1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." It's like Jim Elliot said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."To us who believe in Jesus, this...
During the Christmas holidays it is custom that we listen to Christmas and winter themed music. Many of us go out and decorate, purchase greeting cards, and look for ways to see close but distant family members. What we also try to do is make lasting memories with our children and spouse. Many...
You see the message everywhere…billboards, television, shops, malls, front yards, newspapers, magazines…it’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Feel the joy! Joy to the World rings out from the radio, church choirs, elevators, carolers, and the speakers of every...
The brokenness of our lives, in the hands of our savior, is sea glass that God shines through to reveal His love, beauty and truth to others. But if we will not yield our lives, if we quit and walk away, then not only do we lose, but others don't get to see the beauty of God's hand on...
Jesus came to lead us out of a dead and dying world into an everlasting Kingdom! The bridge to this new world is the cross and the simple reality is that entering the new means leaving the old! We're called to give up our own "world building" and the portrait of how we think life should...
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When we stop living for our own glory, we stop being limited by our own abilities and our own efforts and we begin to live by the power of God - the Holy Spirit inside of us! That's very clearly what the scripture teaches. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul asked God three times to take...
1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." This message that love could be love in the pain. That love could be love in the struggle. That love has to die and hurt -is the story of the...
A Canaanite woman who lived in that region came to him. “Son of David!” she cried out. “Have mercy on me, sir! My daughter has a demon and is in a terrible condition.” But Jesus did not say a word to her. (Matthew 14:22-23) Is this how you feel...
We're all masters at missing the point. Almost all of the ugliness and damage that has been done in Christian and church history is because we miss the point. One of the crucial turning points of faith is rejecting the legalism that the human heart longs for. Legalism (religious rules)...
All my life I’ve been told what to do.
I grew up as a PK (Pastor’s Kid), so I’ve known what tithing is and why we do it for as long as I can remember.
The problem is, the humanity in me has told me that I had a million logical reasons not to. I’m also not afraid to admit that for a good portion of my life, I just plain didn’t care. This took me down a dark path my first five to six years in the military, and not tithing is the least of the transgressions I’d rather soon forget. But, my life changed a few years back and I finally found that what I knew my whole life was not only realer than I could imagine, but that it finally mattered to me. However, even though my heart was in a better place, tithing still wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list. I think that I started tithing more, but it was intermittent at best, and depended on what I had left instead of giving up front.
Fast forward two years and here we are showing up in Maryland. We had had an awesome church back in California. I knew that it would be tough to replace, but we began looking for a church immediately. The very first church we tried was Severn Run. I instantly knew that I was home, and my wife felt the same way.
As time has gone by these past two years since we started attending services here, we’ve plugged in to various outlets and groups of the church. I went to Fight Club for a little while, and my wife has been a big part of the Mom’s connect group. I joined the writing team (and of course, I’m still here), and my wife helps watch the kids every other Sunday. Despite that, it wasn’t until the “On the Road” campaign that started last year that we actually started tithing a set amount on a consistent basis. At that point, I committed to give more than I ever had before in my life, but the thing is it still wasn’t 10%; it still wasn’t as much as I could have been giving.
I like to think that I’ve always been generous with my money, but the funny thing is I was never generous to God; the one place where my money was fully deserved and where it’s use would go beyond a full belly or short-lived smile. Not that those things don’t matter, but I know that God can do a thousand times more of those things than I ever could, if only I would give to him.
Recently Pastor Drew had talked about “The Given Life” and his series of messages spoke to my heart. I knew what I needed to do, but week after week I struggled to do it. I looked at how much 10% would be, and it felt like a LOT to me. I thought that it was doable, but that perhaps some things might have to give if I was going to make it work. I put it off for a few weeks, but finally I broke down and knew that I couldn’t wait any longer. I knew what I needed to do.
So…I did it.
