Showing items for 'March 2016'

Showing items filed under “March 2016”

Resurrection: Why It Matters

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Our redemption began with the Incarnation - the story of an infinite God who became a man and lived among us in a broken world full of decay.

Then it was the Atonement – the story of an infinite God who wrote a personal check that paid our huge debt, and sacrificed himself for our sins. Jesus’ death then became the most meaningful murder in all of human history.

If you entered into relationship with Jesus in incarnation, connected with his death in faith to live Jesus, then where is your victory without the risen king?

This is the Resurrection.

Everything about Jesus is unique: The prophecies of his coming, his birth, his incarnation, atonement, teachings, miracles, and his death and resurrection. It is especially his resurrection that gave us the full validity of Jesus. He did not stay in the grave, but he rose from the dead just as he said he would.

Some skeptics and unbelievers say that to believe in a risen Christ is nothing more than a blind leap of faith with little or no basis in truth.

But we have the answer from Paul in no uncertain terms: “…if Christ has not been raised then we, out of all people, are to be “pitied,” for our hope in Christ fails to extend beyond this present life.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)

He continues: “But since Christ has been raised, we are those who can look death in the face knowing that it has no final victory, no lasting sting.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55)

Without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no hope of a future. But because Christ is risen, we, as those who are in Christ, have every assurance that our labor in sharing this gospel of the risen Christ to a broken generation is not pointless or without purpose, but will matter for all eternity. Therefore, we must not forget that the resurrection of Christ changes everything. Without it, we have no gospel, no salvation and certainly no saving message.

Jesus’ Resurrection sets Christianity apart by breaking the power of death and sin with a final confirmation to live free and believe big!

For 40 days after his death and resurrection, Jesus appeared many times to his disciples and followers. On one occasion, he gathered his remaining eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee and gave them his great commission.

He said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:19-20)

Later, he asked his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled with the Holy Spirit and then to take his message to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world (Acts 1:4,5,8).

The ascension of Jesus was the final act in the journey of our redemption. His mission was completed and he was exalted to his former glory.

But Jesus still sees us, stays with us, has a personal relationship with us, and still lives amongst us through the Spirit.

If Jesus’ Incarnation was the most humbling event, and his Atonement was the most meaningful murder in the whole of human history, indeed his Resurrection was the most revolutionary event in the whole of human history.

Listen to why the resurrection matters here!

A Fight Club You Can Talk About

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“It’s not about becoming more of a man or admitting to other men you’re not doing something right. It’s about making choices that get you one-step closer on your journey toward Christ”                                                                                                            – Sean DeLair

Fight Club has just begun another Iteration. Each Iteration is a 12-week commitment wherein men must complete a few tasks in several categories each week: relational, physical, mental, and spiritual. Some tasks are a simple as reading a Proverb daily while others can be more difficult like run a mile a couple of days this week. Accountability to other men in the program is vital. While there is encouragement along the way, not every man graduates from the program. It’s a strenuous commitment, but all the graduates have cause to be proud of their work and achievement.

All the Fight Club leaders have made it through the program at least one time. One leader tried a couple of other times and failed. It’s not easy, but “you learn something every time”, he says.

What’s that you say? Not ready for a 12-week commitment of serious sacrifice? No problem. You’ll be encouraged to take the plunge when God tells you it’s time but until then, you can hang out with the guys at their regular Connect Group at 8:30 Wednesday nights at the church building.

Lots of men aren’t particularly overcome with enthusiasm at the thought of sitting around with a bunch of dudes talking about their issues. However the Fight Club guys are the best bunch of dudes around. Sean DeLair says, “We’ve been conditioned about what being a man looks like. We’re trying to break out of that box. In the “box” real men are loners and don’t talk, but that’s not biblical. It’s not what we’re created for.”

Fight Club guys talk about real issues, real struggles, real pain, real temptation. They explore what the Bible says and how God wants them to handle it well as an example to their families and others. In the world’s view, “men aren’t supposed to show weakness when they’re vulnerable, but to share that weakness with others who can point you toward Christ is actually the most courageous thing”.

