Tag: carl gulley

All Peoples // Part One

 “…I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22 //

This week, lead pastor Carl Gulley kicked off our new series, All Peoples. For the next two weeks, we are taking a look at diversity and race with a biblical perspective. Much like the early Church, we have high emotions and division around this topic. The discussion can feel awkward or tense at times, but this isn’t a political conversation, it’s a people conversation. Most importantly, it’s a conversation that needs to happen in the Church.

WE ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST. WE ARE CALLED TO CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER.

The early Church found healing and reconciliation by simply looking at the heart of God and hearing from Him. We believe that same healing and unity is possible for us today. It starts with these conversations that lead to compassion and then real action.

WITHOUT INTENTIONALITY, RECONCILIATION IS NOT POSSIBLE.

Unity doesn’t just happen, it takes intentional steps of action. Throughout our morning, we took a look at the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. The Samaritans were rejected and looked down upon. Jesus intentionally got in this woman’s world, and made her feel known and valued. It’s on us to do the same today; to reach across cultural lines and boundaries and invest in those around us.

EMBRACE DIFFERENCES RATHER THAN OVERLOOK THEM.

Some of us may find ourselves as passive when it comes to the race conversation. We wouldn’t define ourselves as racists, but we also aren’t joining the conversation as reconcilers. Staying silent or overlooking someone’s race can be just as hurtful as throwing out jokes or slurs. Ignoring someone’s race disregards their culture and simultaneously forces them to adapt to our culture.

WE ARE ALL CALLED TO BE AMBASSADORS.

Regardless of where we find ourselves on the spectrum, the truth is, we are all called to be Kingdom ambassadors that carry a heavenly perspective. As we journey together throughout this series, our hope is that we will all be quick to listen and be led to compassion.

IN RESPONSE //

Come Together: We started the conversation on Sunday, but we’ll be continuing on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Come Together. Join us for an evening of intentional conversation and connection centered around racial unity.

Baptism Bash 2019

“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:3-4

This week, we celebrated with eighty-six people as they publicly declared their decision to follow Jesus through baptism. There really is nothing better than seeing people step into new life with Jesus! Throughout our morning, lead pastor Carl Gulley led us through a recap, and took a look back at all God did throughout the year. We capped it all off with baptisms, and it was the sweetest end to an incredible school year!

CHECK OUT SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR MORNING:

The Power of Prayer //
Part Three

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the One who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG //

This week was a special one! We celebrated our moms and wrapped up our series, The Power of Prayer, by hearing from Margie Atwood. Margie is on our Board of Advisors and has served as a spiritual mother for multiple people over the course of the last thirty years. Throughout the morning, Margie shared on living above our circumstances by through praise and reliance on Jesus.

THE VOICE OF GOD GIVES US EVERYTHING WE NEED.

When our circumstances and emotions are causing us to feel stressed, anxious or unsettled, we need to hear the voice of God. The voice of God brings peace, transforms us and gives us everything we need to move forward. When our circumstances are telling us one thing, we need the truth of God to give us perspective to live above our circumstances.

OUR CIRCUMSTANCES DON’T CONTROL GOD, HE CONTROLS THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

We can be confident that the Lord works all things together for our good. There is a refining that happens in the midst of challenging circumstances. There is hope beyond our current situation because God is faithful and good, and He controls our circumstances.

GIVING THANKS REFRESHES OUR SOUL.

It doesn’t always feel easy to worship and give praise when we are in the middle of a trial. However, rejoicing and giving thanks refreshes our brain, and lifts our perspective off of our challenge and on to God.

IT’S ABOUT RELIANCE ON GOD, NOT IMPROVEMENT IN YOU.

God isn’t asking us to have everything together. He actually invites us to press into Him, no matter the situation. When we choose to bring our mess, our anxieties and everything else to God, there is a promise that He will meet us in that place. He is inviting us to lay down our burdens and fully rely on Him and His word for everything we need.

IN RESPONSE //

Margie concluded our morning by challenging us to spend time in God’s Word every day. When we have a solid foundation of the Word of God within us, the Holy Spirit can use those Words to transform our life. If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by setting aside just thirty minutes – spend ten minutes in worship, ten minutes reading the Bible and ten minutes in prayer. Starting your day in the presence of God sets the pace for your day, and gives you the perspective you need to move forward.

Easter Sunday 2019

“…Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:5-7

This week we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus together at our Easter services! It was the sweetest morning as we worshipped and stood in the victory and life we are given because of Jesus. Lead pastor Carl Gulley shared a message centered around the story of Jonah. Though it seems like a non-traditional Easter message, the story of Jonah prophetically points to Jesus.

THE RESURRECTION OF JONAH POINTS TO THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS, AND ULTIMATELY REVEALS THE PROMISE OF OUR RESURRECTION.

We spent most of our morning in Jonah 1-3. The Lord asks Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place that is full of destruction and wickedness. To Jonah, this request makes no sense. Still today, God will unapologetically ask us to do things that don’t make sense in the beginning but will ultimately lead to life.

Jonah disobeys, runs in the opposite direction and finds himself in the belly of a whale for three days. It would be fair to say that Jonah got what he deserved, and his story could have ended inside the whale. In his desperation, Jonah cries out to God and the Lord delivers him.

Our story probably looks a lot like Jonah’s. We can find ourselves feeling hopeless, stuck and in need of a Savior.

JESUS IS THAT SAVIOR.

“because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights… But look – something greater than Jonah is here.” Matthew 12:40 – 41

Jesus willingly went to the cross and died for our sins. But the story didn’t end there. He not only took on all of our mess, but He overcame by rising from the dead after three days. We are now invited to stand in victory with Jesus, fully forgiven and made clean.

FORGIVENESS CHANGES THE GAME FOR EVERYONE.

This is the reason we celebrate! We celebrate our risen Savior who gives us hope and brings us from death to life.

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

 

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

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 //
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