We use online giving, which is great because I’m super forgetful and don’t ever carry around much cash. There’s no way I could be consistent if that feature wasn’t available. So, I went in there and updated my giving to ensure that I was in fact giving away 10% of my paychecks on a bi-weekly basis. I didn’t quite know how it was going to look those first two weeks that it started to come out, but I trusted God to take care of us.
I also felt compelled to share what I had done, so before writing this blog post I shared what I had done on Facebook, and added a little challenge to the friends I had who went to Severn Run. I felt like I should do this because of Pastor Drew’s words on how our church’s average was well below the national average. I don’t know how much all our friends give, but that’s not the point. I did not want it to seem like I was boasting, but I felt that people needed to see that step of faith and feel challenged to do the same. And if what I did might do that, even for one person, then it was worth it.
So, April 1st came and the first installment of my tithe came out. I was sitting on the computer downstairs playing videogames, because that’s what I sometimes do on a lazy Saturday morning, when my wife comes down and brings me a letter she just got in the mail. Inside the letter was a rather large check that neither of us were expecting, along with a letter. The check was from a stocks fund set up by my wife’s grandparents that was supposed to be distributed evenly to all the grandkids. Instantly I was blown away. I didn’t even think for a second that this was by accident. I knew that only God could do timing like that. For so long I had avoided doing what I should, and when I finally did it and put my trust in God, he was already ready to take care of us.
I don’t think that it always happens this way, or in this kind if perfect timing, but I do know that God rewards faith. I don’t know that everyone will see as ‘tangible’ a result of their faith as I did, but I do know that in God’s perfect timing and ways, he is always looking out for us. Because only God could set in motion events years before the day that I would finally say that I had the faith to step out of my circle of safety and into the waves of uncertainty. I don’t fully know what lies ahead, but I know that if I keep my eyes on him, I will never have to fear sinking below the surface.
My only hope is that through my giving, others may come to know the peace that has transformed my life and has given me the strength to do what’s unnatural to my humanity. I know that it will make all the difference.
Written by Hannah Martin
The fall of humanity, is when the fog began
Our desire to be God almighty, instead of human
Degenerate by disobedience, we chose a living death
We try and fight against it from our first cry to our last breath
The suffocating fog, is the result of our sin
It holds and keeps us captive unable to breath in
Powerless to escape it, we stay in our darkened cells
With chains of addiction and loneliness, this is our living hell
Our pain becomes our normal, our sin becomes our friend
As we sit in our distorted comfort believing there will not be an end
Our souls cried out for a rescue, begging for someone to come
Is there no one who can save us from the prisons of the evil one?
(Jesus’ LIfe and death)
The heartbeat of heaven descended on the Earth
He breathed the same air, he walked the same dirt
He was God in the flesh living here among us,
The creator in the creation sent to redeem us
Leaving his title, He stepped down from his throne
He wrapped on our flesh, made this planet his home
He brought sight to the blind and brought steps to the lame
Healing the lives of the very souls that he’d made
The love he had for you outweighed the pain of the cross
He knew what laid before him, he’d counted the cost
All the flesh that was torn, all the blood that was shed
He decided, it was worth it so you could live instead
We can’t imagine his suffering, we cannot measure his pain
As he hung there, his body bearing all the weight of our shame
The prince of heaven surrendering to death’s snare
The armies of heaven awaited orders for the father to send them there
But God slowly turned his head, took his eyes off of His son
The Son cried out to his father, it is finished, it is done
His body still and lifeless, no pulse, no breath
The creator of the heavens and earth hung silenced by death
Please don’t miss this next point, every word of it is true
As he passed from life to death all he thought about was YOU
The darkness was rejoicing, declaring they had won,
Evil was victorious, for in hell’s arms laid heavens son
But as the dawn began to break on day 3 of hell’s victory
Christ opened his eyes, and took a breath, his heart began to beat
A thunderous quake of glory shattering death’s stronghold
He stood and shook death off like nothing, as the giant stone was rolled
The evil of hell was no match for him, he’d conquered death and grave
The darkness left defenseless, leaving no man satan’s slave
Our God cannot be conquered, He has no match, He has no equal
Did satan really think he could separate God from his people
The curse that was upon us has been lifted in Jesus’ name
For now we are no longer slaves, our ransom has been paid
Sinners rejoice! Your fate has changed, for you have been set free
Your chains of sin fell off of you when he opened his eyes and BREATHED!
