Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Most Important: Sermon Recap

Matthew 22:34-40

Big Idea:
We make the most of our time when we spend it on what is most important to God.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/sb34R
  • Love is unconditional loyalty that is rooted in an unswerving purpose of good.
  • If our hearts are not full of love, our acts of obedience to God become mere legalism.
  • If we're not loving, we're not living the way God has called us to live.
  • Love isn't concerned with 'what about me,' it's concerned with 'what about you.'
  • We grow in love for God and other people by responding to the love that Jesus showed for us. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a Right Christmas: Sermon Recap

Luke 2:25-38

Big Idea: This year, celebrate Christ instead of Christmas.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/s1wNY
  • In Christmas, we are reminded that God loves us as we are and empowers us to become what we are not. 
  • A right Christmas is one where Jesus is anticipated, adored, and announced. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent Week 4 Reading

Advent Week 4 Reading - The fourth candle is said to represent love and the presence of the Savior.

(4.1) His Presence Among Us: Over 400 years before Jesus, Zechariah foretold how God would one day come and live with men. “‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you’” (Zechariah 2:10-11).

(4.2) His Presence as a Human: Jesus left the splendor of heaven to be live on earth as a man. Therefore, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:5-7).

(4.3) His Presence Declared by an Angel: When Jesus entered the world, a heavenly angel reported the news to shepherds. “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:8-11).

(4.4) His Presence Declared by the Heavens: Even the stars made known the presence of Jesus to Wise Men. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him’” (Matthew 2:1-2).

(4.5) His Presence Declared by Simeon: A righteous and devout man in Jerusalem named Simeon recognized the presence of the Savior. “Simeon took him [the infant Jesus] in his arms and praised God saying: ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:28-32).

(4.6) His Presence Declared by Anna: The prophetess Anna recognized the presence of Jesus, the Redeemer. “There was also a prophetess, Anna. . . . She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them (Mary and Jospeh) at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

(4.7) His Presence Motivated by Love: God sent Jesus into the world because of his great love for us! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).

All content used with permission of the author

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Baby Is Man: Sermon Recap

Matthew 1

Big Idea: Jesus is fully man—he can meet you where you are and pull you out.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/rOYZ6
  • Because Jesus was a man, he gives you grace to stand firm when tempted and grace to stand back up after falling.
  • Because Jesus was a man, there is room at the table for deceivers, manipulators, and liars like Jacob.
  • Because Jesus was a man, there is room at the table for losers like Judah. 
  • Because Jesus was a man, there is room at the table for self-righteous hypocrites like King David. 
  • Because Jesus was a man, there is room at the table for those destroyed by their own success like King Uzziah. 
  • Because Jesus was a man, there is room at the table for those more evil than everyone else around them like Manasseh.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Advent Week 3 Reading

 Advent Week 3 Reading - The third week is said to represent joy and the proclamations regarding the coming Savior.

(3.1) Angelic Proclamation About John the Baptist: The angel Gabriel proclaimed to Zechariah that his son, John the Baptist, would prepare people for the coming of Jesus. “Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:16-17).

(3.2) Angelic Proclamation About Jesus: The angel Gabriel proclaimed to the virgin Mary that she would give birth to the Savior Jesus. “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:31-33).

(3.3) Elizabeth’s Proclamation About Jesus: Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, proclaimed that Mary carried the Lord in her womb. Even before his birth, John the Baptist made a unique proclamation about Jesus by leaping in his mother’s womb. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed:“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:41-44).

(3.4) Mary’s Proclamation About God: Mary proclaimed the great thing God had done in choosing her to give birth to Jesus. “And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name’” (Luke 1:46-49).

(3.5) Zechariah’s Proclamation About Jesus: Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, proclaimed his praise that Jesus would be the Redeemer and Savior. “‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago)’” (Luke 1:68-70).

(3.6) Angelic Proclamation About Jesus: An angel proclaimed to Joseph that Jesus was conceived from the Holy Spirit and would save his people. “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins’” (Matthew 1:20-21).

(3.7) Prophetic Proclamation: Over 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah announced that the Holy One of Israel would one day be among the people. Let us sing for joy that Jesus did indeed come to live with man! “Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you” (Isaiah 12:6).

