Author: Destiny Gonzalez

Turn Your Ears On //
Part Two

“Oh how I love Your law, it is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97

This morning Lead Pastor Carl Gulley continued our series, Turn Your Ears On. Throughout our series we are learning more about what it means to hear God and how we can respond. This week we talked about hearing God through the Bible. The Bible is the very written voice of God.

THE MOST PREDICTABLE WAY TO HEAR GOD IS TO READ, MEMORIZE AND APPLY THE WRITTEN VOICE OF GOD.

When we meditate on Scripture and memorize His word, we find intimacy with Jesus. Knowing the Bible is not about being a model christian, it is about knowing God.

GOD DOESN’T SPEAK ONLY  THROUGH HIS WORD, BUT HE’LL NEVER SPEAK CONTRARY TO HIS WORD.

When we are trying to discern what God is speaking, the Bible should be our filter. God will never tell us something that goes against His words. When we store up the Words of God in our heart, we give God vocabulary to speak to us.

God wants to speak to us. He wants to show us His ways and give us direction. We go to the Bible because the ways of God are greater than our own. God doesn’t expect us to make decisions on our own, He wants to be in the process with us because He knows what is best.

We also need the words of God engraved on our hearts in order to combat the lies of the enemy. When we have truth within us, the lies stand no chance.

IN RESPONSE //

This week, we want to focus on spending time reading the words of God.

  1. Read // Take a passage of Scripture to read and meditate on this week
  2. Memorize // Intentionally memorize that passage and let the words sink in
  3. Apply // When reading a passage of Scripture, take time to ask God these questions –
    1. How does this passage apply to my life?
    2. How can I respond?

Turn Your Ears On // Part One

“Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the wind words, the Spirit blowing through the churches…” Revelation 2:17 (MSG)

On Sunday Lead Pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our new series, Turn Your Ears On. Over the course of the next three weeks, we are going to be unpacking the importance of hearing and responding to the voice of God.

THE VOICE OF GOD SPARKS HUNGER INSIDE OF US.

Relationship with God is not meant to look like a monologue, but an ongoing dialogue. He longs to speak to us, to give us direction, affirmation and so much more. We find deeper intimacy with Jesus when we pause and allow Him to speak.

The thought of hearing God can sometimes seem confusing. We may think that we’ll hear the audible voice of God booming from within the clouds, but often, it is much more simple than that. When we hear from God, we typically have a thought that comes into our mind and it brings a sense of peace or causes us to pause and meditate on something. Basically, if it aligns with the Word of God, we can trust that it is the from God.

GOD HONORS OUR FAITH.

When we are learning to hear God, we don’t have to live in fear of getting it wrong. As long as we are using the Word of God as our filter, we can step out in faith and obedience.

Throughout our morning, we took a look at Samuel 3. In this passage, Samuel is being called by God, and his response is, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” Samuel eagerly responds with a heart postured to receive.

IF YOU WANT TO HEAR GOD, YOU HAVE TO START WITH SURRENDER.

God longs to speak to us, and we can be confident that what He has for us is good. So, we shouldn’t start by asking God to tell us what we want to hear. Instead, we should have the same response as Samuel, and ask God to speak whatever He wants. Because of who God is, we can trust that what He wants to say is way better than anything we can come up with.

Our understanding of the character of God determines what we hear from God. If we see God as our loving, kind and generous Father, we will eagerly wait and ask for Him to speak to us. If we see God as judgmental, annoyed or harsh, we will approach God with fear and hesitation.

Throughout our series, we will be talking about how we hear God’s voice. This week, we encourage you to ask God to speak. This may be a new concept, but hearing God for yourself really is a game changer. This week, start by asking God the question, “What do you think of me?” Wait for Him to speak and write down His responses, using the Word of God as your filter.

FOUR PRACTICAL STEPS FOR HEARING AND RESPONDING TO THE VOICE OF GOD:

  1. Wait: Be still before God
  2. Write: Steward what you hear
  3. Pray: Take what you hear back to God
  4. Obey: Quickly obey and respond to the voice of God

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Passport Sunday

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” Revelation 7:9-10 

Yesterday we celebrated Passport Sunday, a day of declaring our willingness to go wherever Jesus calls us. We want to be people that are committed to sharing the love of Jesus until all hear and know. The Church is God’s plan A for spreading His love to all people.

