Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (The Great Commission)

Posted by Dr. Drew Shofner on

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...

God Hears Your Prayers

Jeremiah 29-12

God hears your prayers, every one of them! In Jeremiah 29:12 the scripture says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you…” God hears and He answers well. The scripture goes on to say in verse 13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart…” The Holy Bible knows nothing of half heartedness. It knows nothing of the religion of appearences. It knows nothing of a heart that wants to appear ‘God given’ but is actually withheld and self guided. In the Holy Scriptures you see people who are all in! You see people who come to the end of themselves who go to God and cry out to Him and we ask for Him and we seek Him with all of our hearts!

The truth is, the Savior on the cross knows nothing of half heartedness and God will not accept half heartedness on our part. But when we seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our heart! “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:14) God never intended for us to love anyone or anything more than Him! And in prayer, we have this amazing opportunity to open up the corridors of Heaven itself, for our hearts and for the world around us! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Prayer Is The Path To A Life In The Light

Prayer is the path

2017 is like a field of new fallen snow! Imagine yourself standing on the edge of a mountain, down below you is a valley and in this valley is just a beautiful field of snow with no footprints. Nothing has been marred, it’s just a field of pure snow and you get to make your path through that field. Everything in 2017 depends on how you will depend on the light of God or yourself and the darkness of this world. 

When the sun is coming down and the light is hitting us, we’re ok, but when circumstances change and get painful and the clouds come and block the sun, things get dark pretty quick. The trouble is, that too often when circumstances get hard, our hearts get hard as well. When circumstances go dark, too often in my own case at least, my heart gets pretty dark.

I have the unspiritual gift of self pity. Any of you all have that gift? Worry? Fear?

The reality is, that all of these things are like gravity pulling down and we struggle in this dark world with rising up and living in the brilliant light of Christ verses giving up and lying down in the darkness of the world!

When I talk about darkness, it is things like anger, bitterness, sadness. The frustration that you and I feel, it is the pain that is often pouring into life. It is the vision of the future that just appears. Well, have you ever tried to drive at night without your headlights?

The light on the other hand is the joy and the peace and the love of God. It is the glory of God —it is hope! I’m just telling you as a person who is deeply broken and the truth is that we’re all deeply broken in different ways, I struggle with not only living in a dark world, but I struggle with having a dark heart and with living down and depressed and under instead of soaring on eagle's wings! (Isaiah 40:31)

And when we allow the darkness of this broken world into our lives (circumstances happen) but when we let it in, the darkness clings and it depresses and it festers and it makes us angry, it makes us broken, it makes us less!

So the power of this message is going to depend, in part, on you owning your own darkness. Identifying your darkness. What is your darkness? What is your resentment? Your un-forgiveness? What is it that depresses you and discourages you that makes the future look hopeless and the past look dominant?

Isaiah 9:2 says, “But the people walking in darkness…” That’s a description of our lives in this world, and part of the insanity of our life in the world is that we often don’t see the darkness and we call darkness light. In fact, the scriptures in Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." 

That’s just the nature of what we do. In fact, all of our sin that we turn to, is us turning to something other than God (which is called idolatry) and we’re calling something other than God good when in fact it is evil because we’ve put it above God.  

“But the people walking in darkness have seen a great light…” That is about Jesus, “…on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2) 

Guys, I just want to say that 2017 can be the most brilliant year of our lives! It can be full of light. Full of hope. Full of joy. Full of peace. The truth is, the way that we get to the light in a dark world and the way that we live overcoming and not dying down is through prayer! 

Prayer is the path to a life in the light!

So you and I don’t have to live dying down. We don’t have to live angry. We don’t have to live dabbling with sin and destruction! We can live in the freedom of the glorious light of God! 

It is amazing when the light comes on, how fearless you can be! When the light comes on, fear begins to evaporate. When the light comes on, anger begins to recede. When the light comes on, forgiveness begins to flow. When the light comes on, we can see the insanity!

Prayer is the path to a life in the light so that no matter how hard circumstances are, no matter how difficult the moment or the day or the year is, we are not in the dark —we are alive in the light of God. Everything depends on how we depend! -Dr. Drew Shofner

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If You Want Christ's Life, You Get Christ's Death

jim elliot

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 message is life -it is the power of God! It's the way we live forward and the truth is that the centerpiece, the whole meaning of Jesus' life, is in a cross and a resurrection --a dying and a living!   

The centerpiece to Jesus' whole message is the invitation to a cross so that you may experience your invitation to a resurrection. A whole new life that is impossible apart from the power of God --the dead don't come to life apart from the power God!

"For even the son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." -Mark 10:45

If you want Christ's life, you get Christ's death -you can't have one without the other! The death of Christ has got to be not just something that you and I admire merely from a distance, but that we enter into in a very real and personal way on another level! 

