Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Most Wonderful


What is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to you? Perhaps it is the birth of a child, getting married, having a loved one return home, or being saved from a near death experience. Something wonderful has likely happened to you in your life at some point.

Everyday something wonderful is happening. The various things, events, words said and written express this fact in real time. Yet, could there be something "most wonderful" that happens within the world? A pinnacle event that captures a "most wonderful" title?

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;" Isaiah 9:6a. This pre-Jesus statement made by the prophet Isaiah some 700 years before Jesus Christ would be born in a stable in Bethlehem, would rank up there as a "most wonderful" declaration. The purpose of the book of Isaiah was to call the people of God back to obedience during hard, threatening, and trying times; especially within the kingdom of Judah. The message of repentance from sin and a hope in God's deliverance echos all throughout this dynamic prophetic writing.

What this "most wonderful" Old Testament book has to do with the "most wonderful" time of the year at Christmas is God's promise to give us a son. Not just any son, but in fact God the Son. The perfect god/man Jesus Christ, who would be called, "wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This "most wonderful" event that happened; still happens every year. It shapes the calendar, the context of human interaction with one another, and the soul of all who would believe. The birth of Jesus is a "Most Wonderful" event. It transcends people, place, and position. It has the divine right to become a "most wonderful" reality of your life too.

It starts with Jesus
This wonderful birth has to be all about Jesus. In fact the Bible says that it was God's idea to send Jesus.  "And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth," John 1:14.

It requires faith in Jesus
The fact that Jesus was born in time, is certainly supported by most everyone. However, for Jesus to be "most wonderful" you have to place your faith in His appearing and the mission He was sent for. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and that whomsoever believes in Him (Jesus) will have everlasting life," John 3:16.  This faith is more then just a mental ascent to Jesus' birth, but in fact a yielding to Jesus as king, overseer, Lord of your life.

It continues to remain wonderful in Jesus
The story of Christmas, the ability to even say that Jesus is a "most wonderful" event in your life personally is not limited to just your faith or admission. It is God's mission that Jesus was born for, and this provides all the power necessary for Jesus to be "Most Wonderful." Romans 1:17 says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, 'the righteous shall live by faith."

If you happen to be in the Auburn CA area during the Sunday's of Dec. 22nd and 29th, Elevation Church invites you to come and hear a two part message series called Most Wonderful. Go to www.el-church.com for more info.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Pornified Culture, Part two of topic series

In my last blog I sent out some information about the neuroscience of what the brain does with images that are pornographic. These images within cultures are getting more common on main stream media platforms and marketing fronts. What this means is a conscience awareness to the pornified culture. Christians have to be looking to the Gospel of Christ as a transformative work in this moral topic and increased landscape of image identity.
Today on the The Briefing (a ministry of Dr. Albert Molher) I heard both alarming and revealing information on the very subject I am addressing within my blog today. I hope you will take the time to listen to the latest message from what USA Today reveals about the increasing agenda of a pornified culture. http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/10/28/the-briefing-10-28-13/

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Porn is a whispered promise

I realize it has been some time since my last post and I can simply say, my life is good. Busy, demanding, and wonderfully challenging. While helping some guys in my region through some porn problems, I came upon this reprint of an article that Dr. Albert Mohler released a couple days ago. It is very insightful to the neuroscience effects of porn in culture and gives good information on how continue to seek out the gospel in our intimacy with the opposite sex. Click here for the full article http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/10/09/how-pornography-works-it-hijacks-the-male-brain/?utm_source=Albert+Mohler&utm_campaign=69bfc0e4db-Albert_Mohler_Email_June_7_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b041ba0d12-69bfc0e4db-308025425
Please check back in a while to some additional posts about this subject and in the meantime, be mindful and thankful that Jesus is more than capable of freeing men and women from this sin.
Pastor E

Friday, May 31, 2013

9 Lives


I am not a cat person. Cats can be cute and cuddly I admit, however, I am more of a people person. I’m glad to be one, especially in my vocation as a pastor of a local church. And though the myth of cats getting 9 lives to live by seems fair to cats; humanity gets one chance for eternity.  That is why the gospel is for people. Certainly the gospel can have positive results upon cats; however, the gospel has eternal results for people.
The 9 lives who came forward for believers baptism on Sunday morning May 19th 2013 at Elevation Churches public worship service testified in not needing 9 cat lives, but 1 life in Jesus Christ. The nine individuals, with different walks of life, backgrounds, and life experiences had one solid truth by the grace of God; “Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me (Jesus),” John 14:6.
Elevation Church seeks to lift up the gospel of Jesus. This is seen in the confession of lives changed by Jesus. Thankfully we had the humble support of Chad and Andrea who hosted the baptisms at their home to keep the mission and ministry of Jesus alive within Elevation Church. As one of the pastor’s and church planter, the baptism narrative becomes a great witness to the continued way, truth, and life in Christ.

