Summer Playlist: Part Eleven
Thy Kingdom Come • August 12, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
Bringing God's Kingdom to bear in this world starts with us - in our own heart, mind, and soul. It's not a place we will one day dwell, but a way of life we get to experience right here and right now. It starts with repentance and choosing His will and His ways over our own. In order to lead others, we must first lead ourselves by following Christ. This encounter influences everything about us from our thoughts and actions to our relationships and interactions with others. By living distinctly we advance God's Kingdom.
Summer Playlist: Part Ten
Thinking New • August 5, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
Mike Ashcraft and Rick Shafer sit down for a conversation regarding a different perspective on a commonly misunderstood "church" word: discipleship. As believers in Christ, we've been given a NEW identity and live in a NEW culture. Spending the rest of our days trusting and living out this truth is the essence of discipleship. Being salt and light of the earth doesn't get accomplished by being weird, religious or judgmental. Instead, we make a difference when we're distinct and live life in such a counter-culture way that people take notice of our love, humility, forgiveness, and service. The aim isn't perfection, but pursuit and progress. Our natural surroundings pull us away from our distinct-ness. To counteract this we need to be intentionally surrounded by people who draw us back towards it.
Summer Playlist: Part Nine
Exploring Our Potential • July 29, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
Many of us underestimate our impact on others. Every day we have opportunities to influence those around us. Sometimes this takes place inside a home, a classroom a neighborhood or when we go about your daily routine. Another avenue is what we do for a living. There is an intersection of faith, work, and everyday influence. But, living out our faith at work and making an impact looks a bit different than we think it does.
Summer Playlist: Part Eight
Service Is Discipleship • July 22, 2018 • Stuart Hall
Jesus’ model for the right kind of neighbor was a theologically incorrect, morally inferior, racially despised, half-breed Babylonian who the average Pharisee would never invite to dinner. When Jesus used a Samaritan as the model for being a good neighbor, He wasn’t just expanding our definition of neighbor: He was expanding our definition of God. Jesus used the Samaritan as an example to teach everyone that God is much bigger than we realize. Jesus is introducing every generation to follow a new way of thinking about God. Jesus was setting the stage for the God of the Jews to become the God of the Gentiles. The Good News of the Gospel was good for every race. The offer of eternal life extended to whoever believed. He told His disciples to go into ALL of the world. So, based on what Jesus said, what if our calling as adults, leaders and especially parents is simply to raise kids that love God in such a way they act like good Samaritans?
Summer Playlist: Part Seven
Go See For Yourself • July 15, 2018 • Stuart Hall
When Jesus people ignore the problems that are happening in their community, they forfeit their ability to have influence with their community. We gain a voice by rolling up our sleeves, getting engaged, and lending a hand. There are times when what is happening in the world requires us to leverage whatever we have and to take a risk with what we have. We can’t expect to rebuild or restore anything without it costing personally. Proximity always changes our perspective. The closer we get, the better we can see, understand, and empathize with the issues. Imagine if enough of us decided that before we pass judgment, before we make a statement, and before we offer solutions that we go see for ourselves what is going on with the next generation.
Summer Playlist: Part Six
Kill The Spider • July 8, 2018 • Carlos Whittaker
Many of us strive to live for Christ, only to get caught in a web of bad choices and destructive thought patterns. We try our best to swipe and clean them away, but they continue to pop up no matter how hard we strive to make them disappear. Addressing the behavior will only get us so far. We might be able to cope with life, experience minor victories or witness surface level change, yet the hope, abundance, and the life that God promises us will remain just beyond our reach. We have to stop cleaning the cobwebs and have the courage to kill the spider. Killing a spider requires a great deal of courage because it entails asking God to expose those dark places in our heart. As we replace false beliefs with God's life-giving truths, we will discover freedom like we've never known before.
Summer Playlist: Part Five
That's The Power Of Love • July 1, 2018 • Brian Ashcraft
Living in a results-oriented culture, we feel pressure to prove our worth. Chasing after this approval is never-ending. When love is dependent on our value, there is fear, futility, and frustration. On the flip side, when our value is an outcome of being loved, we experience confidence. The power of Christ’s love allows us to see ourselves differently. Some things are loved because they have value. However, some things have value because they are loved. Christ's sacrifice spoke value and worth into our lives. Knowing we are loved unconditionally, we can love others without seeking anything in return. When we see ourselves as loved by God, we are free for God to do a new thing in us and through us. We love because He first loved us.
Summer Playlist: Part Four
Planted With Purpose • June 24, 2018 • Clay Everett
It is difficult to be present in the present while waiting for the future, especially when we come across pieces of Scripture like Jeremiah 29:11. We hear that God has a plan to give us a sure hope and a good future and we instinctively want to fast forward to that part. And because of this, we find ourselves waiting for the future instead of living in the present.What we have to understand about God’s plan to prosper us and His vision for our future is the way its tied to our past and influenced by or response to the present. When we are willing to plant ourselves where we have been placed, we make ourselves available to God’s purposes for our present. As a follower of Jesus, our mission isn’t to live solely for the good of ourselves. Instead, we live for the good of those around us.
Summer Playlist: Part Three
Here And Now • June 17, 2018 • Mark Foland
We live in a culture that works against us being present in the moment. We’re bombarded constantly with distractions and demands for our presence. On top of these struggles, we inadvertently put blinders on ourselves by engaging in destination thinking. We’re always looking forward to what’s next that we lose sight of what God is calling to our attention right here and right now. God often speaks in a "still small voice" to direct us, challenge us and encourage us in His path for our lives. He speaks to us in a whisper because He is close. He doesn't need to speak any louder. We just have to slow down, be still, tune our ear and listen.
Summer Playlist: Part Two
(Not so) Great Expectations • June 10, 2018 • Danny Rogers
Everyone has expectations, and quite often those expectations go unmet. Life doesn't play out as we expected. Our hopes and dreams get dashed. We get easily discouraged when God doesn’t move the way we think He should. How we respond to this tension matters more than we realize. When we encounter unmet expectations, the value of discovery allows us to back up and say, “God, what are you doing here? What are you trying to teach us? What can we learn?” Discovery enables us to see opportunity instead of only seeing failure. By embracing the disruption, our eyes focus on the opportunities God might be placing in front of us. When we do this, we experience freedom - the thing we were made for.
Summer Playlist: Part One
Preparing For What's New • June 3, 2018 • Mike Ashcraft
Summer is a disruption to the rhythm we’ve lived in for the past nine months and can serve as a great season of preparation. How can we utilize it to grow our faith? What would it look like to leverage the summer to prepare our heart, mind, and soul for something new? If we're intentional, this focus can lead to new perspectives, new understandings and a new level of trust. We aren’t asking to see what we are already looking for. We are asking Him to help us see something new by opening our eyes and learning to be expectant for the new things He wants to do in us and through us.