Showing items filed under “December 2016”

Why Jesus Matters

 

Be like the Son of Man.
He did not come to be served.
Instead, he came to serve others.
He came to give his life as the price for setting many people free.

(Matthew 20:28 NIRV)

 

What does it mean that Jesus came to Earth? That he laid down his heavenly Glory, and stepped into the world as a baby. To grow and live. To follow God with every breath, every step. To show us the way.

The way of love.

The way of peace.

The way of joy.

Do you know the love of Jesus? A love so deep that he calls you brother. The love that put you first when he gave his life for you so you could be with him for all eternity.

Do you know the peace of Jesus? The peace that passes all understanding. The peace that covers you when everything is chaos. The peace that breathes, “Be still, I AM.”

Do you know the joy of Jesus? The joy of knowing you are a child of the King. The joy of knowing that if God is for you nothing can stand against you. The joy of a fellowship with God that gives you purpose and passion.

If you don't know these things, you can when you get to know Jesus. When you decide that your way is inadequate and the only way to really have life is by allowing Jesus to lead your every step.

If you know Jesus, it’s time to act. Time to make it real. Time to share this love, this peace, this joy, with a world that is broken and hurting; a world that needs to know how much Jesus loves them.

How will you share Jesus with the world in 2017?

 


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Operation Christmas Child 2016 - it's a wrap!

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Severn Run had another amazing year serving and collecting for Operation Christmas Child. Each year Severn Run serves as a drop-off location during National Collection Week.

Here’s what happened this year:

  • 650 filled shoeboxes were returned to Severn Run
  • 3,657 shoeboxes were brought from outside the church and processed through the Church at Severn Run relay center
  • 24,940 shoeboxes were processed elsewhere and loaded at the Church at Severn Run filling four semi-trailers (representing a 9.5 % growth over last year's total)
  • Over 200 volunteer hours during collection week
  • The Church at Severn Run also sent 5 teams to the Baltimore processing center, totaling over 30 people

 

Operation Christmas Child offers a great opportunity to experience the spirit of Christmas that can leave lasting impressions. This opportunity also gives children a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus. My wife, who had participated in gifting boxes as a child, recalls the impact that experience had on her in terms of understanding how she could share God's love with a little girl of her same age halfway around the world. She also enjoyed feeling connected to someone who would delight in the same things she did. This is something that she still thinks of now as she continues to support Operation Christmas Child each year.

 

As for me, this was my first year packing a box and I really enjoyed it! I saw a few interviews with children who had received boxes and spoke of the love and importance they felt after receiving their gifts, which lead them to coming to know Jesus as lord of their lives. This was very encouraging for me and I became excited to help out. I had a lot of fun putting myself in the place of a 10-14 year old boy when selecting gifts for my shoebox this year. It had been a while since I got to check out slingshots and toy cars. 

The true spirit of Christmas is exemplified in Operation Christmas Child, where simple gifts in shoeboxes bring pure joy and love to children around the world. Along with the shoebox gifts, each child is invited into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which offers them the greatest gift that one could imagine. Samaritan's Purse estimates that over 150,000 volunteers have collected and distributed the shoebox gifts to 12 million children this year. This is a remarkable example of God's love for us as we share with those who could otherwise miss out on that love.

 

If you are interested in a life-changing experience with Operation Christmas Child, you don’t have to wait until next year. Here are some ways you can serve:

  • Being on the Church at Severn Run's lead team; which includes planning displays and setup fro Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week, serving at Chik-fil-a drop off days, and helping on Sunday's handing out shoeboxes, answering questions and such.
  • Operation Christmas Child has year-round volunteer opportunities available as well, of which both Elaine Stolarek-Houston and Pastor Steve are a part of. These teams include: Church Relations, Community Relations, Prayer team, Collection Network team, Student Relations, Media Relations, Admin Support, Logistics and Leadership.

We would love to have you on either of these teams. Please contact Pastor Steve at , or Elaine at , if you have questions or want to get involved.

