Monday, September 2, 2013

Elevation Church- Core- Am I ever gonna change?

Find someone and tell them one thing you could change about yourself. It can be anything.
This is the season of transformation. We just want to see the before and after. Because nobody wants to realize how messy and slow and painful and gradual and progressive real change is.
We are in a quick change world.
Liposuction, high speed Internet, we freak out when we can't get to the next web page in .3 seconds. Doctor Phil, he can fix any problem is nine minutes. NOT!
Romans 12:1-2
What we believe, it determines and defines so much of how we operate.
When you see the word therefore you ask yourself the question what's it there for? It's connecting your mind to something that was just said in the previous chapters. Romans 1-11 are all about the mercy and grace of God, very deep stuff about how rich He is, how we're set free from the law. And so chapter 12 speaks more directly on how we live.
1) Sacrifice yourself, your whole body to God.
2) Do not conform yourself longer to the pattern of this world.
Don't let this world tell you how to think any longer. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Be changed from the inside out. What God wants for your life is always good, pleasing and perfect.
There are at least four barriers/obstacles to our change. When we recognize them we can deal with them. And when we deal with them we can overcome them.
1) We settle for information instead of pursuing transformation.
Information is not guaranteed to change a thing about your life, if it were we'd all be raptured up to heaven and we'd be perfect. We have plenty of information and when you settle for it without transformation it is an abomination that leads to condemnation. It's not enough to know, what are you doing with what you know?
A lot of us are educated far beyond our level of obedience. We know a lot more than what we do with what we know and what we know hasn't become what we believe because if what we know becomes what we believe than it will become what we live.
We have a lot of information and not a lot of application.
What if you only did 10% of what you knew to do regarding the Christian faith. What if instead of having a teaching on prayer, we started praying. What if instead of reading three books on a healthier, godlier, happier marriage we started paying attention to our wife or husband.
Information doesn't change you, information is the raw material that which change can occur. 

Information is just the stuff out of which wisdom when applied to your life will be brought forth.

2) We focus on in or out instead of inside out.
This is why change doesn’t happen, this is why our churches can be full of hypocrites. This is why the stuff you need God to pass in your life may be on hold and delayed because we focus on stuff that makes us in or out rather than the stuff that changes us from the inside out thats what transformation is. It’s inside out change, its only heart change resulting in life change.
What we don’t do starts to define who we are becoming on the inside.
There are things we should and shouldn’t do but they should not be the measure by which we define our spiritual lives in God. They are not the ultimate pursuit, He is the ultimate pursuit. His glory through our lives is the ultimate pursuit. His approval and pleasure in our lives are the ultimate pursuit. Not what I don’t do, not what I do.
It’s a whole lot easier to put up fences, separate us from outsiders, then to let God uproot the yucky stuff in our lives and really change it and really turn situations around.
Matthew 22:37-38
The true question isn’t “Am I in or out? What do I refrain from, from what other people do or what other people don’t.” It’s “Am I loving God and loving people?”
3) We try harder instead of training better.
1 Timothy 4:7-8
Train yourself to be godly.
There are some things you can’t do by trying, you have to train. Discipline brings freedom and training can enable you things that trying never could.
The problem with us making promises to God, trying harder to live for him, is that without the preparation to accompany the promise without a spiritual training program in place to enable we’re guaranteed to fail, no matter how hard we try.
This is why we discipline ourselves in the things of God, this is why we pray. The disciplines in prayer and reading your bible are the avenues by which God can change us. But God’s changing my life is the ultimate goal.
Meeting with God is the seven lane highway through which God brings His change in your life. So to meet with God develop a plan for bible intake, develop a plan to get the scriptures into your life, not just into your mind but into your heart and into  your soul. Listen to sermons, so God can continue to speak into your life on a regular basis. Or listen to the bible on a CD, if you don’t want to read the Bible, you can hear it instead. Creatively cultivate your prayer times with God, make prayer times with God exciting. Listen to music, good loud gospel music.
4) We wait for a destination instead of embracing the journey.
You will never arrive, good and bad news. If you’re waiting to arrive than you’re waiting to die, because you’ll never arrive until you’re in the arms of God. As long as you’re breathing in and breathing out God is still working in you.
We have to realize we will never be fully freed by the things we used to do but are we becoming 

more like Christ, are we progressing, resisting? Are we on the way there?