All content used with permission of the author

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Infographic: Messianic Genealogy

Redeemer is currently doing a brief—and refreshingly different—Christmas sermon series based on the genealogies of Matthew and Luke. The series is called "God With Us" and we're spending a few weeks looking at the implications of the genealogies as they relate to Jesus' divinity, humanity, kingly line, etc.

 In my preparations, I came across this sharp genealogy infographic that I just had to share. Enjoy!

(Click for larger image)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Baby Is God: Sermon Recap

Luke 3:23-38

Big Idea: The baby is our great God and Savior, who humbled himself, entered the world and came to save his children from their sins.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/rmLxT
  • The Christmas story starts before the beginning of time.
  • The trinitarian God created man out of the overflow of his relational love. 
  • Sin is chasing your deceitful desires and doing whatever seems right in your own eyes.
  • Salvation is responding to God's grace with faith that demonstrates itself through loving obedience.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent Week 2 Reading

Week 2 Advent Reading -  The second week is said to represent peace and the prophecies of a coming Savior.

(2.1) Prophecy About a Man That Will Crush Satan: In the first book of the Bible, written over 1400 years before Christ, God told Satan that the son of a woman would crush his head. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

(2.2) Prophecy About a Virgin Birth: Over 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah foretold that Immanuel (which means “God with us”) would be born of a virgin. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

(2.3) Prophecy About the Identity of a Child: Over 700 years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah described the identity of Jesus. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

(2.4) Prophecy About the Majesty of the Child: The prophet Isaiah further described Jesus and his majesty. “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

(2.5) Prophecy About the Birthplace of the Ruler: Over 600 years before Christ, the prophet Micah foretold that the Ruler would be born in Bethlehem. Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).

(2.6) Prophecy About John the Baptist: Over 400 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Malachi foretold how a forerunner would prepare the way for Jesus. John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy. “‘See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Malachi 3:1).

(2.7) Prophecy Fulfilled: Jesus is the only one that can bring peace with God. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Friday, December 6, 2013

Free Christmas music download!

I (Jared) had the privilege of contributing an EP that a few friends were putting out for their friends and family this Christmas. It's free on Noisetrade (we don't want your money) and we'd be honored if you went and downloaded a copy today. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

(For those of you who might care, mine is track 2.)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Week 1 Reading

The holidays snuck up on me and mugged me this year, and I'm only now catching up. So I am late sharing this, but it was too good to pass up. For the next four weeks, I will be sharing Advent readings collected by Angie Mosteller. Visit her site for lots of other ideas for the Advent season!

Advent Week 1 Reading

(1.1) Promise to Abraham: God promised Abraham that all people on earth would be blessed through him. In Jesus, a descendant of Abraham, this promise was fulfilled.“ All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

(1.2) Promise to Isaac: God promised an everlasting covenant with Isaac (Abraham’s son). In Jesus, a descendant of Isaac, this promise was fulfilled. God said to Abraham,“‘Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him’” (Genesis 17:19).

(1.3) Promise to Jacob (also called Israel): God promised Jacob that all people on earth would be blessed through him. In Jesus, a descendant of Jacob, this promise was fulfilled.“All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring” (Genesis 28:14).

(1.4) Promise to Judah: The Bible reveals that a descendant of Judah would be ruler over all the nations. Jesus, a descendant of Judah, is this ruler.“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his” (Genesis 49:10).

(1.5) Promise to the people of Israel: God promised that a Righteous One would be born out of the line of David. Jesus, a descendant of David, fulfilled this promise. “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land’” (Jeremiah 33:14-15).

(1.6) Promise Fulfilled: Jesus descended from the exact lineage that God promised. “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham . . . there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ” (Matthew 1:1 and 1:17).