To come forward and allow a person (like myself) and perhaps another family or friend stand with you in a cold pond, in front of over a hundred people, publically testifying that Jesus is the Savior of your sins, and Lord of your life is radical. I’m always impressed by the grace of God, and equally humbled by the stories of the folks who come forward to participate in believer’s baptism.

This baptism was special because it was all about Jesus. Jesus is whom these people had said they follow, and Jesus has shown the way for their lives. It was special because it confirms Elevations mission to make disciples. The authoritative words of Jesus was to go and make disciples (followers) of Jesus, baptizing them in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. When a church is seeing and hearing about baptisms in Christ, then you can be assured that a love for Christ is happening. Finally, it’s special because the way a person identifies in the death of Christ with his death over sin; and so to is the victory of Christ in the life of the follower of Jesus by proclaiming this in believer’s baptism.


Elevation Church will still continue in the mission of making disciples of Jesus, and our hope is many more lives will be saved and sent for the glory of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the good of God’s Church.  Follow more story, pictures, and video through our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/elchurch.  Please come and join us for worship, community, and mission if you don’t have a church home of your own, https://www.el-church.com

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Appeared

This coming Sunday will mark the annual date that the church of Christ corporately celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. Every Sunday is a celebration for the Christian Church all around the world when it comes to the good news of Jesus. For in those gatherings the communion of disciples in Christ make much of Jesus. This continual celebration is evidence of God's grace in the risen savior Jesus Christ, because it has lasted faithfully by God's power for over 2000 years. Not only has it stood the test of time, it has saved the lives of God's people for many many years. God is always faithful to save his own, and anyone who is a genuine follower of Christ, can testify how true it is by how humble it becomes to worship Jesus. The church therefore has a beautiful opportunity to keep gathering and making much of Jesus in any culture, proclaiming the freedom message of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection. This whole week, know as Passion Week, is marked by a Savior who is the Son of God and the only way, truth, and life for anyone to believe.
So what makes Easter Sunday so special in light of how special every week of worship is for the disciple of Christ? Because the appearance of Jesus had a definite time signature. We can be assured that anytime the church gathers in Christ, that it is a blessed moment. However, we need to recognize the appearing moment of Christ's story over death; the resurrection over sin and death. The assurance of victory in Jesus. Each year, and every generation must hear Christ resurrected. The frailty and failures of our lives without the resurrection would lead our hearts to hardness, and our hands to graven images of worship that will remain dead with our sin. Praise be to God, for the appearance of Jesus. And in faith I believe the story of the Gospel, for my life personally and for God's people corporately.
Disciples of Jesus; let us with excitement and great anticipation prepare our hearts, minds, and lives to appear in community to make much of Jesus who did appear from the grave as victorious and eternal. If you are without a church, or are looking into the story of Jesus, and need a place to be this Sunday please join us at Elevation Church (www.el-church.com) at either 9 or 11 am. We will be celebrating the appearance of Jesus that has lasted for generations.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The opportunity for double honor

The life of being a Christian is sustained by Jesus. It is in Jesus, that any person, male or female can and should find worth, value, and salvation. Obviously Jesus wants his individual people to be building each other up within a Christ honoring group of other individuals that are saved in Christ. This body, locally expressed all over the world is know as a church.
The real face to face opportunity for the body to grow is to know how to serve one another. Everyone within the local body of Christ is of value, and sometime within the community of faith the ones who can get a "short end of the stick" are pastor's wives. These are ladies who are usually moms, wives, and women that carry the extra load of being a pastor's wife. Often misunderstood, forgotten, or marginalized they can seem lost to the church. This link http://ryanhuguley.com/preaching/6-ways-to-serve-your-pastors-wife-on-sunday/ to the article "6 Ways to Serve Your Pastor's Wife"is really helpful.
Just as an honorable mention, the church I serve at, Elevation Church in Auburn CA, does doubly honor my wife well, and though they do, some don't and this helpful, gospel centered approach to serving one another out of a reverence for Jesus is just more ways, that God gets glory and we get joy in doing so.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jesus' men leading Jesus' mission



