The Man who would be King

Posted: October 23, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

There are two kinds of people in the world: the repentant and the unrepentant. And God makes sure unrepentant people get what they deserve, as we saw with Abimelech from Judges 9. Why was Abimelech so intent on being king? He was a broken man fighting for significance, having an inferiority complex. It’s not wrong to feel like you don’t measure up or to feel that you’re broken. The issue and question is where are you going to be healed. Fallen broken people like us weren’t meant to fix ourselves. Whenever we play doctor, we make a bigger mess than what we started with. We all make attempts to fill our God shaped holes in our hearts with things that don’t fully satisfy. We have to learn how to take those natural longings of significance to Jesus, so he can be that for us. Are you closer to unbelievers than Christians? Do you have a habit of linking arms with people who you know won’t ever challenge you or call you out? Do you find yourself moving away from people you feel or know won’t give you a pass and will check you on your sin? If the people around you aren’t actively point you to Jesus, you are living in isolation and God did not intend for anyone to do life and live life in isolation. On the flip side, a community of yes-men and enablers is no community at all. That’s why we need people who will not tell us what we want to hear but to reel us in when we get off track.

Abimelech ruled Israel for 3 years, operating in a position which God did not intended for him to have, and there was silence. Based on what happened next,  we see that it would be foolish to think that God’s silence as a sign of his approval. God, the just and righteous judge, makes sure Abimelech gets what he deserves. We are like Abimelech in so many ways, deserving of God’s unsuspecting wrath. But thanks be to God, someone was willing to stand in our place. Jesus Christ, the ultimate judge, the true king whose only desire was to do the will of God, did not need a community of yes-men to bolster his claim to be the king of king because he already had his cosign from the Father. God makes sure that unrepentant people get what they deserve, but he also makes sure that repentant people get the mercy and grace that they do not deserve. Are you doing the right things for the wrong reasons? Do you really believe God is just? You can listen to this powerful message by Randy Wimbley on Judges 9 HERE
Thanks again to the brothers at Mosaic Church who invited us to be part of the men’s retreat. It was a great time of fellowship, and our hope is that all the men would be constantly reminded of God’s Grace over our lives, the power of Prayer, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit (GPS)!

 

The Danger of Success

Posted: October 15, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

Have you ever caught yourself sticking out your chest for something that you shouldn’t be taking credit? In the second part of our study of Gideon, we see the fall of this great judge of Israel. As we read in Judges 8, Gideon, who went from doubting to doing, then went to chest thumping. We saw how there are danger signs that maybe indicate that you are not leading or handling success well. You might avoid needed tough conversations, in bondage of being liked by everyone. You might have anger against those who buck your authority. You also might be abusing your authority for personal gain, for things such as money and for more power, or for acclaim and identity. Lastly, you might professionalize hypocrisy, having a studied ability to say what is right but practice what is wrong. Gideon did some good things but he also left a hot mess. However, there was another leader who had all the right to demand first-class service. Unlike Gideon, Jesus resisted the temptation to gain power and authority for himself. He had all the right to be served, but he himself served the ones who did not deserve anything. 

In order to defend against the dangers of success one must remember that true leaders are servant leaders, that we are tools with expiration dates. We also need to remember that gifting is from the Lord and that he is not impressed by our giftedness but rather our godliness. We must not forget that we are a target of the enemy and his weapon is pride, and that God in his sovereignty may allow struggles in our lives to keep us grounded. But more than anything, we must always remember that we are constantly drenched in His Grace. The message of the cross is that we are forgiven, and we can lead from the cross as crucified leaders. Because Jesus was extraordinary we can be ordinary, and because he was somebody we can be nobodies. Which of those danger signs got you? If you lead anything or have been successful at anything, this message is for you. You can hear the message by Pastor Mike HERE!

This upcoming weekend, the men of Restore will join our fellow brothers from Mosaic church to a men’s retreat. The theme is Compelled – In brokenness, Toward Jesus, Into Mission. Please pray for this retreat, that it may not only be a great time of fellowship, but also a time in which the men are empowered by the Gospel of our Lord and Savior!

