people. We just keep digging ditches.
  • We introduced the first Shoe Project. Oh man, some people were like, you guys are nuts. We just kept digging ditches. We raised the money. The second shoe project. We raised the money, but wow! It was hard, digging ditches.
  • Guess, what, in 2018 when we do our next Shoe Project, we’re going to keep digging ditches! Just to keep the crazy train going, I am praying that we as a Church will raise $50,000. That could do 4-5 Schools!!!
  • You don’t know where the rain is going to come from, but you keep digging!

What area of life is God calling you to digging ditches? In preparation for the blessing He wants to give.

Faith is not just wishful thinking. Oh God, bless my children. You start speaking words of blessing over your children.

Oh God, bless my marriage. You start blessing your marriage. You want love and attraction? You be more attractive? You make your spouse the center of the universe. You pray for them all throughout the day. You rekindle the love.

Oh God bless my finances. You trust him by giving.

Oh God, I don’t know where I fit at Thrive. You start serving! There are over 20 different opportunities on Sunday mornings alone at Thrive! Or you pray. Come early and pray over seats. Or be a facebook evangelist. Like everything on the main Thrive page. Comment and help get discussions going. Invite friends.

  • Make a commitment to SHOW UP, JUMP IN and DO GOOD.

THRIVE CHURCH

  • We’ve dug a lot of ditches. We have to keep digging!
  • Real faith keeps digging when people say no, or are negative, or when it’s hard! We’ve had people say awful stuff about us. Or leave.
  • That’s ok, we will just keep digging ditches.
  • One of the areas I have struggled with, and we even talked about it at our Elder meeting this past week, is when people just disappear from Thrive. It’s hard. Some leave because they feel convicted. Some leave because of conflict with someone else. Some just stop coming because of laziness.
  • Part of my extreme exhaustion was letting the bitterness get to me.
  • God’s given us a GREAT vision for this Church and we can make a tremendous dent for God’s kingdom together!
  • Digging ditches of love. Of acceptance. Of wanting people who are messy so they can meet the God who loves them.

Oh God, I need your joy. God says, if you want joy, then rejoice. Quick watching and listening to crap. Put God’s word in your heart and start rejoicing.

Oh God, I’m single and I just want a good person. Then, stop dating people who want nothing to do with God. I’m not saying at all that they are bad. I’m just saying, if you want to be faithful, take God’s word seriously. Pair up with someone who loves Jesus passionately!!

  • Can you trust God today, because He knows your tomorrow and has already been faithful in your past.

Waiting is an ACT of FAITH!

As you wait, Dig Ditches.

Slide # 12…Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. – John Ortberg

  • As you wait, what ditches are you going to dig?
  • Where can you be faithful?
  • Waiting is not all bad, remember, it’s an act of faith.

 

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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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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

Sermon Notes: How to Wreck your Life. Week Four. Make it all about You!

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

  • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing today?
  • Well, welcome to CMU! After two years of praying and seeking God, we start out Chapter Two of our history.
  • If this is your very first Sunday at Thrive, please take a second to head to the VIP Room, out the back doors and to the left and we would love to give you a free gift. And, we have folks who would love to meet you!
  • Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, there are a bunch of seats open. That’s good news! That means we have the opportunity to PRAY BIG GIGANTIC BOLD PRAYERS!
  • Next Sunday and Easter and will give us a good feel for what the fall is going to be like!
  • Ok, here we are in week 4 of How to Wreck Your Life. If you’ve missed any, head to the Thrive website and catch up! We’ve talked about Failure, Fear and Settling for Less.
  • Now, today…

Slide # 2…If you really want to WRECK your life, make it all about you.

