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...
I don't know if some of you know, but we've got a pretty serious and solid purpose here at The Church at Severn Run! It is to reach as many people as possible, by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son, in the power of the Spirit! We've heard our pastor say it...
Our purpose as a church is not to be comfortable. It's not to keep me employed or to make you happy. Our purpose as a church is to creatively reveal something that is world changing and epic-- it is the love of the Father! A love that is the answer to all of the brokenness in this badly broken...
The truth is, God gives everything to those who give everything to Him. The church at Severn Run has to get on the road to impossible in order to live the future of God! We have to make 'impossible' our regular way of living. I'm telling you, 17 years ago when God called me to this church, God...
We can’t find our identity in this world. My identity is not as a white man. Your identity can’t be as a black man or a white man. Your identity can’t be based on your socio-economic class or your knowledge, your power, your ability, or your presence. Your identity is based on...
The simple truth is that all of us here, myself included, are most of the time more concerned with the approval of other human beings than we are with the one and true creator of the universe. You and I are so timid when it comes to telling the story of Jesus and helping people understand that...
Our goal here at The Church at Severn Run is not to have a lot of people who are content to do nothing. If that's the case, let's wrap it up, let's call it a day and let's go home. Your faith is noticed, and it teaches. Other people are watching how you live, and the simple reality is that...
We could be a church of 5,000. Not for the glory of man, but because that would be 4,000 more people who are living Jesus' story! Imagine a group of believers who were struggling through life but so free of themselves that they were able to be filled with the spirit of God and to reach...
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
I don't know if some of you know, but we've got a pretty serious and solid purpose here at The Church at Severn Run! It is to reach as many people as possible, by creatively revealing the love of the Father through the life of the Son, in the power of the Spirit! We've heard our pastor say it over and over again, and when I read our mission statement, I got news for you, it looks a whole lot like that group back in Acts chapter 4 doesn't it?
It says this in Acts 4:32, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had."
There was no relational poverty. There were no lonely people that were involved in this particular group. They were all united in heart and mind and they felt that what they owned, was not their own!
So they shared everything that they had and folks, this was not some political thing, or some government saying 'we are going to take everything that you've got and redistribute it equally among everybody else,' that's not what was happening. These people were 'crazy'--they were literally giving up everything that they had and then redistributing it so that nobody else had need inside of their community - oh my goodness!
One of the most remarkable statements of this chapter is in Acts 4:34, "There were no needy people among them." None! This does not mean that they were all driving around in Mercedes Benz. It means that there were no needs, nobody went without a meal in their community. Nobody was trying to figure out how to make sure the electric got paid in their community--their needs were being met! This was an entire community of 5,000 worshiping together and none of them had a need! That's called crazy-town!
They realized that God had not put them on the planet to acquire 'more stuff' or to build more wealth, they knew that life was about relationship with God and that it was about relationship with others; nothing more, nothing less! The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of Jesus and God's great blessing was upon them all.
They recognized that what Jesus had really been there to do was to change the hearts and minds of every single man, woman, boy and girl. And here's what they did, they got on the road with Jesus, because Jesus' passion was that every man, woman, boy and girl from the time that He was crucified and left planet earth, would never again experience loneliness and the destructive element that this world has to offer!
These were not people that went into a classroom to try and learn as much as they possibly could. These were people that from day one, got out on the road, they followed after Jesus, they ran into as many unbelievers as they possibly could and they met their needs and they shared the Jesus story!
We can finish what they started, don't you believe that church? They are no different than you and I, they were united in heart and mind and they had a solid purpose - like our own! -Pastor John B. Smith
Our purpose as a church is not to be comfortable. It's not to keep me employed or to make you happy. Our purpose as a church is to creatively reveal something that is world changing and epic-- it is the love of the Father! A love that is the answer to all of the brokenness in this badly broken world. It is a love that we do not need to leave to the imagination. It is a love that has been given a name, it is a love that had a face. It's a love that had hands and feet. It's a love that touched life and changed it!
And so, we creatively reveal the love of the Father, through the life of the Son, but we don't do that in our own power or our own abilities, it's all in the power of the Holy Spirit! So if we are saved, if we have entered into the life of Christ, then we are sent out by Christ into the world! Every Christ follower is one who is sent, that's our call!