 

 

From Doubter to Doer

Posted: October 8, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

Has God ever called you to do something that scares you or that you doubt that you can do? Leading something? Sharing Jesus? Reaching across some line? Having a hard conversation? Inviting a neighbor over for dinner? Committing to a relationship? Giving up something? If you have never felt God calling you to something that seems hard, you are probably not listening to the Spirit. But if you know that uneasy feeling, you’re in good company. In contrast to the Sunday-school Superman version, Gideon was a doubting man. He was a fearful man. But God moves this doubter to be a doer. In the same way God moves us to become doers. It was his Word, his Spirit, and his Grace, that moved Gideon from doubting to doing. God in his grace meets us in our weakness. Grace at its core is God making us alive in our deadness, not something we can earn but something that we receive through Christ in his death and resurrection. Jesus struck sin, death, hell, and Satan to bring us home. Let us open our hearts so that this promise of God awakens us to obedient action, and may we worship Him as we are awestruck by his grace. We can’t move ourselves, but there is a God who can. Are you being moved? Are you aware of your tailor made grace? You can listen to this powerful message on Judges 6-7 by Pastor Mike HERE.

This Friday (10/10), we continue with our monthly rhythm of prayer and fasting As we did last month, prayer topics will be posted throughout the day, and then 6-7pm we will have a power hour of prayer at the PO. When we get those hunger pains, let us remember to draw our strength from the true Bread of Life!

 

The God Who Needs No Wingman

Posted: October 2, 2014 by Peter Ashmore in Uncategorized

A prophetess? Is there a place of leadership for women in the church? As we continued with our sermon series Darkness vs. Light, we saw how Judges 4 and 5 shed light on God’s design for women in leadership. We read about Deborah who was not only a prophetess and a judge but also a faithful wife. Her identity as a woman is made very clear but so is her role as a leader. We also read about Barak, a man called to lead but who does not, initially, obey God’s command. Barak recognized that Deborah’s presence as a prophetess symbolized God’s presence with the nation of Israel, so he wanted to have Deborah in his presence so that God would be with him in his military expedition. However through Deborah, God had already promised his presence with him; Barak’s hesitancy revealed a lack of belief. As a result of his unbelief, a woman received the glory for doing the job he was suppose to –  killing the commander of the Canaanites. Deborah’s prophecy that he would not receive the glory was fulfilled. Because the men in Israel were not leading in the midst of turmoil, Deborah led, and models womanly leadership by complementing  Barak – she supports him in the battle and uses her strengths to strengthen the men around her. In other words, her womanly glory was found in how she strengthened Barak and God received the glory so that the nation is saved. 

 

Despite his initial unbelief, Barak eventually does obey God and he is recognized as one of the examples of faith in Hebrews 11. We see here how God honors us even in the midst of our brokenness. Hundreds of years later, we encounter a man who obeyed God fully where Barak failed to obey. He needed no assistance in giving God the glory, unlike Barak who needed Deborah. His name was Jesus. It was his obedience that took him to the cross on behalf of all of our sins so that we could come before the throne of God. As Barak did, we are to make war against the enemies of God in the midst of our doubt, weaknesses and sin. We are called to this battle because the battle has already been won. We fight from the victory of Christ and he assures his presence with us through his Spirit. In light of our sin and doubt, let’s serve God because it’s worth it. You can listen to this message on Judges4-5 by Peter Ashmore HERE.

Speaking of men, October 17-18 Restore and Mosaic Church are partnering up for a men’s retreat! Please email Peter Ashmore at for more details and to sign up. This Friday (10/3) is the last day to sign up for the retreat, so don’t wait!

Thank you for those you helped and served last Friday so that Propaganda and his crew could make the stop at the PO to worship God through their music.  Let us continue to pray for the group as they are still on tour. May we be a church that celebrates art as a form of genuine worship so that our Creator God receives all the glory!

 

 

 

God uses the Unlikely

Posted: September 25, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

Do we think that God only uses the physically attractive, winsome, popular, well-spoken people to do his work? When we see the imperfections, struggles, and limitations in our lives, we may get caught up in believing in the lie that God could never use us. However, as we see in Judges 3:7-31, and the rest of the book of Judges, God uses the unlikely to do his work. He uses the young who are often disrespected, the weak who seem incapable, and the simple who do not have the highly complicated knowledge or technology. All of these unlikely rescuers such as Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar, pointed to the ultimate unlikely rescuer Jesus. Despite being sinless, not using deception, and not needing assistance, he was an outsider. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46) What we read in Isaiah 53 shows us how our Savior did not fit the profile of the rescuer of all of God’s people. Nevertheless, this unlikely story of salvation through the birth, dead, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is what we know as the Gosepl. You can hear this message by Pastor Mike on Judges 3:7-21 continuing with our sermon series Darkness & Light. HERE. The unlikely savior uses unlikely people to do unlikely things so that he may receive all the glory and we may get the joy. How is he using you today?