(1.7) Promise for All: The promise of Jesus is for all people; he offers hope! “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6).
All content used with permission of the author.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Am Forgiven: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 4:25-32

Big Idea: If you have been forgiven, you should be forgiving.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/rmLxT
  • It will never cost as much for us to forgive others as it cost God to forgive us.
  • Forgiveness is the cancellation of a debt by paying it or absorbing it yourself.
  • Forgiveness does not neglect justice, rather it defers justice to God.
  • We extend forgiveness to others not merely because it is the 'right' thing to do but because it displays gratitude for the forgiveness Jesus accomplished for us on the cross.
  • See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:15
  • There is power in the Holy Spirit to help us do the things that we cannot do on our own.
  • When someone sins against you, respond to the cross, not the circumstance.
  • We forgive to point others toward Jesus.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Am New: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 4:17-24

Big Idea: What you do cannot make you new. Only Jesus can make you new. When Jesus makes you new, it changes what you do.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/rajGx
  • Grace is opposed to earning, not effort.
  • We enter into God's family through the grace of Jesus.
  • In Christ, we are called to put off the old life, renew our mind, and put on the new life.
  • There is no way to follow Jesus without feeding on God's Word.
  • When we read the Word of God, the Spirit uses it to renew our minds.
  • God doesn't want to see us in the pigsty. He wants to see us at home with Him.
  • God's grace should motivate us to live differently. We should not be the same people today that we were yesterday. 
One of your possible next steps might be to begin memorizing Scripture with us. We're going to begin following the Fighter Verse plans. These verses will be in our bulletins every week, though you can also follow the plan in several others ways:


Monday, November 18, 2013

I Am Gifted: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 4:1-16

Big Idea: Christlikeness is gained by us all or not attained at all.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference:
  • In Christ, each one serves everyone and everyone serves each one.
  • When the Body of Christ follows Jesus together, we more closely display the fullness of God's character.
  • The ministry of God is found in the broken ares of our lives, our church, our community, and our world.
  • When the Body comes together, our unity demonstrates the power of the Gospel.
  • We are gifted differently so that all the work of God can get done.
  • Diversity within the Body of Christ is a good thing.
  • The more diverse the Body of Christ, the more people we can have connections with.
  • When we speak the truth in love, we encourage meaningful relationships in the Body that help us grow up into Christ.

Monday, November 4, 2013

I Am Afflicted: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 3:1-13

Big Idea: God takes your misery and give you a ministry.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/qtPbR
  • When we give God control, He is able to do what He needs to do through us.
  • We will suffer when we follow Jesus. The real tragedy is not that we suffer, it is that for some of us, the suffering will be for nothing when God wants us to learn something in our suffering.
  • When you suffer, start seeking God, the one who controls your suffering.
  • And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
  • Only God can transform our worries to worship and our misery to ministry.
  • The Gospel is just as effective during bad times as it is during good times.
  • Cling to the voice of the Eternal in the agony of the temporary.
  • “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 
  • Jesus was separated from the Father in his suffering so that we could be drawn close to the Father in our suffering. 
"Though You Slay Me" by Shane & Shane

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United

Monday, October 28, 2013

I Am Reconciled: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 2:11-22

Big Idea: Jesus reconciles you to God and calls you to join the mission of reconciliation.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/qfefI
  • Christians who refuse to reconcile with others have forgotten what it felt like to be reconciled with God. 
  • No one has ever "found" Jesus. Jesus came and found them.
  • Sin is always a barrier to true reconciliation. Jesus is the only bridge to true reconciliation. 
  • A lot of people want advice from buddy Jesus. Not many people want orders from King Jesus. 

Rejoice by Dustin Kensrue

Verse 1
Come and stand before your Maker
Full of wonder, full of fear
Come behold His power and glory
Yet with confidence draw near
For the one who holds the heavens
And commands the stars above
Is the God who bends to bless us
With an unrelenting love

Rejoice, come and lift your hands and
Raise your voice, He is worthy of our praise
Rejoice, sing of mercies of your King
And with trembling, rejoice

Verse 2
We are children of the promise
The beloved of the Lord
Won with everlasting kindness
Bought with sacrificial blood
Bringing reconciliation
To a world that longs to know
The affections of a Father
Who will never let them go

Verse 3
All our sickness, all our sorrows
Jesus carried up the hill
He has walked this path before us
He is walking with us still
Turning tragedy to triumph
Turning agony to praise
There is blessing in the battle
So take heart and stand amazed