Elevation Sermons - Core- Someone's gonna get it!

If you grew up in the Christian life, you have to find a balance between being obnoxious with the gospel in my responsibility to Christians, to share the gospel with other people and being passive with the gospel. Finding the balance between trying to force God into every conversation.
We were made to feel like we were supposed to be annoying (if you have that church background.) the more annoying you are, the better Christian you are. The line of reasoning goes like this: people are dying and going to hell and if you really care that people are dying and going to hell then you'll do everything in your power to stop them from going to hell.
We’re called to engage this lost culture as a church. We're called to step into hurting lives and cause the healing presence of Jesus to make a difference boldly.
How do we do this, how do we spread the gospel without being so obnoxious that the ears of those listening close before the message can even get to them, or do it without being benchwarmers?
God is into creative Evanglisim --> which can be defined as bringing people to Jesus, in a unique way, specific to each individual situation.
Three reasons why evangelical Christians do not share the gospel:
1) There are a lot of people who feel like they don't have it all together.
This one can be tricky because we all know our lives will never be just the way we want it to be. There are still a lot of areas in our life that God is still dealing with. Some of us still have a terrible temper, an evil tongue and we haven't learned how to keep it under control. Others of us are carrying around deeper, darker things than that and that not having it all together may make us feel like we're being hypocritical for you to share your faith with anybody when my life's not in order. Who am I to tell someone else how to live when I'm not living how I wanna live. Who am I go interject into anybody's situation and make any suggestion about their morality and lifestyle when I don't have it all together.
2) People feel like they don't have all the answers. And that's true, you don't have all the answers. It should humble you to know how much you don't know. People might look at you for your age or how you look and judge you on your knowledge, and the amount of Christian knowledge you know so you keep silent.
3) People feel like they don't have a place to start.
They don't know what to say.
These are all excuses.
Gods word has a lot of answers to all of these excuses.
It's a Pastor's job to reverse these excuses so that Christ can be known and enjoyed and worshiped by people we care about. People who are made in the image of God.
Our mission statement, our purpose statement as a church is so that we can exist, so that people who are far from God will be raised up into the abundant life found only in Christ. Jesus Christ said that He came to seek and to save those which were lost, his final command to us was an evangelistic command, to go and we have pinned ourselves into a corner as a church, we exist so that people who are far from God will receive Jesus Christ and his fullness.
Mark 2:1-12
The primary thing preached in this passage is that Jesus Christ is the son of God and has the authority to forgive sin.
Five key phrases from this passage:
1) Verse two says sooo many gathered, that there was not even any room left, this happened a lot when Jesus went to town, the word would spread and the crowds would come.  
People matter to God & lives are dying to be changed, and so we will grow as a church, why? Cause if we care we will grow. If Jesus is present we will grow. Because where His presence is there is an attraction, a magnetic attraction. The mission of God on the earth is that this gospel would be preached into as many lives for as much change as possible.
2) Verse three and four, we need to see that someone's got to get it in our lives. We all have that one messed up family member, who is it? And nobody can get through to them, and it's been years and they know right but they've been out there somewhere and you've got friends whose lives are consumed with drama and dilemmas and you just wish that the prince of peace, Jesus, would bring some peace into their lives so you don't have to hear about it. You've got these people that need to get it, you can't treat them like objects because they are people.
The paralyzed man in these verses couldn't bring himself to Jesus so his friends helped him get there, but there's people in our lives who can bring themselves, see you will never truly get it until you bring people with you who don't get it. There's nothing like showing up at a worship service with somebody next to you who needs to hear and who wants to hear and see God change their lives. The men who brought the paralyzed man to Jesus would not take no for an answer, they got turned away at the door so they reared the roof open. And lowered the man through there.
Powerful things happen when people get involved into evangelism and can't take no for an answer.
God leaves a lot of room for imagination in a lot of stories, that's on purpose, so that we can find ourselves in that situation so that its not a historical account of something that happened but something that Gods still doing.
3) Jesus saw their faith. Because they brought their friend who was paralyzed to see Jesus. You know we can do the same for those who are in our life who can't make it on their own but with our help can get there? Your faith can change a situation. Hebrews 11:1. Pray and then act on it. Who in your world is there that you care about who needs to get it? And what will you do to tear the roof off?
If you walk with God He'll tell you when to speak up and when to shut up. He'll show you when to do something to bless somebody and not say a word about it and He'll show you when to go in for the kill and talk to them about Christ on a confrontational level. Jesus wants to see your faith!
4) Sitting there thinking to themselves.
Spectators become speculators in church .
You'll never fully experience a worship service until somebody's with you who is far from God, whose life you've invested in.
We are not the body guards of God’s forgiveness and grace. Choosing who can get to them and who can’t.
5) Verse 12-  I've never seen anything like that.
Have people look into your life and say, "I've never seen anybody handle stress like that. I've never seen anything like that.."
You have this ability to turn it over to God, that's creative evangelism. Living your life out so that people exclaim, I've never seen anything like it. Or for them to say I've never seen anything like you, you pray for me and you ask me how I'm doing and you seem more concerned with my affairs than your own affairs. --> that's how we win this world to Jesus!
Practically, authentically display your faith.
By giving someone a bible as a gift, praying for someone and letting them know your praying for 

