When Jesus was born, people were living ordinary, everyday lives. Except for Mary, Joseph and a few shepherds, no one else knew that the Savior had been born! When God comes into our everyday lives it doesn't look spectacular - it looks like love, it looks like resurrected lives, it looks like our forever, but also our today.
Challenging. But Good.
Evaluating our faith life can be challenging. It gets even harder when we consider how to relate with other Christians. But there is incredible encouragement and hope from the One who takes care of "Judging Us."
1) There are some things that are clearly black and white like the fact that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. But when it comes to applying our faith, things can get awfully complicated.
2) Even if an action is not wrong in and of itself, if we believe it is wrong and still do it, we actually judge against ourselves.
3) Two Christians can be in very different places in their faith. They can both bring glory to God while going in very different directions.
4) God calls us to lift up and encourage each other, including our fellow Christians who believe the most God-pleasing way is different than what we believe.
5) We are able to come together in love and humility because we all have the same problem = sin and the same solution = Jesus. He has reunited us with God and each other.
How to we balance our freedom in Christ with abstaining from a choice that may cause a brother or sister to stumble in their faith? With humility and a Christ-like love!
Not Natural. But Good!
There are many things in life that are not natural to us but are good for us! Jesus changes us for the good!
1) If someone were to tell us that we need to do something, it shows that we haven't been doing it!
2) If someone were to tell us, "You need to be zealous" for something, it would make it almost impossible to do so because then we would be doing it out of obligation.
3) Thankfully, the directives God gives us begin with His mercy!
4) Jesus is more than an example. Our evil was glued to Him. His goodness is now glued to us!
5) As we pursue righteousness in view of Christ's mercy, it changes us!
Transformed through Christ we embrace lives of love!
1. Be disgusted by what is evil.
2. Be glued to what is good.
3. Value one another with brotherly love.
4. Be "all in" for God!
5. Joyfully anticipate good things to come, even when you are under pressure, through continual prayer!
The Holy Spirit is the intercessor between us sinners and Holy God when it comes to sanctification. When we are struggling, God Himself knows exactly what we need. The day is coming when we get to live our lives the way we always wanted to - perfectly - so we are encouraged to persevere in our walk of sanctification - keep trying!
You Don't Have It All Figured Out. But He Does!
It's hard to admit, but we really don't know what we need. God knows and thankfully we can trust the Spirit to speak for us and to guide us every step of the way!
1) Waiting to open a gift can be hard, especially when you're expecting something good but don't know what gift is in the box. Living our lives of faith can be the same way. We don't know exactly what resurrection life is going to be like and we don't know what good plans God has for this life!
2) At the core of everything broken about this world is the thought that we know what's good for us, not God.
3) The Holy Spirit knows what this broken world and we, as broken individuals, long for. He joins us, longs with us and expresses what we need to the Father.
4) The Holy Spirit expresses what we long for in a way that perfectly matches God's desire for us and our lives.
5) God set us apart for Himself and is guiding us according to His plan! Trust the Spirit who knows what our need and trust God to lead your life in a way that is good according to His plan!
Take A Look Inside!
It's hard to look inside of ourselves. We might find something gross. But when we look inside, we can find the proper diagnosis!
1) People often say, "That just wasn't me." What we do often doesn't align with what we want to do.
2) There's a slave driver inside of us, preventing us from doing what we want to do.
3) Jesus has also planted Himself inside of us and He is perfectly. He and our sinful nature are completely at odds.
4) We get to walk with the cross of Christ. His cross crushes the old me so the new me can stand up tall.
5) God has this way of using even our weaknesses to draw us closer. When we lean on Him in weakness, He gives us strength!
You can't conquer it.
But it can't conquer Him.
Jesus is the NEMESIS of your NEMESIS.
When we try to control human beings to live under rules (laws) we find that instead of people's lives and hearts being changed they are filled with resentful and hatred and it further divides us. Living through faith in Christ is true freedom!
Feeling Stuck or Bogged Down?
Sometimes as we strive to live our faith we can feel stuck or get bogged down? When something similar happens with our computer or smartphone, a reboot does wonders! So, "What if you could Restart?
1) While God's law is good, it actually held us captive because it kept showing how we have failed to be what we were meant to be.
2) When God's law meets our sinful flesh, it actually energizes our sinful desires. This works in a variety of ways.
i. We magnify what we think about. If we think about what not to do, we magnify what not to do.
ii. If we focus on the law which shows how we fail, we magnify our guilt and shame.
iii. If we focus on the law and are able to follow certain parts of it well, we are susceptible to pride.
i. When we think too hard about what is meant to flow naturally, we make it complicated. Try thinking about breathing. It becomes difficult.
3) The problem with trying to overcome what's wrong in us by our own strength is that we're trying to overcome our sinful flesh with our sinful flesh.
4) But through Jesus' death, we died to that old way of the law, of sin and trying to do it ourselves. We've been restarted to live a new way!
5) We now live by the Spirit, the One who gives us faith to believe the promises of God. Believing the promises is eating the fruit that gives us a new life!
Maybe the Toughest Part About Being A Christian...
We love God and know He's good but there's power inside of us working against. Make some sense of what's going on, find confidence and hope for "The Battle Within."
There's a fight taking place inside of us. Join the fight because the war is won!
1) The powers inside of us are in conflict. One loves God while the other hates God!
2) The sinful nature always wants to do the wrong thing and is always working against us.
3) If the battle is so hard, we might sometimes wonder, "Why fight?" We fight because Jesus has won the victory!
4) Jesus gave His life so we could have our lives back!
5) Sanctification means that now parts of our lives display what God originally created us for. God empowers us to live for eternity and enjoy life now!