Alt. Chorus
Rejoice, when you cry to Him He hears
Your voice, He will wipe away your tears
Rejoice, in the midst of suffering
He will help you sing

"Mediator" by Ghost Ship

Monday, October 21, 2013

I Am Saved: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 2:1-10

Big Idea: We are saved by grace to live by grace.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/q1XNF
  • Because of his holiness, God cannot simply dismiss sin. Because of his sacrificial love, God can forgive sin. 
  • Salvation: the greatest rescue that's ever taken place.
  • We are rescued out of a life of sin into a life of righteousness and good works in Christ.
  • Biblical faith is a transfer of trust to Christ.
  • We pursue good works, but they are a response to what God has already done in our life, not our means of salvation.
  • On the cross at Calvary, God expressed both His hatred for sin and His love for sinners.
  • All works by God's grace and for God's glory are good works.
  • We need to seek out the good work that God has set before us. 
  • Completing good works by grace is Christ accomplishing good works through us.
  • God works out all of the results. Our job is to be obedient.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Two prayers I pray every morning

I confess, I've never been great at certain types of praying. As a worship leader and small group leader for my church, of course, I pray in public on a weekly and almost daily basis. And I'm great at having a sort of "running conversation" with God throughout the day, too. Praying about my heart, my wife, my daughter, the traffic...you know, all the mundane things of the everyday life.

But when it comes to devoted times of prayer, the kind that Jesus talked about in Matthew 6:6 when he said "when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret", well, I'm not great at that.

So any habit that forces me to be a little more regular in times set a aside for prayer is a win. And recently I've created just such a habit and I thought I would share it just in case any of you out there find that you're like me when it comes to praying. I wanted to shared the two prayers that I've begun to pray to start my day and start my personal Bible study.

Pray Before Your Day: The first I came across as I was reading J.D. Greear's book, Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. says this of the prayer:
"There’s nothing magical about this prayer. It’s not an incantation to get God to do good things for you. Incidentally, it’s also not my attempt to replace the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is simply a tool to help you train your mind in the patterns of the Gospel. The point is not the prayer; the point is thinking in line with the Gospel.

"The gospel prayer has four parts. The 1st two parts lead us inward, helping us to renew our minds in God’s acceptance of us and the value of that acceptance to us.

"Part 3 of the prayer has us consider what responding to the grace of the gospel looks like. Understanding God’s generosity toward us should lead us to radical generosity toward others.

"Part 4 of the prayer helps us see our world through the lens of the gospel. If the cross really does reveal God’s compassion for sinners and His resurrection His power to save them, then our prayers on their behalf should be audacious and bold."

Pray Before You Study God's Word: The second prayer comes from John Piper's book, When I Don't Desire God. I've found this prayer particularly helpful in reminding why I am sitting down to open the Bible at all and asking God to bring the two-edged sword of his Word to bear against the thoughts and intentions of my heart.

What about you? Care to share any tips or aids in becoming a better prayer?

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Am Blessed: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 1:3-14

Big Idea: You have been blessed by God so show it.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/pAvZW
  • The way we think about God determines the way we relate to Him.
  • If God is a perfect Father and wants the absolute best for us, He is never going to withhold anything we truly need.
  • We have to train ourselves to remember the blessings we have received from God.
  • The Father chose us because of His love, not our performance.
  • Communion is a reminder of the greatest blessing God has given to us—His Son.
  • When we talk about sin, we're really talking about slavery. When we are in Jesus, we have been redeemed and are no longer slaves but free.
  • How do we find freedom in Jesus? By finding forgiveness in His blood. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why We Sing What We Sing When We Sing

I realized this past week that I've done a poor job of communicating one of the most central things I do from week to week when putting together worship set lists at Redeemer Church. It came up when someone asked why we couldn't just switch two songs since one was more of an energetic "opener" type song than the one I'd picked. The grid or the filter that I run every set list through every week is foundational to our worship flow, but I'm ashamed to admit that most of my church probably doesn't even know it's there.

Every week, my goal is to tell the story of the gospel through the songs we sing. I know, it sounds obvious, sounds simple, maybe sounds redundant if we're already singing worship songs. But let me explain. There's a certain flow, a certain order or progression to the gospel, and rather than just pick songs strictly by the energy level of the song, I've begun picking them based on where they fall in flow of the gospel story.