 

What is Worship?

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Worship. How many of us have used that term without really knowing what it means? Is it singing songs to God? Is it what I do Sunday mornings at church? Can I do it with my family during the week or on my own in quiet moments? What does it mean to worship?

At a basic level, the word worship comes from the idea of ascribing worth to something or someone. The value that I place on any particular thing in my life shows the level of worth it has to me. Worshiping someone (or something) is a reflection of the value that you have given to that object in your life. When we worship God, we are ascribing worth to him, telling him that he is valuable to us.

So here is the reality about how God has made us: humans are created to worship. God has designed us in such a way that our hearts and our souls are ALWAYS worshiping. There is no ON/Off switch to this worship thing. It is always ON. We are always ascribing worth to things and people in our lives. So if I am always worshiping, the all-important question I have to ask myself is what is the object of my worship? What is it in my life that I place the most value towards?

Here are a couple of question that are helpful to think through when determining what you value most in your life.

  • What makes you the most angry?
  • What do you spend the majority of your free time thinking about?
  • What is your life organized around (work, kids, TV Shows, sports)?
  • What brings you the most happiness?
  • What do you look to for your security?
  • From where do you get your own sense of value or worth?

All of these questions help us evaluate what we value most. What your heart treasures most, you will find yourself worshiping.

God created us to be creatures of worship. He wants to be the center of our lives and the object of our worship. We have the opportunity to show God value and worth in our lives, to worship him, every minute of every day. The Apostle Paul offers a heartfelt encouragement to the church in Rome to worship God with their entire lives.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1).  

Paul offers us an insightful picture. My body is to be presented to God as my worship. That means that everything I do is meant to be worship, meant to be pleasing to God. Everything that I do with my hands, everything I say with my mouth, everything I dwell on in my head, every desire that I kindle in my heart—all of it is meant to be worship toward my creator. It’s overwhelming when I really stop and think about it and the implications for my life. Every moment of my day is worship. Every conversation I have is worship. Every time I interact with my boss, my children, my spouse, other drivers on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, or even that neighbor who really gets on my nerves, I have a chance to honor God, to worship God.

Singing praise and worship songs at church or even on the radio in the car are certainly acts of worship. But hopefully, my worship of God will extend far beyond the 75 minutes I spend in the church building on Sunday or some songs that I sing along to in the car while I’m driving.

Hopefully, as I set my gaze upon the Lord each morning, and open my heart to the Spirit’s leading in each moment, my heart will begin to treasure God more and more. As I preach the amazing grace of the Gospel of Jesus to myself everyday, and I consider how much Jesus loves me, I will treasure him more and more.

Because what I treasure, I will worship.

Jesus Came For Me

Jesus came for me

The scripture tells us that God created each and everyone of us to know and love. But the scripture also tells us the truth. That you and I made a choice to live as though love had never come. We looked at the life that God offered and we said, "No, we want to be in control, we want to call the shots!"

The scripture says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) Now we live in this crazy gap between where God wants us to be, in His love, and on the other side, the scripture says that "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) 

This death is serious! It's eternal. It separates us, it twists us --it makes us angry! 

It leads us down paths where we hurt people and it leads us to do stupid things sexually. It leads us to try other things to make us feel good in terms of chemicals and drugs and parties and gambling and all kinds of lies because the party always ends but the love of God never does!

And so the scripture says that God loved us so much that He built a bridge! This bridge was the life of Jesus! This was the love of Jesus! (John 3:16) 
 
Jesus died on that cross for you and for me, that we might believe in Him in a whole-hearted way, not in a distance way. Jesus died for us to lead us to die as well! To die to the death in us. To die to the anger in us. To die to the prejudice in us. To die to the hate in us. To die to the self in us! And when we're willing to die, then we get to live!
 
