Small steps in faith

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"The Test of Attachment"

These are my notes from this morning's sermon by Rob at Apex

James 1:9-11

James doesn't let us take grace for granted

60 commands in 5 chapters of James
How we act is extremely important in our walk
There are 22 references to The Sermon on the Mount

The test of our attachment to "stuff"

Lee adviser for George H. Bush. He was vicious in the political arena
He developed brain cancer at age 40.
Before he died he acknowledged that it took a deadly illness to make him see the truth he had as well as our nation has...a tumor of the soul.

The test of our boasting

We all boast
James talks to the poor and rich

How do the poor boast?

We all know what it means to be deprived of something
The poor are to boast because their deprived condition is not the same as their redeemed condition.
They are poor culturally but rich in Christ which can't be taken away. is a website where you put your income in and it's compared to the world. People in the U.S. fall in the top percentile for being rich.

How do the rich boast?
The rich are to boast because their affluent conditin is not the same as their redeemed condition.
They can only take away what you don't need.
The problem? We have made our wants our needs

The equalizer for the rich and the poor?

Pain..the tears are the same

There is a warning to the rich

1. Riches can kill us slowly and subtly
Like the Sirocco wind that hits the Mediterranean. It is 100mph and extremely hot. It kills vegetation and flowers.

2. It is not our wealth that condemns's our pursuit of wealth that condemns us
Your heart can make an idol of riches. What is our pursuit?
"If I can just get to here.."

How can wealth impact our relationship with Jesus?

1. Give false sense of security
2. It can distract us because of worry and stress
3. It can turn your view of Jesus as only a supplier and not Lord.
4. It can keep us from that relationship period.
Ex..the parable of the rich man in Matthew. He walks away from Jesus when confronted with giving up his wealth. His wealth kept him from heaven.

The Pharisee vs the tax collector
Pharisee..culturally rich
tax collector..financially rich

The Pharisee was judgmental and arrogant in thinking that he was better than the tax collector

The tax collector went home justified because he recognized his sin..."Lord have mercy on me. I'm a sinner.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"The Test of Trusting"

These are my notes from Sun am's sermon at Apex.
Rob is on sabbatical and Dave Black was the guest.
I thought he did a great job.
Worship music this week was incredible as well with Isaac's team.

James 1:5-8

Authentic faith know to trust in trials
Do I have trusting down?
The person who doesn't trust is all over the place.
A trial may have come into your life to test your trust.
You're not asking for options. God is your only hope.

If you have already asked the trusting question...ask for wisdom

1. Are you listening to Him?

2. What are you anticipating?

It should be wisdom from God..not riches, power,etc
We have a tendency to make our weekends and vacations our savior

3. Get rid of contingency plans.
"In case of emergency..." God is the plan

4 Make sure your heart is anchored to the cross
Trust God. Those who do aren't flailing.

What posture do we have in trials
If you are in the deep end of the pool of life and trying to get to the other're getting're sucking in water...we do everything except what we should do...ask for wisdom.

How am I going to make it another day?
Where is God in all of this?
What do I do now?

You need God's truth applied to choice and opportunity
You need to see it the way God sees it.
God gives don't cash in "God chips"
Make sure you ask in faith and without doubt
Doubt is divided's doubting God's ability. God or money? God or internet?
This is not easy but the plan has always been trusting. When your flailing and trying to get to the other side in the deep end...turn over and float on your back (trust God)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"The Test of Suffering Well"

These are my notes from this morning's sermon. Kristen Paulick was skyped in from Thailand where she and Hope are working with young girls involved in the sex trafficking culture.

James 1:1-4

Authentic faith will have opposition

In older culture, they were concerned about doctrinal fidelity
In recent culture we have been concerned with doctrinal authenticity
There was a chasm between preachers and the audience
Today...Are we real to the point that it's an idol? Is it authentic?
Sometimes churches who are "real"...bands,jeans,etc. can be less authentic than the church that has hymns and liturgy.

In the book of James it defines what real authenticity is.

Do you love God for what you imagine Him to be or for what He really is?

Are you pleased with his character and do you love every part of it?

Do you love holiness as well as grace?

Do you look at God for how he saves you or are you more concerned with how he can damn you?

Who do you love more than God?

Test of Enduring Trials

There are various trials ..all of us experience different trials at different degrees

1. Inward..our thought lives, our emotions

2. Circumstantial,school,

3. Relational trials..dissonance between us and family,friends,coworkers

We may experience all of these at once

It's not a question of's when

How do we deal with trials?