The gospel story as we tell it is this:
  1. God exists, creates, rules, reigns supreme.
  2. We were created, have fallen, have sinned, and are now a broken people in a broken world.
  3. Jesus lived the life we couldn't live, died the death we should've died to bring us back to God.
  4. We are offered this substitutionary life, death, and life again to be made right with God and live changed lives.
  5. Based on this, we should be living lives of love, lives on mission, lives filled with Jesus' Spirit.
When I pick our five songs each week, I am intentionally picking songs that will fit into that grid. So my song selection goes something like this:
  1. Adoration - These songs focus on proclaiming God as he is. These songs are necessarily vertical and don't have a lot of "I" and "we" and "us" in them. I want to start every service every week confronting all of us anew with the grandeur and majesty of God. (ex. "How Great Is Our God", and "Holy Is The Lord")
  2. Confession & Lament - These songs will speak honestly and openly about our sin, our guilt before God, and the divide that results between us and God. It also mourns the brokenness and futility that came upon the whole of creation as a result of man's sin. However, these songs almost always hint at the coming remedy. (ex. "Come Ye Sinners")
  3. Assurance & Thanksgiving - These songs proclaim the heart of the gospel. Again, that Jesus' life, death, and resurrected life on our behalf has accomplished all that is needed for God to begin making for himself a people from every tribe, tongue and nation. The cross is almost always explicit and present here. (ex. "At The Cross", "It Is Finished", and "Thank You God For Saving Me")
  4. Communion & Reflection - It is not by accident that we take communion when we do in the flow of our service or that we take it every week. Based on the proclamation of the gospel in our first three songs, and the gospel presented in the preaching of the word, we now sing songs that express a time of reflecting on and responding to the work of Jesus on the cross on our behalf--either for the first time (in salvation) or in remembrance (communion). (ex. "Because of Your Love", and "How Deep The Father's Love For Us")
  5. Response & Charge - At this point, we all should be asking ourselves, "If this is true, what next?" The final song aims to point us in that direciton, usually in terms of our renewed commitment to God and Christ-likeness (vertical) and our desire to be loving and serving those inside and outside the church (horizontal). (ex. "Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder", and "Reign In Us")
I hope this will be a helpful insight into why I do what I do, and in the bigger scheme of things, a reminder of why we all do what we do. So on the weeks that I actually remember to share the setlist on Facebook before Sunday, you'll notice I've put these five elements into the order of worship just as a way of helping us think about our song flow in these categories.

These ideas are by no means original to me, in fact there's more written on this idea than I can even reference here, but here's two in blog post form ("Sing the Story" by Matt Papa) and in book form (Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel by Mike Cosper).

Every week when we sing we are singing the gospel, we're rehearsing the gospel, we're telling each other the gospel story.
This post was originally an email sent to my worship team, but I felt the ideas were important enough that I wanted to share it with the rest of the church as well. Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday and retelling the gospel story all over again!

I Am a Saint: Sermon Recap

Ephesians 1:1-2

Big Idea: If you are in Christ, your primary identity is saint not sinner.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/po2pX
  • A saint is an ordinary, average, sinful person who loves Jesus.
  • All people are sinners, but those in Jesus are not just sinners but saints.
  • When Jesus returns, His followers will be glorified—they will no longer be saints and sinners, but saints and saints alone.
  • Saints are convicted by their sin but not condemned by it.
  • Conviction leads us to a new identity in Christ, but condemnation leads to an old identity in sin.
  • There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
  • In Christ, we do not have to sin. We are free to do the right thing.
  • Temptation is an opportunity to sin against God or to worship God. 
FREE DOWNLOAD: Wallpaper based on our current series

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Am In Christ: Sermon recap

Ephesians 1:1-14

Big Idea: You are born into Adam as a sinner. You must be born again into Christ who is a Savior.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/p7Ren
  • God counts us as sinners in one man, so that He might also count us righteous in one man—Christ.
  • At the cross, Jesus traded places with us. Jesus went to the cross as our substitute.
  • For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • When God looks at us, He sees Jesus not all of our failures. The challenge is to live in light of that truth.
  • Our lives become the overflow of Jesus in us.
  • “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
  • We must trust Jesus to produce in us the fruit that we cannot produce on our own.
  • A life in Christ works no matter the circumstances.
  • In Christ, we are faithful. The key to faithfulness is not our activity but Christ.
  • Christ is enough for any circumstance.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"I am _____________?" : Sermon Recap

Genesis 1:26-28, 3:1-5

Big Idea: Your identity is received from God, not achieved through your efforts.