Throughout our morning, we talked about seven reasons why we want to be a part of the mission of God //

  1. World evangelization is possible
  2. We are the people of God on display for His glory
  3. People are hungry for Jesus, but the laborers are few
  4. We are motivated by God because He has already given us the power of the Holy Spirit
  5. Obedience is better than the sacrifice
  6. Eternity is forever, and the only way to get there is through Jesus
  7. Jesus is worthy

Everyone is made for relationship with Jesus, but many people still do not know about the very One they were made for. We want to be the people that respond and invite people into the greatest relationship they will ever know.

IN RESPONSE // 

We encourage you to pray and ask God how you can be a part of His mission. Here are a few opportunities we have here at the church –

  1. Sign up for World Mandate // Join us February 1st – 2nd as we gather for a weekend of worship and teaching, and believe for God to awaken our hearts to what He is doing in the nations of the earth.
  2. ENGAGE THE NATIONS // ETN is an opportunity to serve for three months with one of our international teams. More information will be coming soon.

The Fear of the Lord is… //
Part Three

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert wrapped up our series on the fear of the Lord. Throughout our series, we have defined the fear of the Lord as living in awe, respect and love of God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things. We also learned that we are blessed when we have a balance of both the fear of God and the love of God. Today, we talked about joyful obedience.

THERE IS NO ADMONITION FROM GOD THAT ISN’T FOR OUR GOOD.

When we have a righteous fear of the Lord, His commands are not burdensome but a joy. God’s desire for us is to experience unity, joy and adventure with Him. Joy is different than happiness because happiness is contingent on our circumstances. Joy is a deep sense of contentment and satisfaction, regardless of circumstances. When we abide in Jesus and obey Him, we have joy.

THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVES US THE POWER TO DO THE WILL OF GOD.

The Lord will never ask us to do anything impossible. He will always give us the grace and strength to do the things He asks us to do. It’s in that place of surrender and obedience that we find the adventure and joy God intended for us.

THE GREATEST ACT OF JOYFUL OBEDIENCE IS FORGIVENESS.

When we choose to forgive someone that hurt us, we are obeying the command to forgive just as Jesus forgave us. Forgiveness is central to the gospel. We nullify the grace of God when we are unwilling to forgive. We are al accountable to God, and when we choose release and forgive someone, regardless of what they have done to us, we find freedom. We also give someone else the opportunity to find freedom. For more on what it looks like to choose forgiveness even when it’s hard, check out this past message from Jimmy.

Two hurdles that keep us from joyful obedience are –

  1. Misunderstanding of God’s character // If we don’t believe God is who He says He is, we are hesitant to obey. We have to believe that God is good, faithful and so worth trusting. Ask God to reveal more of His character to you this week, He’s faithful to meet you.
  2. Democracy and negotiation // God gives each of us free will. He will never make us do something. However, until we surrender our will to the will of God, we will never experience the fullness that God has for us. We need to trust that God’s way is so much better than ours.

When we live with an awe, respect and love of God, we will joyfully obey Him because we can be confident that His ways are for our best!

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

The Fear of the Lord is… // Part Two

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert continued our series, The Fear of the Lord is…, with a message on the blessings we receive when we fear God. Fearing God is different than the human fear we typically think of. Human fear causes us to pull away, while Godly fears causes us to lean in because we don’t want to be away from God.

Like we talked about last week, the fear of the Lord is living in awe, respect and love for God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things. While we need the fear of God, we also need the love of God. The love of God is His mercy, kindness and grace toward us as undeserving people. The fear of God is His protection, boundaries and covering.

WE NEED THE PURSUIT, COMPASSION AND GRACE OF GOD PARTNERED WITH HIS PROTECTION, BOUNDARY AND LEADERSHIP.

If we focus heavily on the love of God and disregard the fear of God, or vice versa, we will get off track. We need a balance of God’s love and of reverence and awe for Him.

EVERY ASPECT OF GOD’S CHARACTER IS FOR OUR GOOD.