Part of what we suffer is the loss of living self centered and self serving and of looking out for our own interests. We trust that Jesus has our back and that He will serve our interests. Jesus has served your interest in the cross and in the resurrection that he's offering you.

You will be blessed forever and your life on earth will be radically different and better than you imagined! The difference is all in the dying! 

Some of it can be seen, much of it can't, but in the end Jesus will reveal what was true and what was not. What was a fraud and what was authentic. What was a genuine struggle and what was an illusion. And so we die to a dying world that we might live to a new Kingdom that has come!

In Matthew 16:26 Jesus said, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the son of man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done."

This life is not all there is --it is quickly passing. The Jesus who came as the bookend of one part of human history is going to come again as the second bookend in human history...and to gain an eternal life, we have to give up a world! 

What part of your world are you struggling to give up? What part of your world is fighting to stay alive and be in charge? I think we would all agree that Jesus' willingness to die made all the difference in the world, but do you understand --so will yours? -Dr. Drew Shofner

There Is Power In The Name Of Jesus

All who call on the Lord
 
The scripture says in Acts 2:21, "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." This verse is not just the beginning of faith, it is the whole journey of faith. Calling on the name of Jesus, not just to begin new birth, but to live all of life!

There is power in the name of Jesus. Jesus is infinite and eternal! God is awesome and His light overshadows all the darkness and all the pain and hell of earth!
 
What I want us to do is to change and to let the name of Jesus be the real energy of our life! To know that the energy of my life is Jesus. It is not my sadness and my sorrow.
 
The energy of your life is not the abuse that you endured or that job that you lost, that's not to be the driving energy of your life -it's the name of Jesus! -Dr. Drew Shofner
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You cannot see, without faith, all the possibilities of God!

you cannot see without faith

Just as your physical eye cannot see all the spectrums of light, you cannot see, without faith, all the possibilities of God! So why settle just for what you can see? Why not live for so much more? 

 
The mystery is that there is more to life than what we can see. There are more spectrums to life than the visible eye can see. I still find that hard to believe, I know that it is true, but what it speaks to, is a reality behind what I can see and even what I feel! It really doesn't matter if I feel like ultraviolet light is real or not, it is! 

In the same way, God is here today, though you may not be able to see Him, He is speaking to you in parables to show you a kingdom you cannot see that must become more real to you than a world you can see. For some of you, to personalize this, in your own life all you can see is that you're stuck. The feeling may be that my life will never be more than this. Well, that may be what you can see but it is not what God sees!

In Matthew 16:25, Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
 
So Jesus is saying 'if you want to save your life, you lose it. Because only by losing your life, for me, will you ever find your created purpose! Will you ever find what you're longing for...will you ever be who you were made to be...will you ever love like you are longing to love and be loved! Only in me will you find that and to find me you have to give up this!' (Paraphrased)

The truth is, we'd have to be blind not to see the worth of heaven over the world around us! The broken world. A 9-11 world. A world of so much injustice. A world of holocaust. A world of racism. A world of people using one another. A world of theft and lying. A world of using every advantage of power and beauty against other people to lift ourselves up! 

Can we not see how radically cancerous our world apart from God is?
 
If you and I want to make our home in this world, we're free to do that. Jesus offers more, but against that more, there is a power working to keep you stuck in your world. To keep you broken down and to keep you less than. To keep you unhappy, to keep you rooted in your pain, to keep you in every way oppressed and in jail (spiritually speaking). 
 
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, "The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God." There is a Kingdom that has come, but that Kingdom is opposed by a God of this age, Satan.

The kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of Heaven are two different economies and what has to be exchanged is the heart and the attachment. 

And so, God wants to give you a Kingdom worth more than the world but there is a worth decision that has to be made. Some of you think that you are worthless, and the truth is there could be no greater lie! God says you're worth more than His own life and so He sacrifices Himself upon the cross, is buried, and on the third day rises again because love will not die! 
 
You are of infinite worth to the Father! You don't have to live your life angry. You don't have to live your life lusting. You don't have to live your life using drugs or people. You don't have to live your life searching for recognition and respect at work because none of that will last forever! 

And so "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field...(Matthew 13:44)" Not everyone is going to see it, and some who do see it will say, "That's not worth much and certainty not worth me giving up everything that I want and everything I've been living for up to this point. No thanks God, that really isn't my treasure, my treasure is elsewhere." And many will see the offer of this Kingdom as something that is just not real. 
 
Some other people will hear this message of Jesus and part of them will say yes to it, but part of them will say "I want the world as well. I want the car but I don't want to give up anything of value to pay for it." And that doesn't work, but I just want to share with you this one simple thing above all else, and that is that the Kingdom only comes to those who let the world go! Why settle, in your life, for just what you can see when the God of parables is seeing so much more and trying to show you so much more? -Dr. Drew Shofner

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