Approaching Scripture with an agenda alters our perspective. Instead of searching for wisdom and guidance, our sole focus is looking for Scriptures that fit our agenda and justify our behavior. Our red pen is at our disposal to scratch out verses that are inconvenient, uncomfortable or require more than we are willing to give. We edit out the words we don’t like to soften up the commitment level. If all our energy is spent on deciding what is best for our needs, our agenda and our comfort, others lose out and are hurt as a result. We were never meant to live for ourselves. Scripture speaks to how the body of Christ is meant to build each other up. The only way we will be transformed into Christ’s likeness is by relying on each other. We’ve been given authority to empower others and point them towards freedom. By trusting God’s authority, we are able to steward the authority we’ve been trusted with well. God’s love should be the driving force in our lives because this is what God uses to bring His Kingdom to bear in this world.
Trapped: Part 5
October 16, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
Trapped: Part 1
Fighting for Freedom • September 18, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
We all want to be free. But, what does true freedom look like? The picture for many is one of no restrictions. You are free to act, look, think, dress and say whatever you want, whenever you want. Anything goes. If it feels good, do it. The sky is the limit. There is no one holding you down. You get to play by your own rules and call your own shots. In a culture that is growing increasingly weary, resistant and defiant towards authority, we are reluctant to submit to anyone including God. This is why many scratch their head and don’t know what to do with the Christian faith. From their perspective, submitting to God’s authority is just a way of telling humanity to get in line. Becoming a Christian eliminates expression, emotion, and fun. Christ equals conformity and can only leave one feeling suffocated, squeezed and stifled. But, what if we have it backward? What if living by our standard robs us of freedom and leaves us trapped instead? We invite you to join us for Trapped where we will explore the freedom of authority.
Trapped: Part 2
Freed by Restrictions • September 25, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
Freedom is found when we focus on who we are and let the One who defines us define our days. Obedience from the heart takes time. God’s commands serve as placeholders to help us do what we want to do until we want to do it. Our heart always follows our obedience. Freedom comes from discipline and endurance so when the time comes we will be free to respond in obedience naturally. This requires trust on our part. Trust stems from the confidence we have in the authority of God. When our picture of God grows clearer, our obedience becomes more consistent.
Trapped: Part 3
The Thing that Matters • October 2, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
We pretend that we are unsure and claim there isn’t enough evidence to submit. But, the truth is, we don’t want to submit in the first place. We want God’s ways, but on our terms. We desire God’s vision just as long as it lines up with our perspective. We all establish a standard by which we measure truth. More often than not, the standard we use is ourselves. The one thing God wants from us is the very thing we can hide from everybody else - our motives. God desires truth in our innermost being. This entails testing our motives and coming face to face with what drives our behavior. In order for our hearts to be captured, they must be available.