Guys, I'm just telling you, we have so badly distorted discipleship in the modern church, it's not even funny. We've taken people into classrooms, sat them down, and filled their brain with theories and facts that somehow don't seem to be 'dropping' the 18 inches from the 'head to the heart.'
Jesus never led anybody into a classroom.
He led needy people out into a broken world that they might redeem it. Because in this world, everything is broken and everything needs to be redeemed!
We've made knowledge the currency of the Kingdom when faith is always the currency! We have made 'learning more' the quest when it's knowing Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him that is the quest. It's a person, not some body of knowledge or doctrines! It all has to do with faith and believing. Not a doctrine of knowledge, but a person! A being! To understand that we're embracing a heart more than we're embracing some orthodoxy! Guys, if we're saved, then we are sent out into the world to save in the authority of Jesus Christ!
What it means to be saved is to trade a terminal life for an eternal one. It means to acknowledge that in this world, we will never be finally happy, finally complete, that in this world we will never be finally appreciated or loved! There will always be tension, always be pain, always be a level of brokenness in our life, but in the midst of it all, there is a savior who's love will overcome and He will lead you to win the war of your heart and your soul so that you will "struggle" successfully and you will then be sent out "by love" into a broken world to lead others to trade their terminal lives for an eternal one as well!
So go and make disciples, and don't just do it with people that look like you, and live where you live. Go out of your way, bump into other people and as you do, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything (Matthew 28:19).
Don't walk away from them if they are new in the faith. You teach them and you do life with them until they get it. And when they do, then they can share it with somebody else. That's the call of Jesus Christ! -Dr. Drew Shofner
The truth is, God gives everything to those who give everything to Him. The church at Severn Run has to get on the road to impossible in order to live the future of God! We have to make 'impossible' our regular way of living. I'm telling you, 17 years ago when God called me to this church, God put in my heart and in the heart of others--the impossible. I believe with all my heart that He whispered and said, "I want you to lead 1,000 disciples toward me." When we were small and didn't have much of anything, this impossible task was what God called us to and now we're a community of 1,200 disciples! Guys, we have to live toward the impossible all the time, or we're not living in faith!
When Jesus said "Come and follow me," He said "I will send you out!" So you and I know that it is impossible to be a follower of Jesus without being sent out 'on the road' to change the world! I want you and I to be a people who live believing the impossible from God, in all of our heartache and all of our circumstances; I'm not minimizing any of that. I cannot imagine all of the fiery furnaces and giants that you're facing, the red seas in front of you and the armies behind you! I cannot imagine the situation of lack and need, where you have two loaves with 5,000 mouths to feed, but I'm just telling you that God has given us an answer and His name is Jesus!
And when we give ourselves away completely for Jesus, we live believing nothing's impossible and then we attempt the impossible for God! I want you to live from this day forward believing the impossible 'from' God and then Iive attempting the impossible 'for' God; in your life, in your marriage and as a church community! God will fill everything with His infinite provision as far as your faith allows! What will you give?- Dr. Drew Shofner
There is no reason for any of us to live confused about our identity. There is no reason for any of us to live in darkness, or down on ourselves, or having a lesser view of who God made us to be. We are a preservative and our actions and our lives can literally save situations and turn life around. It can keep marriages from falling apart, it can take children who are on a crash course and give them a new direction; it can change life! But here's the deal, salt has to be in contact for it to have any affect as a preservative or seasoning. You can't take salt and keep it in a shaker; and that's really where it is in the modern church.
In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” The reason why the cross is such core theology is because everything old ends on the cross. When you and I bear a cross, we die to our world based identity and we receive a new life. Jesus said in John 10:10 “I came that you might have life and that you might have it to the fullest." That ‘full life’ is living with a purpose; helping other people find their purpose! Jesus doesn't take those who are expected and those who are trained and who are all educated, Jesus takes the people He chooses and He gives them a completely new identity.
In the name of Jesus, I want to call you out of small living. I want to call you to offer God your most beautiful interpretation of what it means to be salt and light. There are too many of you looking in the mirror thinking, I got nothing, I am nothing; that is a lie from hell. You are the light of the world…You are! Not earn it, will be, might be, could be…no! You are the salt of the earth; you are the city on the hill! In the name of Jesus, will you start living large? Will you find your identity in your call in Christ? -Dr. Drew Shofner