Jesus came and paid our death penalty completely. He died for us and He built a bridge and now we simply just have to choose whether or not we're willing to go across the bridge to the other side. -Dr. Drew Shofner

Worship At Home: Christmas Day 2016

Merry Christmas, Severn Run! We had an amazing afternoon of worship with you yesterday at our Christmas Eve services and we are so glad that you are enjoying a day of worship from home today. Let's jump in!

Welcome to Severn Run from your home!

Let's jump right into Worship!

Listen and/or sing with the first three songs on this playlist to get started.

Let's stop to pray.

As an individual or a family, take a couple of minutes to pray. Thank God for the blessing of Christmas. Thank Him for sending His Son to this earth to save us. Praise Him for His qualities that you are reminded of during this season. Ask him to help you learn something more about him during this worship time and to take that lesson and put it into practice. Amen!

Let's Learn Together!

Jesus For The World

Jesus.

You may be a brand new follower of Jesus, and you are just learning what it means. Or you may have been a follower for a long time and your faith is deep. The beauty of Christmas is that it presents the same message to all of us.

Jesus.

READ Luke 2:9-12
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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Jesus.

He was with God in the beginning and he was God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit acted together to create the universe, our world and humanity. He is the creative agent through whom all things were created.

READ John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus.

He stepped down from his position with God and took the form of a helpless baby. He lived a perfect life and died on the cross to rescue us from our sins.

READ Luke 1:30-33
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Jesus.

He transforms our lives. The moment we surrender to him, when we first let him in, our lives are eternally changed and redeemed. He comes to us and at once saves us, but also tells us to die to ourselves so he can begin the lifelong process of changing us from the inside out. He changes our family, our work, and our relationships with everyone around us.

READ 1 Corinthians 5:15-18
Christ died for everyone. He died so that those who live should not live for themselves anymore. They should live for Christ. He died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we don’t look at anyone the way the world does. At one time we looked at Christ in that way. But we don’t anymore. When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ.

Is this is the Jesus you know?

The Jesus who’s birth we celebrate today is the Jesus who came down to save you and me, and the whole world. What an amazing thing to celebrate! 

DISCUSS:

  • What ways has Jesus made an impact on your life?
  • Take a look at 1 Corinthians 5:15. It says, “Christ died for everyone.” How does this change in your mind the kind of impact that Jesus makes?

Jesus didn’t just come just so you could be saved. Jesus came for the world.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

He didn’t just come for someone. He came for everyone. He came because the whole world needs saving. The whole world longs for him, aches for connection to him and thirsts for water from him. Paul tells us in Romans that all of creation has been groaning waiting for him.

Jesus.

He is the answer.

The world needs him as desperately as we do. Your neighbors need him. Your classmates at school need him. Your community needs him. The world needs him.

He is the single greatest gift that anyone could ever give or receive.

Jesus.

He came for the world.

DISCUSS:

  • How can you and your family share Jesus with the world? 
  • What can you do to bring Jesus to the people in your life?
  • What resources do you have that Jesus would like you to use to tell people about him? 

PRAY:
Pray with your family that you would know the value of the gift God has given in Jesus and that you would have the desire and opportunity to share that gift with the world around you.

Time to respond in worship through song:

Listen to or sing with the fourth song on this playlist.

Now it's time to respond in worship through giving:

Let's pray together for our gifts.
"Lord, thank you for coming to the Earth as a baby. You truly are God with us. We are so thankful for the gift of salvation that you brought to us through your life, death, and resurrection. God we recognize that Jesus is not just for me, but for the world. This is why we choose to give back today. So that every man, woman, boy, and girl can come to know you personally. Use my gifts to Severn Run to help us reach 5000 more people for Jesus in our area. Thank you for giving us the greatest gift of all. Amen!"

Now let's celebrate our way out with one more song!

Listen to or sing with the last song:

Thanks for joining us in worship online! Be sure to join us again on-campus next Sunday, January 1, 2017 at 9:30 AM, 11 AM, or 12:30 PM.

Did you worship from home? Let us know how it went in the comments or by posting a picture to our Facebook page, or on Twitter & Instagram with #ChristmasAtSR

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