For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21 Treasure

Do you realize that one of the greatest growth industries in modern America is the storage industry? The funny thing is as we gain more and gather more stuff that we don't need, we then have put this 'stuff' in storage. We can't get rid of it or give it to someone who might need it- God forbid! We're going to pay more money to store stuff that we don't have a place for in our new larger homes. How crazy is it to go into more debt paying more money to store more stuff? It's just an insane cycle!

The answer is deep soul searching and honest repentance (turning away from it).

What do I really want in life?

What do I really want to give myself to?

Is it true that he who has the most toys at the end wins?

That's not the narrative of Jesus!

Do you and I really want to give ourselves away for a noble cause? Men, do we really want to take up a fight in life that was worth fighting for in the end?

You see, faith is the currency of the kingdom. Just as our economy works on the gold standard and paper money, in the kingdom of heaven, it's not about knowledge. We don't work on a knowledge currency, it's about faith! Guys, money is never about money, it's about values. Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Eternal life has come and invaded the heart of a believer and now we live out of that expanded heart and vision. We're no longer locked into being self-centered consumers! We are now cross-carrying disciples and we live for a different purpose.

It's not about getting more stuff!

It's about making a difference in the world.

It's about loving the unlovable, and feeding hungry people.

It's about helping people who are addicted to drugs know that there is a purpose for their life, it's about answering brokenness.

It's about Jesus!

God could do anything, but He has chosen to work through the faith of His people. So, what happens in our community is all dependent on our faith and how we choose to give ourselves away. -Dr. Drew Shofner

What will you give? (The Road Ahead)

what will you give

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

Touched by God.

Mark 1:41

Real faith imagines a future that is touched by God's hand in a way that changes it, redeems it, blesses it, protects it and makes it more than it ever could be! The hand of God throughout the Old Testament is incredibly powerful and the scripture says God stretched His hand out and when He does that –everything changes!

That is the whole image of the hand of God: It is power, it is change, and it is the ability to make the impossible possible. 

I want to share with you a story in Mark 1:40-41, where the imagination changed everything. When Jesus came down from the mountainside, just finishing the Sermon on the Mount, large crowds followed Him and a man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, "Lord if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean."
Leprosy was the most horrible disease in the ancient world, it is a terrible disfiguring disease that made you socially unacceptable. Not only did you suffer the shame of being disfigured, you were spiritually and ceremonially unclean and could not worship. You lived life in shame, you lived life alone.
Jesus saw this leper and instead of running from Him like everyone else, the leper comes and kneels before Jesus and says "Lord if you are willing, you can make heal me and make me clean." 
This leper imagined a better life. This leper imagined the love of God. This leper imagined a healed future and a life that was restored to worship. This leper dared to imagine the good heart of God! 
He came, and he knelt and he asked for what he needed. I don't know what happened in the heart of Jesus as He saw how sin and disease had broken His beloved creation, but Jesus looked at him. "Moved with compassion Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said ‘Be healed!’" (Mark 1:41)
Around us there are people who are unacceptable to us and we don't see them! As we talk about the need in our area that is ten minutes away in Baltimore City, we are one sitcom away from being able to go and invest in a way that changes worlds! So, you and I can sit down and watch one more thirty minute show or we can get in our cars and drive some place meaningful and be Jesus!   
Faith imagines a future, not in the despair of hell, not overcome by death, or in a downward spiral due to sickness. No, faith imagines a future that is touched by the hand of God! Faith imagines a future where the hand of God is fully at work, fully in play, fully in charge, and then faith runs straight into the arms of Jesus!  -Dr. Drew Shofner

The Statement of Baptism

Believing I am loved

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” -Matthew 3:16-17 

Believing I am loved, I agree to be led into nothing less than God's eternal purpose. - This is what we are saying with baptism; it is the statement of baptism! It's not a religous check box, it's not something that we trust for our salvation, it is a statement that we are making at the beginning of a beautiful and unending journey; that's what baptism is! So, if this water would speak, it would speak of love, which is the birth of all real relationship with God. 

Religion somehow knows all the God stuff, but it never has a heart that is softened and touched by love. It never feels the joy of the Father's smile. It never knows the warmth of the Father's embrace or even the gentle whisper of the Father's breath in it's ear! But the person that dares to believe that they are personally and eternally loved by God is on the Jesus path!

You are not hopeless, you are not rejected, you are not ugly, or fated to fail. You are the beloved sons and daughters of God and you are invited to accept your place in the Father's family. But He loves you and will not force you; you cannot force love. It has to be wanted, it has to be given. Jesus knew He was loved, and until our identity is settled in looking into the face of Jesus, we are going to live our whole lives as exhausted posers performing for people like a seal in a circus. Our lives are going to be filled with pain because people can't fill you and no matter how much you tap dance and how many plates you spin, it will never ever be enough! 

Faith connects life's pain to God's love. In baptism we are believing that we are beautifully loved and the truth is, like Jesus, we have to begin with an identity of love. If love is far from your heart, then that's your first step of faith! I don't care whether you feel it, you have to "faith" it; that you are loved, that you are known and that you are wanted! Believing I am loved, I agree to be led into nothing less than God's eternal purpose! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Open his eyes Lord, so that he may see.

Open his eyes Lord

In the kingdom of this world, we see by eye, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, we see by faith. That’s why the scripture says “We walk by faith, not by sight.” So often we live moments in which we are unconscious of God. In the kingdom of this world, we reason by the logic of this world, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, we reason by the power of God and from the promise of God. It is a completely different way of living; it’s transforming and we see life differently. 

In 2 Kings 6:16 we hear Elijah the prophet, through the Holy Spirit, say something to the servant that we hear angels say every time they show up. What does an angel say every time they show up? “Fear not or Do not fear.” Now, when an angel shows up on earth, where did they just come from? They have just been in Heaven with the power and the glory and the eternal majesty of God. 

Surrounded by the enemy, Elijah said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elijah prayed a prayer that I have already prayed for The Church at Severn Run. Elijah prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elijah.

So, here is Elijah standing on the wall, he is calm cool and collected, because he is living God aware and he is seeing by faith, not what the kingdom of the world can see, but he is seeing the kingdom of Heaven revealed around him. When he prays that prayer and the servants eyes are opened, then he too can see that the enemy surrounding them is also surrounded and that the army of the Lord was already there before they even saw it! 

This is true with us, and my prayer for you is that God would open your eyes that you might see. Just because you don’t see it or feel it right now or you don’t believe there is a way forward; that God is going to win in your life and that Christ can use you. That there is redemption and forgiveness of sin and there is new life and new creation and there is love and grace.

God has made you a winner in Christ! He will never leave you in a dead end. He will never lead you to a place of hopelessness or despair. At every step along the journey, there is a win for the Kingdom of Heaven to be had! That is the promise of God. Over and over again in the Bible, every time an angel shows up, you see panicked human beings who need to hear what happens when Heaven breaks through; Fearlessness and new vision. Fear Not! –Dr. Drew Shofner


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