In the continuation of the sermon series at Elevation Church from 1&2 Timothy (www.el-church.com) I preached last Sunday about Biblical Eldership. This is the highest office within the local Jesus centered church. The relevance of Godly men aspiring to the noble task of eldership is critical for church health and gospel advance.
The obvious confusion is with the culture that seeks to make much of it's leadership calling and less of God's leading the church through Godly men who will make much of Jesus and not themselves. Therefore a host of qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 apply to this generation of men who desire the task, office, and calling of being a pastor/elder of the local Jesus centered church.
Nobility from the worldly sense has little to do with who God is calling forward to lead His mission of the gospel. No doubt that a man of God who is desiring the task of eldership ought to be a man's man. That mean he is not either confused with his own gender or weak in the attraction of gender confusion in culture. He leads as a man, because God has called forth men from the beginning of creation to do so in humility and in God's will. A man who is a Christian. That is not one in title because they attend a local church or have had family members call themselves Christians and therefore thing that they are one too. These are men who are saved by Jesus, walk in the Holy Spirit of a changed, bought, and redeemed life because of the perfect ministry of Jesus. A man who thinks he can lead the mission of God without being saved by that mission will be a shallow self centered man looking to clean the outside of his life in religion, and all dirty on the inside with sin.
God is graciously calling forward men to lead His mission. These men are not for themselves, but men who will live for the gospel of Jesus. This generation is in need of these men. Not for the preservation of self, church, or culture; however for the proclamation of Jesus.
A few places to start is
1) Begin to read well the Bible. Especially look with a sober heart into passages like 1 TImothy 3:1-7 to see if you as a man are ready to consider desiring this task.
2) Seek Jesus in humble and contrite prayer. Don't rush into this decision to try and fix your identity, or save God from the wicked culture. Yet, pray for both confirmation and transformation to this leadership role.
3) Finally, seek wisdom from Jesus' men who preach and teach the Bible. These men could be virtual in the sense of an author, a keynote speaker, a teaching pastor you have heard online. One of my recommendations is to listen to this sermon http://marshill.com/media/text-and-context/the-ox-qualifications-of-a-church-planter and then talk with a real live person(s) to "flesh out" this desire. Also, if married, get wisdom from your wife. Let her speak boldly and honestly into your possible desire to lead the mission of Jesus.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Parent Rap

Simply one of the best vids I have seen creatively and tastefully done on roles, responsibilities, all to rap...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Saved through childbearing

The Bible in 1 Timothy 2:15 says that women are saved through childbearing. This powerful statement can have transformational effects for women if applied in Christ. The ways it is not, is taking the word saved and making it about you. For instance, some religious belief systems would express this statement in a means of God's acceptance of you as a person of value, worth, and destiny. This expressed view is nothing short of idolatry and heretical toward the doctrine of God's salvation in Christ alone. The Bible is clear that women and anyone for that matter are saved by God's grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and this is a gift and not of ourselves. Therefore the process of having a child in itself is not a means to being saved in Christ anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
The other view is putting off the childbearing all together; or at least until you have saved up the right things before you bear children. This popular cultural view among the progressive western culture of putting off childbearing is a salvation of being a woman for yourself and your pursuits. This low view of 1 Timothy 2:15 seems right for the individual woman who bristles against her design and God given blessing. Therefore the putting off of childbearing can, in and of itself, seem to be a salvation at the neglect of being saved in the process of appropriate childbearing in Christ.
So what then does this verse mean? In context, it is Paul's way of instructing his apostolic delegate Timothy to teach the doctrines of gender, roles, and intent of God's provision of childbearing to give the gift of God's grace at the fall of humanity (Genesis 3:15) and the ultimate birth of God's son, Jesus who will save the world of sin (John 3:16).  It is this gift of both having and raising children that become the reminder of God's redemptive love toward women and men, who are born of a woman. Therefore the end of this verse is key to apply to the woman of God who wants to make much of Jesus in her childbearing, doing so in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. The delight of being saved through childbearing is God's use of creation for His glory and our good. The raising of children then becomes the expressed opportunity to be both blessed because God is a giver of good gifts, such as children, and the provider of generations who will make much of Jesus, (Psalm 127:3).