Acknowledging the awesomeness of God is ultimately for our good. When we put God in His rightful place, we are blessed.

TAKE A LOOK AT FIVE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVE WHEN WE WALK OUT WITH A RIGHTEOUS FEAR OF GOD //

  1. Survival (Deuteronomy 6:24)// Out of His mercy and kindness God gives us boundaries. He isn’t trying to control us, He is actually trying to keep us away from destruction.
  2. Free from Sin (Proverbs 16:6) // Our actions don’t determine how much God loves us, but there are consequences for our sin. God’s heart is for us to walk out free of brokenness and free from sin.When we obey His commands, we find that His ways are always best.
  3. Contentment (Psalm 34:9-10) // Scripture says that those who fear the Lord have no lack. When we seek the wisdom of God, He provides us with everything we need. There is no longer striving, but total contentment and provision.
  4. Those around us are blessed (Psalm 128:1-3) // When we are right with God, we not only bless those around us, but we also pave the way for our families in the future.
  5. Intimacy with God (Psalm 25:4) // When we submit to the ways of God and lean in, we experience deeper relationship with God. When we fear God, we understand that He is a covenant-keeping God.

The fear of the Lord is central to our freedom, and it is for our good. When we partner the fear of God with the love of God, we ultimately are blessed.

IN RESPONSE //

In order to get the balance of the love and fear of God, we need to –

  1. See God for who He says He is, and acknowledge both His grace and awesomeness.
  2. Repent of anything that is keeping us from God.
  3. Read and meditate on the Words of God
  4. Obey the next thing God tells us to do

Throughout our series, we are diving into what the Bible says about the fear of the Lord throughout the week. Take a look at this card for verses to use in your time with God this week. You can also follow Jimmy on Instagram for morning devotionals centered around this topic.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

The Fear of the Lord is…//Part One

The fear of the Lord is living in awe, respect and love for God so that we joyfully obey Him in all things.

This morning Senior Pastor Jimmy Seibert kicked off our new three-week series, The Fear of the Lord is… Throughout our series, we will be talking through what it looks like to live with a righteous fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord and the love of God go hand-in-hand. You can’t have a revelation of the love of God without a revelation of the fear of God. We need the love of God partnered with the fear of God in order to see the power of God.

When we live with a righteous fear of the Lord, the benefits are:

  • Blessing
  • Cleanliness
  • Deliverance
  • Friendship
  • Guidance
  • Holiness
  • Honor
  • Hope
  • Life
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Prosperity
  • Protection
  • Rest
  • Reward
  • Righteousness
  • Trust

In the next couple of weeks, we will dive deeper into how each of these benefits play out in our lives. This week, we talked about what it means to fear God.

There is a big difference between human fear and the fear of God. Human fear causes us to pull away, but fearing God causes us to lean in because we fear being away from Him. When we are confident in who God is, there is nothing else we will run to. When we have Jesus, there is nothing to be afraid of in the natural.

When we fear God, we allow Him to set boundaries so we don’t end up in destruction. God does not set boundaries because He wants to control us, He sets them because He loves us. We can’t back up from the boundaries set in place by God just because we’re learning how to walk with God.

FEARING GOD MEANS BEING IN AWE OF HIM.

We have to pause and acknowledge God throughout our day because God is present at all times. But often, we live as if He is only present on Sunday mornings. If we don’t worship God for who He is, we end up worshiping man.

GOD IS TO BE RESPECTED.

We will always end up following what we fear. If we fear no one, we will ultimately lead ourselves. To live in respect of God means we will trust His words and follow Him. We can trust God because He gives us boundaries for our protection. Unless you personally respect God, there will be destruction in your relationships.

JESUS WILL ALWAYS TRAMPLE OVER BROKENNESS.

The fear of God is also the love of God. Loving God means protecting His people. Even when we didn’t deserve it, Jesus showed us unmatched love. Our automatic response is to love and worship Him. When we are under Jesus, we are protected by Him. We nullify the grace of God when we turn away from Him.