We started our fall series this week, Who Do You Think You Are? A sermon series on Ephesians.  Who you think you are determines how you live. Most of us define ourselves by what we have done or what has been done to us. We relive the mistakes and injustices of our past, or chase the ever-changing expectations of others. When you see who Jesus says you are and what he has done for you, it sets you free to live a new life.

Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/oVpEV
  • When we tie our identity to something, our feelings are also tied to that thing.
  • We were made for God, and our identity is received from Him. It is the identity we were created to have.
  • We were created to know God and be known by God.
  • We are like mirrors, and when we are focused on God, other people see His reflection through us.
  • We have been blessed by God to be a blessing to others.
  • Satan tempts us in many ways to find our identity in something other than God.
  • We either find our identity in Jesus or in idols.
  • We are not defined by our best or worst day. We find definition in Christ.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bring Someone With You: Sermon Recap

John 1:35-42

Big Idea: Jesus brings hope to people when we bring people to Jesus.


Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/oK7vB
    • Nobody becomes a follower of Jesus without being introduced to Him. Someone has to pass on the Good News.
    • Only Jesus can change those who have been introduced into those who follow.
    • Once you have become a follower of Jesus, you must also become an introducer.
    • People are longing for more than they have, longing for more than this world can offer, and we need to speak up now.
    • We can't save people who are in need, but we can bring them to the One who can.
    • Jesus changes everything because He changes us. – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

      Monday, September 2, 2013

      Fully Engaged: Sermon Recap

      1st Corinthians 16

      Big Idea: God does extraordinary things through ordinary people.

      "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


      Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/ouf1y
      • As ordinary people, the way we can accomplish extraordinary things is by engaging in the mission God has called us to.
      • God does extraordinary things through ordinary people. 
      • Make plans but leave room for God.
      • God wants your heart, and the only way He's going to get it is if you dethrone money. 
      • Fully engaged followers should be giving regularly, individually, and proportionally. 
      • Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14
      • “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 

      Monday, August 26, 2013

      The Resurrection For All Your Life: Sermon Recap

      1st Corinthians 15

      Big Idea: If Jesus really rose from the dead, then that changes everything.

      From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


       Here are some highlights from the message.
      •  Christianity puts itself out there to be tested. It's not a squishy, ethereal jellyfish religion without a spine. 
      • Jesus is alive—skin on, walking around, bread breaking, fish eating alive. 
      • The resurrection of Jesus is a sign and guarantee of the resurrection to come. 
      • Our sin isn't looming but forgiven in the risen Christ. 
      • When you believe in Jesus, He gets to call the shots. 
      • herefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 
      • If the resurrection is true, we can't just piddle our lives away. 
      Book recommendation:
       Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace
      This Changes Everything - Matt Papa

      Hosea's Wife - Brooke Fraser

      Monday, August 19, 2013

      The Death of Death: Sermon Recap

      1st Corinthians 15

      Big Idea: Jesus is coming back to finish what he started. That day should change this day, but this day should make us long for that day.

      From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


       Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/o4BJT
      •  Jesus' victory over sin and death is already accomplished, but it is not yet completed.
      • As believers in Jesus, our salvation is secure. When Jesus returns, our salvation will be completed.
      • Our heavenly bodes will be perfect, immortal, glorious, powerful, Spirit-filled—like Jesus' body.
      • When Jesus rose from the dead, He demonstrated what our new, heavenly bodies will be like.
      • Because of sin, nothing on earth is the way God wants it to be.
      • As much as we love this day and this life, we should long for the day when Jesus returns and makes all things new. 
      • What happens on that day is determined by what we do with Jesus on this day. 