Sometimes we live under restrictions that do not exist and act like we're under the power of something that no longer is master of us. It's time to live free and ask, "What Are You Standing Under?"
1) Through faith in Christ what's true of Him becomes true of you. He died for our sins so you died to sin. He rose to new life. Now you have a new life!
2) Temptation to sin is not merely a choice between right and wrong. It's a power struggle. When you sin you allow yourself to come under the power of something other than God.
3) Naturally we're born under the power of sin, missing the mark of what we were meant to be, unable to live the life we were meant to live. But no longer!
4) You've passed from death to life. The life you were meant to live has been given back to you!
5) You're under grace. God delights in you and so He gives you gift after gift, forgiveness, faith, power, purpose, calling, confidence, life that never ends!
Regrets? We all have them.
Pastor Krause shares some amazing news from Romans 6:11-14. With God's gift of faith and our hope for eternal life, we are now empowered to live sanctified lives through Christ Jesus. We have a second chance - what would we do differently?
Who/What Is Shaping Your Life?
Where we find our identity, purpose and fulfillment drives our lives. Thankfully, we've been given the gift of Sanctification (In the Narrow Sense) which means we get to live with the identity, purpose and fulfillment that God created us to have!
1) As beings who were made by a Creator for a purpose to achieve something significant, our need for identity, purpose and fulfillment is written into our DNA.
2) When we search for our identity, purpose and fulfillment in something other than God, we'll always miss the mark of what we were meant to be. We're living as slaves to sin.
3) We were baptized into Christ we died with Him. When He rose we rose. We no longer belong to a way of life that ends in death. We have real life!
4) Through faith in Christ we have been declared right with God. That means we are alive to:
a. God, the One who created us to be walking pictures of Him (identity)
b. Purpose (you have been given a life that is truly awe-some as a part of His plan)
c. Fulfillment (you've been set on the path of life with real, eternal significance)
Go Ahead. Ask.
Let's Lean In Together!
We may try to ignore them, but the truth is, they are there, those challenging questions that just keep coming up. This weekend we begin a new sermon series, "Nagging Questions???" where we lean into some of life's biggest questions and go to God's Word for answers. This weekend we'll get started with a study of Romans 1:20 where we ask, "Is God Real?"
What's your story?
No matter how your story seems right now, this weekend we celebrate that we our part of "A Better Story."
As we enter Holy Week, we begin a series of days where we see in action God’s love for us. This is the love we trust in and celebrate with our words!
Have you asked recently "What In the World Is Going On?" In this sermon we asked this very question to gain some much needed perspective on the current events by studying Romans 8:31-33.
We continue our "JUST in Time" series with a study of Romans 5:8-11. "Are We Good?"
What Time Do You See?
See the Season You You're
There are some events that change the way the world looks. There are some experiences that make you see something different. We may very well be living in one of those times now with the concern over COVID-19/coronavirus. But however the current concerns may or may not change the way you see the world, there is a far greater event that can change the way you see the world and make you see something different. This weekend we studied Romans 5:6 and learned about the special gift of how we get to "See the Time."
It is an epidemic!
Lately a lot of our Abiding Shepherd family has either been fighting illness or have had surgery of one kind or another. Fortunately, no one has contracted the coronavirus (nor have we begun to panic as if God were not in control). But we all are part of another epidemic known to us as sin.
This weekend we tackle the next lesson in our "JUST in Time" Sunday Lenten series. We dissect Romans 4:25 and see one of the laws of nature at work: "Equal and Opposite".
Are You Ok?
How Do You Know?
How do you know if you're doing ok? How do you know your life matters? How do you know if things are going to turn out alright? How do you know that you're part of something incredible? This weekend we begin our new weekends in Lent series "JUST in Time" with a message from Romans 3:28 about how you can know exactly where you stand, "Faith or Works."
What did you lose? What did you gain?
What was lost has been restored!
There was a popular song lyric a while back that said, "We were meant to live for so much more, but we lost ourselves." Well, because of Easter, what was lost has been restored. This weekend we wrap up the Easter season by studying Romans 4:25 and taking hold of what "You Were Made To..."
Because this is an expression that has been twisted and misused in recent times, allow me to define it for our purposes. The new normal is: the current state of being after some dramatic change has transpired. The new normal is what replaces what we previously expected. For instance, in high school I had a class to learn how to type on a typewriter. Now we do everything on computers - that is the new normal.
Easter presents us with a new normal for our earthly lives as we dig into our second last lesson of the Easter Epistles series from Romans 6:3-8.
Stuck in a rut?
Everybody loves innovation, for example: cell phones, safety features on cars, dishwashers - for most of us these are things we could not live without. It took some "outside the box" thinking for people to come up with these great ideas. But what about our faith, do we like innovation there? What if God pushes us beyond our comfort zone, challenges us to think bigger than our own personal beliefs, or even tests us to the point where all we can do is finally let God lead us where we would not ordinarily go? This week we begin a new phase of our Christian Character(s) study as we begin examining a variety of Christian virtues. Our text is Romans 12:2 and the lesson is "Faith outside the Box".
Know Thyself - If you and I just met for the very first time, what would you tell me about who you are to help me to get to really know you? This weekend not only did we celebrate God's gift of mothers, but we concluded our Resurrection Question series with a lesson from Romans 1:1b-5a as we answer this question: "And You Are"?
I am _______________. How we fill in that blank is important. That blank represents where we find our identity, worth and significance. This weekend we studied Romans 6:1-4 where we saw that Jesus not only changed everything for us, He changed us and gives us a new answer to the question, "Is that who you are?"