Don’t tell me He’s not enough for you, he took on hell and won
The resurrection is our promise in life we can overcome
The fog has now been lifted! The darkness has been exposed
The suffocating hold was broken when the Son of God arose!
There’s no situation, no circumstance that he cannot redeem
Give him all, even the deadest parts, new life in them He’ll BREATHE
So you are a new believer! Welcome to the family! You're excited to begin your walk and wondering… What's next?
You may also be asking things like…
- How do I become a part of the church?
- How do I grow in my prayer life?
- Should I get baptized?
Here's a good place to begin answering some of those questions.
Grow In Your Personal Relationship with God
Just as we would develop our relationship with a spouse by spending time with them and being in constant communication, we need to develop a relationship with God by spending time with him and being in constant contact.
We communicate with God through prayer throughout each day as we seek guidance and assistance. It is also important to make “quiet time” a priority. A “quiet time” is a time we set aside each day to focus on discussing with God our triumphs, our failures, and our struggles. Many people also read personal Bible studies or devotionals during their quiet time. There are many great resources for these studies online.
You don’t even have to follow a plan to grow your relationship with God. You can simply read a few chapters in your Bible (the books of John or Matthew are a good place to start), and after you read, pray and ask God what he wants you to know from what you read. This kind of daily communication with God will help you grow in your faith and learn how to communicate with and listen to God.
Baptism is an important symbol of our decision to declare Jesus as Lord of our lives. There is nothing magical about the personal experience, but baptism brings attention to what God is doing in our lives and that is what makes it such a critical step in a new believer's walk. We have a huge celebration when a new believer rises out of the water, and there is an even bigger celebration in heaven.
Join the Severn Run community
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them. (Matthew 18:19-20)
Throughout the bible, we are encouraged to connect with other believers. An easy way to begin connecting is to join the church. This simply requires attending a Membership Matters class one Sunday afternoon, where we discuss the passions of the Church at Severn Run and hear about all of the places where we can play our parts within the church.
A common saying at Severn Run is that “life is better connected”. This sums up the idea behind Connect Groups, where a group of believers share real-life together. There are Connect Groups covering all stages of life, often with multiple times to fit different schedules. Connect Groups give us the opportunity to grow into real and honest relationship with others. This happens through shared life experiences, friendship and encouragement during our walk with Christ.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)
The final passion of our church is to serve others. There is a limitless number of ways to serve, but what is important is that we find our gift. We find our gift(s) by prayerfully looking for different opportunities to serve and being willing to say “yes” to God when those opportunities arise. This may require us to step outside our comfort zone, but when we have faith, that is when God can really take over in our lives and do wonderful things.
Finally, finding a friend to help you walk through your new faith journey will help you tremendously. The Church at Severn Run is eager to walk beside you as you learn about God’s love for you. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need any help. You can call the office at 410-551-6654. You can email us at
In the middle of what was supposed to be a restful night’s sleep, Bob Ogle heard from Jesus. It was 3 AM and He had a response for something Bob had been pondering.
Pastor Drew always encourages Severn Runners to serve outside of the walls of our church building. Bob and his Connect Group, Hearts and Minds, had been exploring options for where their group could become involved in Loving Well and Living Jesus in our community. At 3 that morning Bob felt his heart turn toward the men, women and families represented in the Anne Arundel County Western District Police Station.