View Will Skelton’s testimony here and consider getting connected with Fight Club.

Why does Jesus' death matter?

Why does Jesus' death matter

Why does Jesus' death matter?  

Not as some historical artifact of time passed, but why is it the center of what matters in my life and in your life? Matthew 27:1-45 talks about the death of Jesus, the murder at the center of all human history. 

With all that you have to do. With the bills to pay, the schools to go to, the things to learn, the love to find, the love to give, the children to raise - whatever it is that so occupies your mind and your heart, whatever it is that you think is most important right now, there is something more important still. It is not some long ago disconnected event, it is the centerpiece of your life! 

Romans 3:25 says "God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood." The Atonement is where Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sins. So Jesus became a sacrifice, and by believing in the meaning of what God did in dying for us, our sins can be lifted, forgiven, erased - carried away! 

It matters because Jesus' death defeats the gravity of 'The Fall' - that's what it does! In "The Fall," we chose our own way, we rebelled against God and the result was we were cast out of Eden. We wanted freedom from the love and relationship of God and what we got was insanity, chaos, brokenness and the gravity of sin introduced a cancer into all of life!

Gravity - There is this continual 'pulling down' of force that is unseen and unstoppable and it not only affects physical objects, it effects everything in your life! 

Every relationship. 
Every good intention that you have. 
It affects your mind and how you think about money and sexuality...there is a downward pull on those things. 

Let's think about being depressed. What does being 'depressed' mean? It means something is pushing down! 

In most of our lives, there are like one or two sins that are like drugs, they offer us something 'other than' God, and we turn to them over and over again. Then we say we'll never do that again and then 'gravity' happens and then the attempt to lift it up - but down it goes!

All of this is what the Bible tells us is part of 'The Fall'. 

In Jesus' death, He was an atoning sacrifice that literally answered and canceled all of the sin of all of humanity - when we believe! 

So the gravity of 'The Fall' is beaten, when we connect the death of Jesus with our living, and we can then live defying gravity until Heaven comes!

What I'm telling you is that when we believe in the death of Jesus, we become free and the downward force of the gravity is overcome! 

Now I want you to understand, we are living in the age of redemption. There is an age of restoration that is coming when there will be no more sin!

No more downward pull. No more gravity!

But I until then, if you are a believer, do not think that you are a failure because you have to struggle - you are a great success! An airplane has to struggle to get off the ground and defy gravity! Even after it launches into the air, it can't then say "Ok, I'm in the air, everything should be easy, shut the engines off!" Yet, some believers say "Oh, I accepted Jesus, everything should be easy if God loves me, no more tears, no more pain, no more crying." No, that's heaven, but until then, we have to go through it, we have to keep moving forward, we have to overcome in faith through God's grace! 

In our struggle, until the restoration, we have the promise of God that we do not have to be victims of our own lust, of our own consumerism, we do not have to live depressed and down, we can soar as high as the grace of God! There will always be a struggle here on planet earth, but so what, we can win! Jesus' death defeats the gravity of the fall; you are not fated to fail!

The scripture says, in 1 John 2:2, "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, not only for ours, but for the sins of the whole world." Jesus died for you - If you and I will connect the meaning of His death to the ongoing meaning of our lives, everything changes! Father God I pray, in Jesus' name, that we would hear the story of the death of Jesus and that we would connect the meaning of His death to the living of our lives! -Dr. Drew Shofner

It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.

Galatians 2:20 

Jesus said, 'My cross is not merely my cross, it is my invitation for you to carry your cross as well.' (paraphrased) Mark 8:34 says, "And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

You cannot be a follower of Jesus Christ without following Him onto 'the cross.' You cannot experience a ressurection without a crucifixion. And in this fallen world, as we make our way through to the restoration, we have to carry the cross!  In Luke 9:24 Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." 

When things are hard sometimes, one of the lies of hell is, "I don't even want to live, I just want to kill myself." That's just satan twisting a truth of God. You do need to die, but you don't need to take your physical life! 