This upcoming Friday (9/26), artist Propaganda will be performing at the PO! Tickets are still on sale HERE. You can also buy tickets at the door. The show starts at 8:00 pm, and doors open at 7:30 pm. Parking is limited so try to carpool!

 

 

Spiritual Degeneration

Posted: September 16, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

What causes a next generation to follow after other gods? What causes a person who was walking with the Lord to wile out? In the second message from our sermon series Darkness & Light we see how there was spiritual degeneration when God became small in the hearts of the Israelites. This does not mean that they didn’t know who God was. They knew about God and they heard about the miracles, but God no longer had weight in their hearts. In other words, they knew about him ritualistically but not relationally. As God became small, replacement gods became big in their hearts. Those who are seeking to have influence over their surroundings must have a genuine love for God, apply the Gospel in everyday life, and glory in God’s story in their life. Is God being big in our hearts a gift or a responsibility? YES (meaning both)! It is a gift because of how divine lasik surgery enables us to see God’s glory, but there is also a responsibility in that we need to continue to pursue the circumcision of our hearts.

What is God’s response to spiritual degeneration? There is judgment. Some may find that God’s judgment is unjust, but Scripture makes it clear that his judgment is actually a token of his faithfulness as he had warned and sworn. If you think that what you’ve read in the book of Judges is too violent, there is a place far more violent, where the wicked violence of the ages fell – the cross. The cross is where God himself bore all the sins of the people who rebelled against him. However, because God bore his own judgment, he can now extend his mercy. The same God who heard the groaning of the Israelites in Egyptian slavery, who heard the groaning of his people in slavery of the Canaanites 400 years later, is the same God who hears our groaning, has pity on use, and delivers us. Jesus is a present tense savior who hears our groaning again, again, and again. We’ve all wondered and complained to God why he wouldn’t just take away the source of our temptations. As a fatherly teacher, God at times doesn’t remove the source of our temptations to test to see if we really trust him and to teach us how to fight against sin as we depend upon him. We see that the Israelites failed the test. The issue is not whether or not we struggle with our sins. Rather, it is whether or not we will fight against sin out of Christ’s victory. As we fight, we will grow in the reality of the assurance that we truly belong to the Lord. You can listen to this message from Pastor Mike on Judges 2:6-3:6 HERE.

A quick update on Pastor Clete! As Pastor Mike said during announcements, Pastor Clete was at Meadow Brook Church in Leamington, ON Canada. He had great conversations with Pastor Greg Allen and made some great connections. Let us continue to pray for Pastor Clete!

Halfway Obedience

Posted: September 9, 2014 by Nick in Uncategorized

Gang rape. Mass murder in a family. Man sacrifices his daughter. What in the world? These are just some of the gruesome acts in the book of Judges. The reality is, this hard core book shows us what happens when man does what is good in his own eyes. It is also a commentary on what goes on around the world today. Thankfully, we also see in this book that in the deepest darkness there is light and hope through the True Hero Judges points us to.

In the opening chapter, we get a glimpse of what sets Israel up for a nasty downward spiral — halfway obedience. It looks good for a minute, finds excuses, involves compromise, and is ultimately and actually full-bore disobedience. In God’s mercy this can lead us to the cross, the ground zero of the New Covenant. What makes the new covenant better is that Jesus fulfills the old covenant for us, he upholds both sides of the deal! To accomplish this He wasn’t just given over to the pagan nations as was Israel the nation, but as the true Israel of God, he was given over to the wrath of God. What should our response be? We should be led to repentance, and the proof of our repentance is to turn around (2 Cor. 7:10-11). We will not obey fully in this life, but because of Jesus we can repent genuinely. You can listen HERE to Pastor Mike’s opening message from Judges in our new sermon series Darkness & Light.