  • The good news is, probably no one in this room struggles with making it all about you. Right!?!
  • Who do you think of when you think of the greatest of all time?
  • Mohamed Ali, right? Once he told a flight attendant that he didn’t need a seat belt because he was superman. She told him, well, Superman didn’t need an airplane!
  • If you want to WRECK your life, make it all about you.
  • Ok, here’s the deal though. If you’re a follower of Jesus, this really is for you. If you’re still doubting this Jesus stuff or haven’t truly given  your life over to Jesus, this really isn’t for you yet.
  • Because, Jesus came to turn the world upside down. He came to point people to God’s Kingdom and God’s Kingdom is both now and later. It’s both for our time here on earth and its for our time when breathe our last breath and then spend an eternity in heaven.
  • So, this idea of not making it about you is so anti-today.
  • Social Media tells us to make it all about us. Social media has given everyone a voice, which is awesome. But, it’s also taught us all of our opinions are the only ones that matter all the time.
  • I was talking with Dr. Tom and imagine this, he said something that made me go…ooohhhh, he said

Slide # 3…‘A self centered life reduces your impact’ ~Dr. Tom Rundel

  • In the short term, being all about yourself seems like a good idea. It helps you get ahead. And, who doesn’t want to get ahead?
  • But, here’s what Paul says in Romans 8:8…

Slide # 4…

Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. ~Romans 8:8 (the message)

  • There is a lot of self help love in our world, isn’t there? There are billions of dollars in the self help industry.
  • And, it’s a good thing to take advantage of how amazing God created us to be!
  • So, Paul isn’t saying to not care of yourself. He is saying there is a line. A line we cross when we start to care more about focusing on our self than we do on God.
  • I know for my life, I operate at my best when God comes first. When a few days go by and then a week and then a month when I take my focus off of God, that’s when things start to get sticky in my life.

Big Idea: A self centered life reduces your impact

  • Self-centeredness is “immoderate concern with one’s own interests and well-being; self-love or egotism.”
  • Multiple Mirror Selfie shots
  • Self-centeredness is a sin because it leads to being devoted to self-gratification and overlooking other people’s needs
  • Here’s the thing…

Slide # 5…There is Self Love and then Love of Self.

  • Looking out for our own interests is natural. In fact, Jesus uses our innate self-interest as a basis for gauging our love for others: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
  • In other words, in the same way that you (naturally) love yourself, learn to love others. Our universe should be others-centric, not self-centric.
  • Paul gives us a In Phil 2 command leaves no room for self-centeredness.

Slide # 6…Phil 2:3-4 (message)

if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

  • Again, this is so anti what we’re lead to believe is the right way in today’s world!

STORY: Jason in my first 10 years of ministry

  • I wanted to be the GREAT Somebody. I wanted everyone to know me.
  • I wanted to be a GREAT speaker.
  • I read a biography on Ted Williams, the greatest hitter ever, and he always wanted people to say when he walked by…there goes the greatest hitter of all time.
  • I wanted that.
  • God humbled me, or my pride humbled me and I’ve been a recovering tool ever since.
  • 10 years ago I never would have worked hard to have a teaching team. Why? Because I wouldn’t have wanted anybody to get an praise but me.
  • Here’s what I learned…

Slide # 7…Self Centered Living is: a SIN and leads to EGOTISM

Big Idea: A self centered life reduces your impact

Slide # 8…Live to Love others.

  • Love and care for our neighbors (John 13:34–35),
  • to not pass judgment on others (Romans 14:13),
  • to bear others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2),
  • and to be kind and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32).
  • Being self-centered is directly opposed to the clear command, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
  • There are many other similar commands calling for selfless sacrifice and service to others (Romans 12:10; Ephesians 5:21; Galatians 5:26).
  • Every act of self-love is rebellion against the authority of God. Self-centeredness is rooted in one’s fleshly desire to please self more than God. In essence, it is the act of supplanting God’s authority with one’s own ego.

Slide # 9…

James 3:16 (message)

Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the other’s’ throats.

Slide # 10…Big Idea: A self centered life reduces your impact

Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week One. ‘Be afraid to Fail’.

Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning?17038628_10158473396200235_138093799698539258_o

  • Who has ever FAILED at something?
  • Who has ever felt like a FAILURE?
  • Well, if you answered YES to either question, you’re in the right place.
  • Today, we look at a way to utterly and positively WRECK YOUR LIFE.

But, here’s the reality, there are a ton of ways we can WRECK OUR LIVES! The decision is all ours.

Make poor decisions, and you will begin to wreck your life.

  • Kind of a downer, right?? But, I can’t even begin to count how many conversations I’ve had over the last 20 years with people who feel like they can’t move forward with life because of failures.
  • Failures with relationships, or jobs, or finances. People get stuck and when Life brings disappointments, we sometimes feel like we can’t move forward.

Olympics

  • Crazy thing about success and failure. 90% of the world’s best athletes never win a medal at the Olympics!?! And so often, the Silver medalists feel like failures because they were so close to Gold!
  • But, so many of us though, have been stunted from life. We just refuse to try new things or move forward because of how bad life has hurt us. The sting of failure keeps us away from trying!

Failure is Everywhere

  • Failure is everywhere, right? Work has not become what we had hoped. Things do not turn out as were led to believe. Marriages that began in hope, end in tears. Our kids are a constant concern and then they make horrible decisions.
  • Friendships are betrayed. Prayers do not seem to be answered.
  • Some of us are really struggling because we thought we would be farther in life. Thought we would be married.
  • Then, even sometimes, the things we do manage to achieve often disappoint us.

Winston Churchill said…

  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
  • Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
  • The sense of failure is never far from the surface.  

Thrive STORY

  • Story about person telling me that Thrive would never make it with me as pastor.

 

How to Wreck your life? Be Afraid to Fail

Failure is a bruise not a tattoo

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

You are not defined by your worst day!

  • What you attempted may have failed, but you are not a failure in God’s eyes.
  • See, here’s the story of God, he’s in the redemption business! He is in the reconciling business.
  • God’s plan involved saving His people from the beginning. He created them perfect and gave them the most amazing life. They had one rule, just don’t eat from the tree. They had everything. They choose to break the rule and sin entered the world.
  • They were immediately banned from his presence. They knew they were sinful. They were embarrassed because of their nakedness. They had to work. Pain entered the world. Sickness entered the world.
  • They failed!
  • But, God is in the REDEMPTION business.
  • Paul wrote about it in Romans 5:8, and this is a verse we should all have memorized and thank God for everyday.
  • ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’!

  • Sin blocks us from having a personal relationship with Jesus and that’s bad news because we cannot gain access to God or be close to him because He is Holy!
  • But, God’s plan is amazing. He sent Jesus, for us. To die for us. To take our sin and to pay the penalty of it with his life, on the cross! For each of us!
  • And, when we acknowledge and repent of our sin, we confess it. God, I’m sorry. I ask for your forgiveness. I give you my life. I surrender my heart to you. We become followers of Jesus! Children of God. Friends of Jesus. And, we gain entrance to the Kingdom of God. Both on earth and in heaven after we breath our last breath!

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

  • Actually, this is illustrated and lived out for us in an amazing way in Luke 22 with the story of Peter.
  • Real Quick, let me catch you up on Peter. Son of John, had a brother named Andrew (also an apostle). We first meet him at Simon Peter. Jesus was teaching and he hopped in his boat and afterward they go fishing. Jesus tells them what to do and they caught a HUGE load. They followed Him.
  • Jesus’ first words (when he started his ministry) were to him, ‘Come, follow me’. His last words were ‘You must follow me”.
  • One of Jesus’ 12. We looked at Peter last week. This is the guy who took the step out of the boat! This is also the guy who tried to defend Jesus and pulled a sword and cut off an ear! 
  • Huge Failure. Crucified under Emperor Nero upside down because he didn’t think he was worthy enough to be crucified the same way as Jesus.
  • He’s guy who stumbled a ton, but he kept following Jesus.
  • He was a fisherman. His name was Simon, and Jesus renamed him to PETER which means…ROCK.
  • He didn’t always live up to his name, but Jesus was looking for models, he was looking for real people.
  • He kind of became the leader of Jesus’ disciples and he was a part of the inner three with James and John.
  • He was brash, he spoke without thinking, impulsive.
  • But, we learn from Peter, you can’t be defined by your worst day