We need to live a life of respect, love and awe toward God because He is truly all we have. And ultimately, He is all we need.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Follow Jimmy on Instagram for daily devotions centered around this topic.
  • Read through these Scriptures to learn more about the Fear of the Lord.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

Generations Sunday

“We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done.” Psalm 78:4

This week we celebrated where we have been and where we are going with a special generations Sunday. Throughout our morning Carl Gulley shared on why we invest in the next generation, and who we are as an inter-generational church. In a culture that can be divisive, our heart is to see the Church unite the generations for Kingdom impact.

WE ALWAYS WANT TO HONOR AND INCLUDE THE GENERATIONS THAT HAVE GONE BEFORE, WHILE LOVING AND INVESTING IN THE NEXT GENERATION.

No generation is more significant than another. We believe everyone has value, and the best stage of life to be in is the one you are in. It is at the core of who we are as a church to believe in and empower the next generation. When we invest in the next generation, we are living out Psalm 78:4. Our goal is not to fill volunteer slots in the Kids and Youth Ministries.

WE WANT TO CREATE A CULTURE OF INVESTMENT AND DISCIPLESHIP.

We may not all have the stamina to volunteer with the five-year olds on Sunday mornings, but we all have something to offer the next generation. It can be easy to feel like our past mistakes disqualify us from having something to offer someone else. But actually, our mistakes give us credibility to speak into the next generation. When we are willing to invest and vulnerably share our weaknesses, we are telling the next generation –

I WANT YOU TO GO FURTHER THAN I EVER DID.

As a church, we are experiencing the impact of people who took up the Psalm 78 admonition. Many of us do not know these people, but their investment has marked our church family. Take a look at this video, and find out why they believe in investing in the next generation-

If you are interested in learning more about how you can play a part in empowering the next generation, fill out this form.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

Where Mountains Melt //
Series Recap

“The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” Psalm 97:5

Yesterday we wrapped up our worship series, Where Mountains Melt. Throughout our series, Lead Pastor Carl Gulley led us in talking about why we worship, how we worship and how to incorporate worship in to our daily lives.

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF OUR TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR SERIES //

  • Worship is what we’re always doing, whether we realize it or not, and it’s our response to the magnitude of God.
  • When we are facing the impossible, our immediate response should be to get in the presence of God. Worship is our gateway into His presence.
  • In the context of worship, and really life in general, multitasking does not work. Our worship was made for God, and God alone.
  • True worship is not a compartmentalized life; it is an integrated one. When we invite God into every area of our lives, we ultimately find freedom.
  • It is always right to worship, regardless of how we’re feeling. We were never designed to be authentic to our feelings. When we choose to allow our feelings to hold us back from worship, we aren’t living in authenticity.
  • When our circumstances are telling us otherwise, we have to go back to the character of God. We may not always feel like worshiping, but there is beauty in choosing to offer up a sacrifice of praise.
  • The goal of worship is not an expression, it is love and obedience toward Jesus. Spiritual maturity is not achieved once a particular worship expression occurs.
  • Our comfort should not be our standard for worship. We want our worship to reflect heaven, even if it feels out of our comfort zone.
  • Worship is not a single expression, it is a lifestyle.

We worship when we are obedient to what Jesus is calling us to. Whether it’s in the workplace or in the Auditorium on Sunday morning, we want our lives to be a reflection of our gratitude for being set free.

This past Sunday, we set aside time to worship for the entirety of our service. Because of the unique service, we will not have a sermon video from this week.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Where Mountains Melt //
Part Four

This morning Carl Gulley shared part four of our series, Where Mountains Melt, with a message on why we worship the way we do. Some people jump around during worship, others raise their hands and some people sit quietly before the Lord. Maybe you’ve wondered which expression is correct. The truth is, each posture is an expression of worship, and there is no right or wrong way to worship.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY IS NOT ACHIEVED ONCE A PARTICULAR WORSHIP EXPRESSION OCCURS.

The goal of worship is not an expression, it is love and obedience toward Jesus. Believing there is a “right way” to worship leads to arrogance, and ultimately takes us away from the point of worship. We don’t need a particular formula or certain instruments to worship, we just need a heart directed toward Jesus.