A local story of freedom

Please take a look at this vid. It's from a coffee house, set aside for proclaiming the freedom of the gospel in Christ toward the global issue of exploitation of people, especially young women and girls of Sacramento region. Here it is... http://vimeo.com/41957932

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Sermon series at Elevation

So what does truth, integrity, the next generation, and the gospel have to do with the Apostle Paul? Come check out the new series with Elevation Church in Auburn CA. For more information you can contact us on the web at www.el-church.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Working on it

Finished Ephesians 6:5-9 this past Sunday, and reflecting on it.  I would have to say I enjoyed preaching this sermon. Paul's letter to the followers of Christ in the 1st century, in and around the great city of Ephesus, is still sound doctrine for the followers of Jesus in any town, city, or place of the 21st century.
The motivations of going to work, having to be subject to supervisors, or oversee others in any capacity of work requires the right heart. Thankfully the gospel of Jesus gives clear truth to the motivations as a worker and supervisor; "rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man," Eph. 6:7. This motivation alone helps anyone who is reaching for power, position, and possessions to see Jesus as the reason to work well.
We can take a long look at a faithful Savior who finished His job of redemption at the cross; as well as victory in the resurrection. All the effort, all the service, all the sovereignty perfectly worked out in complete submission to God's will of salvation, election, and making men and women holy before God. This motivation of Jesus in his work of the gospel is a demonstration of the love for His Father's will, and the disciples joy in that work.
Therefore Jesus invites his people called by his name to testify of that love by the way they serve in work environments of all kinds. To display the gospel is not limited to a pastoral office or church building, but an unleashed people of God who love Jesus by working like Jesus. May you be motivated to give Christ your best work, and I think he will use it for His glory.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ephesians 6:4

As Elevation Church continues to study, teach, and preach the letter of Ephesians on a weekly basis at our public gathering at 9 or 11am at 609 Auburn Folsom Blvd, Auburn CA, I have heard and seen some wonderful results of God's word challenging, changing, and conforming lives to "be imitators of God, as beloved children," Eph.5:1.
One such area (or as the sermon title of Ephesians is used in our series at Elevation Church calls it..."Realms") is in parent/child relations. The section we looked into this past Sunday was in chapter 6 verses 1 thru 4. In my study leading up to the sermon this last Sunday, I found this little article from a pastor in Mars Hill Church named Dave Bruskas. I will share it here and would encourage you to also check out more helpful Gospel centered material at the Resurgence. You can just click www.theresurgence.com to grab more help material on a multitude of topics. Enjoy this little work on Provoking Your Children...
 

Dave Bruskas » Family Children Home Discipline Education Calling

There are two texts in the New Testament that directly address fathers: Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21. Interestingly, they begin the same way: “Fathers, do not provoke your children.”
This pair of verses underscores the most serious threat a Christian dad can pose to his kids: to provoke or irritate them to the point of discouragement. As a dad, I have found two paths I am prone to walk towards provoking my four girls: perfectionism and passivism.

PERFECTIONISM

I desperately want my girls to become mature Christian women. I want them to be molded into women who think, feel, act, and speak like Jesus.
Yet I provoke my girls to discouragement when I expect them to be perfect now, in their own strength, by doing more or trying harder.  One time, while eating out with the family and a friend, one of my daughters complained about the taste of her enchilada in a most distasteful way. I had never heard her use the word she chose before. I was stunned, my wife blushed, and our guest squirmed. She sincerely apologized to us all and asked for forgiveness. But I struggled. I wanted her to do penance. But she respectfully reminded me that Jesus was more than her forgiver; he was in fact her forgiveness. I was trying hard to impress this discouragement on her, but she refused to be provoked.
Perfection, in the sense of being completely like Jesus, is the end goal. But perfection never comes through human performance, nor is it fully attainable in this life (1 John 1:8).

PASSIVISM

The overcorrection to perfectionism is passivism. Passivism has the fatalistic attitude, “Because Jesus must change my child’s heart, there is nothing I can do but pray and watch and hope for the best.” This error completely ignores the charge to dads regarding their children in Ephesians 6:4,“Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” This is the flip side of the coin of the great “Do Not”: there is much to do!  I traditionally take each girl on a father-daughter spiritual retreat in the summer between her 5th and 6th grade years. My youngest daughter just entered 7th grade, but we haven’t made the trip yet. I brought this up the other day as another summer passed and said I was sad it hadn’t happened and hoped it would soon. She replied, “I’m sad too, Dad. But I can’t drive, and they won’t let me buy plane tickets yet. Just sayin’.” She was right. This trip was entirely on me, and my passivity in planning it was provoking her to discouragement.

PREACHING TO MYSELF

If I am to be the dad Jesus calls me to be, per Colossians 3:16, it must flow out of the word of Christ living in me. The most important task I face each day as I raise my daughters is to preach the gospel to myself, turn from my sins of perfectionism and passivism, and instead trust in the finished work of Jesus for forgiveness and future obedience. Only then will I stop provoking my kids to the point of discouragement and start bringing them up in the Lord.