      Sunday, August 11, 2013

      Salubrious Worship: Sermon Recap

      1st Corinthians 14

      Big Idea: Healthy worship lifts God up and builds people up.

      From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


       Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/nPn8y
      • Healthy worship lifts God up and builds people up.
      • Learn to make the Gospel accessible to everybody. The reason people decide not to follow Jesus shouldn't be because they don't understand the Gospel. 
      •  We don't want people to not follow Jesus because we are offensive but because the message of the Gospel is offensive to them. 
      • What obstacles or distractions do we present to unbelievers that keep them from Jesus that we need to remove?
      • “Strive to excel in building up the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12b 
      • But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

      Monday, August 5, 2013

      Being and Doing: Sermon Recap

      1st Corinthians 13

      Big Idea: We are called to be the people of God before we do the work of God.

      From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


       Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/nDWqn
      • God has not given us a list to do; he has given us a person to follow—Jesus. 
      • Our love for one another is the mark that God is at work among us.  
      • Love moves you out of the center of your life.
      • When we focus on who we are to be, it changes what we do. 
      • To lay down your preferences and do something for somebody else is supernatural.
      • Love de-centers self so that no matter how someone else treats us, we respond in kindness and compassion. 
      Lee concluded his message on the love chapter like this: "God has not given us a list to do; he has given us a person to follow—Jesus." And so it was fitting that, after the service, we had several people publicly proclaim that very thing. In being baptized, they declared Jesus as Savior and Lord and we as a church became witnesses and partners in helping them follow Jesus. It was an exciting day for everyone involved!

      Photos courtesy of Jan Weihl and Weihl Photography.

      Monday, July 29, 2013

      We Are Better Together: Sermon Recap

      1 Corinthians 12

      Big Idea: God invites you to join a mission bigger than yourself.

      From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"


       Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/nqW0P
      • God invites you to join a mission bigger than yourself.
      • We don't experience things greater than ourselves because we don't want to give up control.
      •  In the Body of Christ, everybody needs everybody and everybody is needed.
      •  When each of us brings our spiritual gifts to the table, we see more fully the totality of who God is. 
      • If you don't use the gifts that you've been given, you and the rest of the body are going to suffer.
      • Every Christian has something essential to offer to the mission of God.  
      • When we use the gifts God has given us, God gets the glory and we experience joy.
      • The Body of Christ: Diverse gifts, one giver. Many ministries, one mission. Different activities, one power.
      •  God works differently in each of us to achieve his purpose through all of us.

      Tuesday, July 23, 2013

      What Is Communion?: Sermon Recap

      1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and 11:17-34

      Big Idea: Communion is a tangible demonstration of faith. When you take Communion, you are saying, "Jesus, you died for me so I will live for you".

      From "The Body: We Are Better Together. A series from 1st Corinthians"



      Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/nfrfr
      • Communion is a tangible demonstration of worship. 
      • The one thing that brings us together and unites us is our worship of Jesus.
      • When you take Communion, you are fleeing from sin and turning to God.
      • Communion is a time of celebration.
      • Communion is a clear reminder of the Gospel.
      • When you celebrate Communion, you are reciting the Gospel.
      Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn) - Stuart Townend

      Remember - Laura Story

      Monday, July 15, 2013

      Equal and Different: Sermon Recap

      After a five week hiatus from sermonizing, Lee returned this week and continued his series in 1st Corinthians, tackling the monstrous topic of gender roles. And in the end he accomplished what he said couldn't be done: he preached  his sermon in under an hour!

      Listen to the message

      Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/mZk4o
      • In Christ, men are free to be masculine and women are free to be feminine. 
      • Men and women are to collaborate and complement each other so that God's work is done. 
      • When discussing gender issues, the Bible never works from current culture, it goes back to Genesis.
      •  Men and women were created differently because there were different things God wanted them to do.
      •  Men and women are completely equal in worth and dignity but functionally different.
      • God made Eve because Adam couldn't be an image-bearer of a trinitarian "God in community" by himself. 
      • Men, you are the pastor of your home.
      • Men, you don't work as a punishment for sin. You work because God created you to work. 
      • Men and women are to both be in interdependent community.
      • Men, your hope is not in your wife. Women, your hope is not in your husband. It is in Christ.
      If this message has been encouraging (or challenging) for you, Redeemer is currently offering three classes that will work through a lot of these difficult ideas during the summer. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post if you're interested in signing up for any of these:

      Monday, July 8, 2013

      What's Your Problem? : Message Recap

      This week Ty Schenzel, executive director for The Hope Center for Kids, gave a powerful presentation about the organization's ministry to the youth in North Omaha. If you missed it, you owe it to yourself to go back and hear the whole thing.