them. Be a blessing. Invite people to church.

Elevation Church Sermon - Core - Something's gonna happen

Anytime you come before the presence of God you walk away changed. You may leave changed for worse, or you may leave changed for the better. Either your heart becomes more like Christ because you hear his word or his commandments for you and obey it or you hear it and ignore it and your heart gets a little bit harder. But either way your changed.
Definition of worship --> Worship is placing my minds attention and my hearts affection or devotion on The Lord in response to who He is and what He's done.
We should have a desire that something's gonna happen to us in church on Sundays. A desire that God is going to work on our hearts and change us.
People need a touch from God.
We need to cry out to God and say "God, I need a touch from you today. God your word doesn't speak to me like it used to. God when I go to pray my mind is so distracted that I can't find the words, I need a touch from you today. God there's stuff in my life that if people found out about it they wouldn't think what they think about me. I need a touch from you today."
We should call our services Experiences and not Worship service. So that people can come in ready not just to do it but to feel it and to know it and to become it. Experiencing God and encountering God, meeting with God, face to face with God.
The three common reasons people don't go to church may be because their lazy, busy or disinterested. But the reality is that it's disappointment or disillusionment because many people came and nothing happens, why bother? Why not go to the golf course, why would I go through the whole production of fixing myself up and painting my face up and wearing a special outfit and going through the trouble of getting ready and getting there if nothing's gonna happen? People are disappointed, and disillusioned but what happened to them in these services, what hasn't happened, or what they think would happen, or what they think won't happen, but for many people their not coming back or their not coming at all because nothing's going on.
There are a few things we can do on our part besides what the church can do for us. Miracles of God happen to people who are prepared. His miracles are not accidental.
Something's gonna happen in your life if this is gonna happen, if Gods gonna speak to you, explode in your heart, change situations in your life, something's gonna happen when..
1) You're fully engaged.
This means engaging your soul, your mind, your will and your emotions. The totality of who you are. When your soul is engaged, something happens. God can move. God can set you free in areas of your life. Most people are touched more by movies than church services.
Movies engage our souls, your mind is following a carefully crafted plot. Your emotions are being stirred by the tension and your will somehow changed a lot of times because of it. The gospel truth is that there is nothing more engaging than the gospel, there's no plot more engaging than the story of Jesus, there's nothing more emotionally stirring than the presence of God and there's no other better place than to have your will transformed by the community of believers.
2) You will be changed and something will happen in your life if you are willing to risk.
Mark 5:21 --> the women who affected Jesus, who touched him and was healed.
We have to go to church with the audacity to affect Jesus. we have to come in like "God , I'm not gonna just roll over and die, there are habits in my life that need breaking, there are things in my life that I need accomplished and I'm coming to receive from you what you have for me. I have the audacity and the courage to risk change."
There are two risk:
1) Embarrassment.
Some of us don't sing at church because we don't have a good voice, but you’re not singing to them. You’re singing to Him.
2) The risk that Jesus is gonna change your life when you come into church.
It ought to be dangerous to go to church, we should worry what The Lord is gonna say to us that day, where does he want us to go? What does he want you to give? When will He tell you to stop? Or when He might tell you to start. How He might push you out.
3) Something's gonna happen when you are properly postured.
Come before The Lord with confident humility. You have a right to come before God because you are His child. All of us who have been changed by Him, who have received Him, and been called His children can come to Him with confidence. You belong there because of Jesus. You belong there because of His grace, but you’re humbled because of his greatness. You can come before God with confidence, no shame, the bible says that you can come before Him boldly, make your request known to Him. It is not wrong to ask God for things. It is not wrong to expect Him to move in your life. It is not wrong to ask Him to change you, bless you so that He can receive glory from your life. But you better be humble and you better know that its all about HIM! And you better fall before Him spiritually speaking.
We have to posture ourselves because He's gonna move in our lives and something's gonna happen! We show up and have to have a pen cause Gods gonna say something you might want to write down that day. He's gonna speak to your soul.
4) Something's gonna happen when you keep on coming.
You can't expect overnight changes from God, you've gotta keep coming.
5) Something's gonna happen when you are coming prepared.
Pslam 100:4 "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and enter His courts with praise." Eat before you go 