Throughout our morning, we looked at Exodus 14 and 15. In Exodus 14, the people of Israel are finally leaving Egypt after being enslaved for 400 years. As their enemies begin closing in on them, the Lord parts the Red Sea, allowing them to get to safety. Immediately after their escape, Exodus 15 begins with the Israelites offering up a song of praise to the Lord.

WHEN ENSLAVED PEOPLE GET SET FREE, THEY ACTIVELY DISPLAY THEIR GRATITUDE.

Exodus 15 doesn’t happen without the freedom that occurred in Exodus 14. Once the people of Israel stepped into freedom, their automatic response was worship. This is still our response today. Once we realize that worship is an expression of gratitude and not a particular stance, we become the worship leaders. We are all worship leaders because we have all encountered great grace.

WE WANT OUR WORSHIP TO REFLECT HEAVEN.

Our standard for worship should not be what we are comfortable with here on earth. Heaven is our model. This morning we looked at Revelation 5:8-13. In this passage, we find John’s count of worship in heaven. Some have instruments while others are kneeling, and others are singing their own song, but all are worshipping the Lord. There is no particular formula and there are no stages of worship that we have to go through, there is just our praise that we get to give back to Jesus. When we focus on Jesus, the fear of how we look in worship falls away.

WORSHIP IS NOT AN EXPRESSION, IT IS A LIFESTYLE.

We worship when we are obedient to what Jesus is calling us to. Whether it’s in the workplace or in the Auditorium on Sunday morning, we want our lives to be a reflection of our gratitude for being set free.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Worship is about love and obedience // Is there anything God is calling you to that haven’t responded to yet? Take that next step of obedience this week.
  • Set aside space to meet with God // Set aside time each day to spend time with Jesus. If this is new for you, we encourage you to join us on Monday at noon in the Kids Auditorium for a guided hour of spending time with God.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director

 

Where Mountains Melt //
Part Three

On Sunday lead pastor Carl Gulley shared part three of our series, Where Mountains Melt, with a message on choosing to worship even when you don’t feel like it. It is easy to worship when everything in life seems to be going great. Other times our circumstances can cause confusion, and hold us back from worship. Basically, we get spiritual motion sickness because everything is saying God is good, but circumstances are saying otherwise.

A CHANGE IN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES TENDS TO ROCK OUR FAITH.

We aren’t the only ones who are tempted to lose faith when our circumstances seem to be pointing to everything but Jesus. Throughout our morning, we looked at John the Baptist. In Matthew 11, John the Baptist is in prison and he asks Jesus, “Are you the One?” John spent his life preparing the way for Jesus, but in the place where he couldn’t see what God was doing, he began to question. I am sure we have all been in this position before. Jesus’ response to John is beautiful. He points John to what He is doing instead of what He isn’t.

When we are experiencing that spiritual motion sickness, there is a temptation to focus on what Jesus is not doing, rather than what He is.

WHEN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES ARE TELLING US OTHERWISE, WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE CHARACTER OF GOD.

The cure for motion sickness is allowing your mind to come back to what is correct. The same is true with that spiritual motion sickness. We have to come back to truth, and the truth is God is good.

This isn’t always easy, but there is beauty in choosing to offer up a sacrifice of praise. When we choose to worship even when we don’t feel like it, we declare the truth of who God is, and we allow that truth to sink deeper into our hearts.

WE WERE NEVER DESIGNED TO BE AUTHENTIC TO OUR FEELINGS.

When we choose to allow our feelings to hold us back from worship, we aren’t living in authenticity. It is authentic to align ourselves with what we know is true. And the only thing we know to be one hundred percent true is the character of God.

WORSHIP IS A SLEDGEHAMMER TO THE POWER OF DARKNESS.

Like we talked about during week one, worship is our gateway into the presence of God. And in that place, we find freedom, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. We are called to stand in the gap and invite others into the presence of God so they will find freedom.

It is always right to worship, regardless of how we’re feeling. All of our problems will not all disappear in an instant, but we’ll find the presence of God. And in that place, we find freedom.

IN RESPONSE //

  • Take some time to reflect on the character of God this week, and let the truth of who He is sink in. Start by googling who God is as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and reflect on those passages.

By Destiny Gonzalez – Assistant Communications Director