You need to give your life to God!
What needs to die-is your will to control. What needs to die-is your will to determine. 
What needs to die-is your will-period!

I guarantee you, that a dead man doesn't struggle much with lust. And a dead shopaholic, she's just not impressed with a credit card anymore! The vain person, when they die, they're not worried about their hair! 

So how do we become free from this world? We join Jesus on the cross - willingly!

We follow hard after Christ as passionate Christ followers and we echo what the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ now lives in me because I was crucified and the life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me!"

Today, in the name of Jesus, I am praying that you would connect in a more real world way than ever before: the murder of Jesus to the meaning of your life!  The death of His sacrifice to pay for all sins - the freedom that you are offered to not live under the gravity of sin! 

The faith that Jesus had toward God is now an invitation for you to have faith toward God. The belief that God did not let love die is the belief that He will not let you die! 

The belief that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life," is the belief that you are worth dying for! (John 3:16) So guys, you can live under the gravity of 'The Fall', in self pity and in addiction all of your life if you want to. You can live in rebellion and anger saying "I can do this," but gravity is gonna win in the end - but for Jesus!

If you've never invited Jesus into your heart and given your life to Him, then I want to invite you to do that. It comes as simple a prayer as this: "Dear Lord Jesus, save me, take control of my life! I ask you to come into my life, thank you for dying for me, I give you control of my life, please forgive me of my sins." 

When you and I do die (to ourselves) and get ourselves off of our hands, we are then indwelled and inhabited by the Holy Spirit of God, by the very spirit of Jesus Christ, and we live according to the 'fruit of the spirit' (Galatians 5:22-23):  "Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness and Self Control." We're free! -Dr. Drew Shofner

IF: Severn Run Conference Recap

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It began with a purpose, prayer, and preparation. In the middle there was laughter, tears, and confession. Then, there came a new beginning with the changed hearts of almost 70 women.

There is no end.

God gave Jennie Allen, a pastor’s wife and Bible study author from Austin, Texas, a vision for equipping women to boldly go into their communities, work places, and the world to share the love of Jesus. With that, IF: Gathering was born.

On February 5th and 6th Severn Run hosted a local simulcast of IF: Gathering; IF: Severn Run. There were speakers, conversations, and there was a call to action:

                  :: IF…
                                    IF Jesus is real, then how does that affect how I live?
                                    IF Jesus loves us, then how should we respond?

These are some things that God talked to IF: Severn Run attendees about:

IF: Table: IF: Table involves 6 women, 4 questions, 2 hours. When you host an IF: Table, you make a simple meal and invite 6 ladies. IF provides questions that make you think about God and where He is in your life. The goal of IF: Table is to open the door for conversation. Through these conversations relationships are enhanced. It is a safe place for guests to ask real questions and share hard situations. At IF: Table, you’ll be loved and pointed to Jesus. For resources to host an IF: Table click here or click here to request an invitation to a group that’s already meeting.

Racial Reconciliation: Tasha Morrison shared her downloadable curriculum and guidelines to facilitate discussion concerning racial reconciliation. Living so close to Baltimore and seeing the distrust between the races, several women were looking for the opportunity to have conversations about race in a Christ-centered way. Tasha encouraged ladies at IF to pray about leading a racial reconciliation discussion in their communities and several Severn Run women are interested in making that happen.

Missions: A representative from International Justice Mission (IJM) based down the road in DC brought to light atrocities women and children are facing when they are enslaved. IF: Severn Run women were burdened with that knowledge and are seeking out ways they can serve in the mission field.

Families: Women were able to reflect on the state of their families. Some shared how their daughters are lacking in confidence and are insecure in their self-image because of their mother’s struggle with the same issues. God broke down those walls and moms went home with a renewed sense of self and the desire to change how they view and speak of themselves, so that their daughters can be influenced in a positive way.

It’s always nice for women to gather together to hear from the Lord. It’s even nicer when we are moved by the Spirit to make a change in our lives, our families, and our communities. Severn Run Women are doing just that!


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