to church, so you’re focused. Focused on God and focused on what ways He can change you that 


Elevation Sermon - Core- True You (Part 1)

A church building does not make up the church, the people in the church make up the church. Where we are, God is. There is no way we can be the church God’s called us to be if the people in the church aren’t being the church God’s called them to be. Because the church is not a building, it is not an activity, it is not an event that you attend. The church is people, the people of God coming together, anytime we come together and anytime we set our minds attention and our hearts affection on him we are having church, we are the church. The church starts when we get there.
If there was a message that needed to be repeated from now until Christ comes it would be the message of who you are with Christ. Your Identity in Christ.
90% of our issues comes from our identity issues not our behavioral issues. A lot of us have been trying to live for God through all the wrong places and all the wrong spaces in our lives; and all of our effort has produced a lot of frustration; a lot of us have made commitments to live harder and faster and better for God and you may fall short. A lot of you may have made commitments to pray longer and read more scripture and do better things and be nicer to our in-laws or elderly parents and be more selfless in the way you live your life, you’ve fallen short, so whether you’ve stayed outside the faith, whether you’ve fallen short in the faith or whether you’ve fallen away from the faith that you once had; the key issue for you is an identity issue. Because the Christian life is not so much about what God wants from you as what he wants for you, and if you never get that, you will run yourself trying to please a God who already loves you and can’t love you anymore than He does the moment you receive Jesus into your life.
Three things Christians are not:
1) God’s improvement projects.
(Ephesians 2:1-10) “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
This passage is about our identity in Christ! The bible makes it clear that ALL of us craved into the desires of our sinful nature.
You can’t understand how good it is inside the Christian faith until you understand how hopeless it was before the Christian faith. → Steven uses the example of the show Extreme Home Makeover. How the people would make improvements on the houses before and now they just tear the house down and rebuild the foundation. We are not God’s makeover, we are his start over, God has to start all over when he changes our lives. When we aren’t in Christ we are considered dead. A frequently asked question young people ask Steven is if it is ok to date a non-christian if you are a christian? His response is → In (Ephesians 2:1) it says “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked.” And that once you’re in Christ you’re made alive in him, so if he were you Steven says he would not date dead people. If you’re alive and their dead it probably will not work. How can you be with someone who’s so different from you? Different backgrounds, and make that thing work without a supernatural presence of God breathe life into that marriage or relationship?
Every evil desire that you have can be dealt with at the cross, and Jesus doesn’t want to dress you up and paint you up or hammer out a few dents in your life, he wants to start all over and rebuild the foundation and make you brand new!!
2) We Christians are just sinners saved by grace.
This statement is an insult to Jesus, that those of us who he has purchased by dying on the cross for our sins would ever call ourselves ‘just sinners saved by grace’ this isn’t all we are if we know Christ, that’s just the beginning of who we are, that’s just the starting point.
The New Testament calls Christians Saints 63 times!!
The reason why so many of us make promises to do more and try more and live better for God and it doesn’t work? It’s because we’re trying to be a sinner saved by grace and God has called you a saint and until you get the identity issues squared away your behavior modification won’t fix anything.