Hearts and Minds decided they would utilize Valentine’s Day to share “Boxes of Love” that included a donated Chick-Fil-A gift card, a hand-written note, several edible goodies, and a laminated “Policeman’s Prayer” card. They prayed over the boxes and delivered them to the station on February 13th so that the officers coming in at midnight in the wee hours of Valentine’s Day would receive a box at the beginning of their shift.
On Valentine’s Day at 11:30AM, this “unofficial” response came via the Severn Run website:
“I wanted to take a second to thank you all for the Valentine’s Day gifts you brought to us at the Western District. I can’t explain just how much these acts of community service mean to myself and my colleagues, and how appreciative we are when our community reaches out to thank us.
This message is not being sent to you as representative of the police department, but as a fellow citizen and community member who is extremely moved by the gesture your church has made to us as law enforcement officers. I want you all to know that I am thankful to be able to serve you, and that coming in today to the box on my desk helps me to maintain the perspective that despite the troubled times we find ourselves currently facing in our profession, we have the support of our community. Thank you all.”
Signed “Thankful Detective”
Hearts and Minds are continuing to grow their relationship and ministry with the West County department. They performed lawnmower tune-ups for the officers, and recently teamed up with the Moms of Severn Run Group to host a Police Appreciation Breakfast in the Severn Run Atrium.
“You can really form relationships over a heaping pile of bacon!” Bob mused. “The officers got to see that we are not the ‘caricature of religion’ that Andy Stanley talked about in Go Fish and truly had a good time just getting to know us.”
The morning was lively and fun as officers let the kids attending the breakfast sit in their cruisers and blast the siren, and warm conversations abounded.
Next, Bob and the Hearts and Minds Group are planning to host a car wash and cook-out for the officers in the coming months.
“Our goal is to never let them forget that there are so many out there who respect them, admire them, and appreciate the sacrifice that they (and their families) make to keep us safe. AND to pray for them daily.”
Everyone loves a good party, a celebration that includes gifts, delicious food, joyful music, good friends and family. Add to that a baby. Everyone’s heart softens when a baby is part of the conversation. They are cuddly, cute, and generally smell wonderful. Add a small stable, a mystical star, angels, wise men and a few shepherds and you have one of the greatest and well-known stories in all of history.
Many people celebrate but most miss the point. Although the birth of Christ is a defining moment in history, it took another 33 years before it became meaningful. It took a death and a resurrection to make a birth a momentous occasion.
Without Easter, specifically without the resurrection of Christ, there would be nothing. No Christmas celebration, no New Testament, no early believers, no coming of the Holy Spirit. Basically there would be no Christianity as we have known it to be throughout history. This is a uncomfortable thought.
The more penetrating thought however is that there would have been no Savior. The curtain would not have been torn, death would not have been overcome, and we would not have the unconditional forgiveness, grace and eternal life now extended to us through Jesus.
This could have been the outcome of that quiet night in Bethlehem. Jesus had options, he could have chosen to end the story in the garden with a plea to his Father. Instead Jesus prays to be obedient, he prays for his disciples, and finally he prays for all believers.
Jesus’s death isn’t the end of his ministry, it was the finale that moved to new beginnings.
It was his glory.
The reason for his birth.
The death turned resurrection is the key to God’s saving grace and an outcome of his love for us.
Paul, writing to the people of the church of Corinth, in I Corinthians 15:3-4, said, “For what I received I passed on you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Paul makes it clear that the resurrection isn’t just important, it is of first importance.
From there Paul goes on to say in verses 13-14, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
It is the resurrection of Easter we remember and celebrate as the key to Christianity. Christ died and was resurrected giving us life. This is the only way life could have been given to us. It was through the love of God we are given what we don’t deserve.
John 3:16 sums it up for us: “For God so loved the world (us), that he gave his one and only son (Jesus) that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Believe, celebrate, and accept the love gift of eternal life God made available through Jesus to all on that Easter morning so many years ago.