      Listen to the message

      If you would like more information on Ty and the Hope Center for Kids, you can read more in an article written about Ty (The Freemont Tribune: "Former Freemonter Runs Ministry for Inner City Kids) or an eBook written by Ty available through Amazon (A Thousand Screaming Mules: The Story of Stubborn Hope and One Dad's Dream to Transform Kids' Lives).

      Here are some highlights from the message. If you share any of these on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) please use this link as a reference: http://ow.ly/mLlxf
      • I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:8
      • The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. Psalm 25:14 
      • As the hands and feet of Jesus, we should be examining the things around us that are not right and work to make them right. - Pastor Lee
      • I believe a vision from the Lord is an idea from His heart to our heart. - Ty Schenzel
      • To the one who lives in hopelessness, consequences mean nothing. - Brenda Council
      And finally, a few videos from The Hope Center :

      Tuesday, July 2, 2013

      The Campfire and the Firecracker (a reflection on joy)

      I love Independence Day—mainly because of the explosions. Yeah, I certainly love our country and grilling out is great. But from the earliest age that my parents would permit, my inner pyromaniac would emerge every year around the end of June like Mr. Hyde with a burning punk clenched in each fist. All my best scar stories are somehow related to this most incendiary of holidays and I have little doubt that trend will continue.

      Fire also played a pivotal role in one of my other fondest childhood memories: camping. Specifically the campfire, without which a camping trip just devolves into a slumber party. I loved it when my dad would let me help him start the campfire. As I got older, I took pride in the designation among my friends as the person responsible for starting our fire in the harshest of conditions—even rain and snow.

      I mention these two things—the campfire and the firecracker—because in them I see a perfect contrast of the difference between the joy we can find in the Creator versus the happiness we get from created things. Allow me to explain.

      The Law of Diminishing Returns

      The firecracker is exciting, flashy, adrenaline-inducing. But it's so short-lived. There's a pop and bang—and then it's gone. And then you need another one. If you're like me, I just can't set off the next firecracker the same way as the last. I've gotta twist wicks together and set a bunch of them off at once. Or find something to blow up. The law of diminishing returns kicks in and I quickly get bored using the firecrackers the way the warning label instructs. Things can get pretty dangerous pretty quickly when you start using explosives in a way they were never designed to be used.

      But we do this every day, and with much more dangerous things than firecrackers. We get a flash of wealth, and suddenly we're consumed with the next big promotion, the next new car. We get a spark of sex and soon we're blowing up our lives with the next porn fix or one-night stand. We get a pop of success, and then we're lighting every wick in sight to sweeten our resume' or keep climbing the professional ladder.

      My point is not that money, sex, and success are bad things. They can all be gifts from God and can all be used wisely. But they will all flash and fade and if you're looking to them to give you the lasting joy that only God can give you. No matter what your sparkling fix is, you'll never be satisfied with it. It will never give you a happiness that lasts.

      There will just be a BANG...

      ...and a taste of gunpowder...

      ...and a hole in the ground.

      A Slow, Steady Burn

      But the campfire is different. It may not always be as exciting and sexy as the firecracker (though at times it can be) but it offers so much more than just temporary amusement. Instead of the painful light and lack of heat from the firecracker, the campfire offers warm light and steady heat. Where the former sends you running, the latter draws you in.

      And when the harsh realities of life set in—when the storm comes—only one can stay aflame and only one save your life:
      Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
        (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

      We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
        (2 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV)

      Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
        (James 1:2-3 ESV)
      So, what fires are you feeding in your life? Are you only setting flame to the things that will go POP in the end, or are you drawing closer to the only source of true light and warmth in this cold, dark world?