The bible calls you God’s workmanship, his creation, his child. That once you enter into a relationship with God you are God’s righteousness and God no longer sees your sin and he’s raised you to life, you can be a sinner saved by grace if you want to, but I’m going to be a saint.
3) Spiritual Schizophrenics.
There are some pastors who teach people that when they come to Christ they will have two natures inside of them fighting against each other for the rest of your life. But the Bible teaches that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  Matthew 12:25 says God would never make you, his creation, a house divided against yourself. So what you have on the inside of you is a ‘good nature and a dead nature’ that old nature is gone the bible says. And your identity now is determined by your birth not your behavior.
You know why a lot of you’re friends don’t want to come to Christ? Because they're watching on the outside, and they don’t want to come inside because they can’t taste the joy and see the fulfillment and the purpose that belongs to the Christian when your identity is changed. The moment Christ comes into our life, our identity should change, we shouldn’t be the SAME!!
The moment your identity changes, your nature changes. You’re actions are different. Everything you say is different. God made us BRAND NEW, he started all over. Raised us up to life, its not our nature to do what we used to do. We all have issues, that might cause you to still have an old sinful nature running around somewhere, the NIV version of the Bible says the word ‘sinful nature’ in reference to Christians, that is not the correct word for what Christians have on the inside of them, the word is the greek word sarx, it means flesh. The flesh is the pattern and behavior that we have established in our life, that we still may fall back into during our moments of weakness and temptation. But that is NOT our nature, identity determines nature, my identity is determined by my birth. My identity is determined by who my father is, and what He calls me. As a Christian I have a new identity, I have a different picture, I have a new desire. My habits determine my behavior, my patterns determine my behaviour. My identity determines my nature, my patterns determine my behaviour.  And the reason I don’t behave like I should behave is because of patterns not nature, and anytime I see sin in my life as a Christian it’s not simply a matter of behaviour, it’s a matter of my identity and my behaviour being misaligned.
This is core of who we are in Christ.
The father that you have in heaven is looking for everything you do right, and he’s proud of everything you do right. (2 Corinthians 5:17) “If you are in Christ Jesus you are a NEW creation. The old has gone the NEW has come.” Thats good news! Those of us who are in Christ have the life of God on the inside of us, and we’re a saint with the nature of Christ at the very core of our being.
4) Stopping what you love and starting what you hate.
Those questions that non-christians ask themselves before they come to Christ, “What will I do with all the parties I used to go to, and the ones I still want to attend? What would I do about...” Insert the desire and the tendency. A lot of people haven’t been taught about how big God’s wrecking ball is, or that when God invades a life, he builds a seven lane highway down the middle from His heart to yours, and gives us Psalm 37:4 desires. “Delight yourselves in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

When you want to sin, lust or say something about somebody that you would never say if it weren’t 

for the fact that you wanted to make yourself feel better by saying something about them, thats not 

really you. Christianity is not doing all of the things that you would like to do and doing dutifully all the 

things that you have to do. Praying and reading your bible. But the core of your want to is to be like 

Jesus, the core of your want to is to be changed and pure, if you’re in Him. There will still be 

tendencies and residue of all the behaviour patterns that have been in our lives, the aftershock of all 

of the things we taught ourselves to do independent from God. But the good news is you can have a 

brand new start.