1. Transpose it to joy. Acts 5:40; Acts 16
This can seem like "Pie in the Sky" theology. Really? joy? how do I do that?
Joy is never found in how trials FEEL to is knowing what it DOES for you

2. Understand the reason. Steadfastness=endurance
Matthew 5:10;12
Luke 6:22-23
Romans 8:18
Testing=stamping us with authenticity

3. Surrender to the process
We are to be transformed people
He wants to equip us so that we are lacking in nothing
When the heat gets turned up..we want to speed God along..the risk of this? Lowering our standards.
Job 23

Sunday, May 09, 2010

An Introduction to Authentic Faith

These are my notes from Apex

James 2: 14-26

We are starting a series for the summer on the book of James. If you read the book of James every day you will have read it 100 times by August

James is writing to the Jews
Faith always brings works

Mark Driscoll did a series on this subject so Rennes played 10 min of the video.
I'm not a huge fan of Mark Driscoll but he was spot on for this

It's not "by" that we need to remember's "to"
Christianity leads to humbleness

When you look at 2 has fruit and the other doesn't. The one with fruit..Christianity...the one without....non Christian. There is no "3rd tree"
Sometimes the tree with fruit has a puny piece of fruit barely hanging on..It needs pruning.

Jesus has done something for you(died on the cross)..he does something in you(spirit and soul) and he does something through you..(works).

There is dead faith..intellectual in the facts..but no change inside and no works.

The parallel book for James is 1 John. It tells us the "birthmarks" of a believer


James gives us tests to evaluate our faith. Do you have saving faith or intellectual ascent?

1:2-13 trials
1:14-21 temptations
1:23-27 response to the word
2:1-13 response to the poor
2:14-26 Test of the works
3:1-12 The tongue
3:13-18 Wisdom
4:1-6 Coveting and worldliness
4:7-17 humility
5:1-6 riches
5:7-12 suffering

There are periods where we go through barrenness. James is talking about Christians who go through their whole life without fruit
Daily we need to fill up with devotion...we have buckets with holes that need to be filled up.

Take in God's word,prayer
Remember..."Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven"

Thursday, May 06, 2010

"How Does Jesus Lead Apex?"

My notes from last Sunday's sermon at Apex.

Matthew 20: 20-28

What does it mean to be great?

In this scripture it's believed that the mother of James/John is Jesus aunt.

The first thought is to put her down for her request

The other disciples became indignant because they didn't think of it first.

She asks for her sons to be on the throne next to Jesus...she doesn't know what she's asking

So you want to be great?

In order to be great you need to understand the cost of greatness (v22)

1. The cost of greatness (v22)

When you don't reach this, many experience the negative..cutting, anorexia,wrath, and retribution

Are you just "saying" you'll pay the cost or will you pull the trigger of obedience.

2. Understand the place of greatness (v25)

Greatness isn't sitting on a physical throne exercising authority as the Roman Empire

Jesus sets his throne in the human gospel-changed hearts. Politicians, corporations, don't change culture..the gospel changes culture.

Career doesn't matter..the inside of your heart matters..Guard your heart

3. The trust of greatness (v23)

Trusting in god's sovereign placement of your life

4. The position of greatness (v 26-27)

Not inward..serve in the our churches,in our marriages

5. The model of greatness (v28)

The disciples don't know the end of the story..they are still in Matthew Chapter 20.

The model isn't your pastors, not the praise's Christ

Do you want to be great? It's not a bad thing, but it has to be defined and directed by Christ

Saturday, May 01, 2010

"Our Future Humanity"

These are my notes from last week's sermon. My week has been a little chaotic i.e. our office is going electronic.

Living out our new declared humanity is propelled by hoping in our future glorious humanity. It's declared into our's not by works.
Our eternal "City of God" is what gets us from Sunday to Saturday

Hebrews 11 Abraham looking forward. Moses looking to the reward.

There is a phrase "You're so heaven minded that you're no earthly good"..this is a lie.
Those who are heaven focused are the ones who ARE doing good on earth

How does God help us hope in our future glorification?

1. He frustrates creation..If you are a follower of Jesus, you shouldn't be satisfied in your walk, "Even creation groans"
Volcanoes,hurricanes, tells us in Genesis 3 that the curse came down on creation.
Why?...Because if it grew in splendor, we would worship creation. An example is how Greeks and Romans created gods of creation
The tornado in Mississippi was an doesn't pick out certain knocks us down to what we believe and trust.

2. He gives us a groaning spirit..the Holy Spirit..Romans 5:5,2 Corinthians, Ephesians 1:13-15

Followers of Jesus...Human agents can't change culture from the inside out..only the gospel can. Don't put your hope in a human agent i.e. political persons

3. He promises us new bodies
In creation there is natural decay. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55

We wait with long suffering=patience
If you have trouble with patience..where is your hope? Are you dwelling on Christ when life throws you a curve ball?

Rob told a story about the flying Roudellas..when the flyer lets go he has to be still in order to be caught.
When you are served divorce papers, when you get bad news at a doctor appt,when your kids rebel:
"Be still and know that I am God"
He is going to catch you.....even if you die.

We hope in what we do not see.
What is competing for your hope?
What is clouding your vision of heaven?
What are the rhythms is your life?
Have I created an idol in God's gifting in my life?