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

I absolutely LOVE when Katie teaches at Thrive! Like she does today!!

Today, one of my favorite people on planet earth is teaching at Thrive

eisenbergersKatie Eisenberger!

She is just amazing! Her energy, her spirit, her life story and her passion for Jesus is just contagious.

Katie has been around Thrive before Thrive even was Thrive! One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Katie asking if we could meet. I sat down and she immediately began to pour out her out about how God was calling her to be a part of this new Church. The more she talked, the more excited I was for the future of this Church! She caught the vision even before the vision was completely birthed! That was in early 2013 and ever since then, Katie and her incredible leadership has helped Thrive grow and flourish!

She’s just a rock star leader and teacher. 

Today she continues our ‘Thrive at the Movies’ series with a look at Borne Identity! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Because I’m kind of Matt Damon’s look alike, I could not do the message today! Right!?! It would have just been too confusing! Hah!

But, really, she is diving into a passage of scripture in Ephesians and talking about our Identity! It’s going to be good!

We struggle with our Identity all the time, don’t we? I mean, sometimes we think just students struggle with their Identity, but adults probably have bigger struggles with identity than they ever let on!

We try to find our identity in our cars, in our jobs, in our homes, in our stuff, in our facebook accolades and the list goes on and on.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, our identity is found in Him! Which is amazing! Because He is our rock, our salvation, our freedom and our joy!

So, head to Thrive this morning! 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema and let’s continue this journey together!

I’ve been speaking to students for 20 years and I love it!

I was driving home today from a speaking engagement and the thought hit me…

I have been speaking to students for over 20 years! 

That’s just crazy! speaking

I don’t even have the words to describe how honored I am that I have been able to teach and encourage and challenge students all these years.

I have spoke in churches, youth groups, conferences, schools, private schools and colleges.

I have traveled all over the country. I have spoke to groups of 10 students and all the way to thousands.

I really don’t speak outside of Thrive all that often anymore, but I loved today.

I believe in students and I have always loved teaching them about Jesus.

I have to say no to far more opportunities to speak now than I’d like, but I love the opportunities I can be a part of! This summer I’m speaking at two summer camps and I can’t wait!

I hope that students experienced Jesus today and they were inspired to live like Him!