LUKE 22:55-62

54 Then seizing him, [that’s Jesus, Judas had just betrayed him] they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. [One time] 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”“Man, I am not!” Peter replied. [Two times] 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  [Three times] The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

  • Even Peter Failed! But, you don’t have to be afraid to fail.
  • That fear of failure will paralyze you!

 

  • I’ve failed plenty in my life! Oh my gosh, I’m like the poster child for failure! But, I’ve learned that we can find great beauty in the pain of failure!
  • You are not defined by your worst day! Failure is not final! You can overcome it. You can get victory over it. you can heal up from it.
  • So, if you’re going to NOT be defined by your worst day, understand a few ideas.

ONE…Recognize that everyone fails.

  • Nobody is perfect and everyone fails.
  • We all face defeat and realize that just because you fail at one thing, it does not make you a flure.
  • Even Peter, who was absolutely confident of loyalty and strength, even that guy failed!
  • Peter failed to keep his promise. He failed his loyalty to Jesus.
  • Just like us, right? We have the best of intentions. We start out well. We have the best of intentions.
  • Just remember…

NOBODY IS PERFECT!

  • I love what Thomas Edison said about this.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~THOMAS ALVA EDISON

TWO…God’s love and forgiveness is not dependent on your success.

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” ~Luke 22:61 (niv)

  • For me, the first 10 years of my ministry career was all about success! Having a ton of kids at events, speaking at different events and then it all came crashing down!
  • A bunch of years ago, I started a book called ‘A field, a pedestal and a shattered heart. Because it was in a field, where I was knocked off my pedestal and my heart was shattered into a million pieces.
  • Sometimes its just when you’re at lowest point, that’s when you can figure out that you are not defined by your worst day.
  • And, for so many people, there trying to earn God’s love and forgiveness by doing stuff for Him.
  • They make their relationship a check list. Now, yes, we’re called to love and serve others. But, when it becomes a show and you do it for the acclaim, and to brush up your chosen trophy, that’s when God turns away.

‘The LORD turned and LOOKED straight at Peter’

  • Verse 61 is powerful. ‘The Lord turned and looked at Peter. IN the original language of the NT, Greek, it’s defined like an intense look.
  • We all know intense looks. Our moms, our wives can save a lot with their looks.
  • We can also say a lot to our kids with our looks.
  • What kind of look did Jesus give Peter. A look of joy, sadness, compassion or understanding?
  • This was a turning point in Peter’s life though.

THREE…You have to Grow and Learn from your failures.

  • Take advantage of your failure, don’t waste it. Learn all you can from it, every bitter experience can teach us something!
  • And, know this, God is very interested in how you respond to failure.
  • What you call failure, God may call a window of opportunity for learning. In times of failure:
  • You may be given a new opportunity
  • A new open door
  • Chance to move out of your comfort zone
  • Respond in love
  • Verse 62 says that Peter wept bitterly.

‘And he went outside and wept bitterly’

  • That means great remorse.
  • Sometimes we screw up. We make horrifically awful decisions.
    • Getting wasted.
    • Losing a job because of lying or stealing.
    • Getting romantically involved with someone who is not a follower of Jesus. Then, if it doesn’t work out or your faith is always a matter of contention, you wonder why?
    • Failing with finances and you wonder why?
  • See remorse is not enough, Paul says in 2 Cor. 7:10, ‘For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation’

 

  • Lastly…

FOUR…Move on!

  • Have you learned? Are you ready to focus your life more on Jesus? Are you ready to give him the bad habits that got you there?
  • Then, move on!
  • I love the verse of the week, this week…

‘for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again’ ~Proverbs 24:16

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you