Reconcile

Have you ever had a friend that stopped talking to you? Have you ever had a friend who no longer wanted to associate with you?  Did you ever make up with that person?

If you did make up with that person, this means you “reconciled” with them. The word “reconcile” means to restore friendly relations between.  After Adam sinned we became spiritually separated from God; but God sent his Son Jesus Christ to reconcile or restore our relationship with Him.  Through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, atonement (forgiveness of sin) was made.

So, what does this all mean? God chose to make up with mankind! We (believers in Christ) love God because he first loved us.  In 1 John 4:9&10, it says that God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  This is real love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Since we have been reconciled to God, we now have been given the ministry of reconciliation; meaning it’s our job to help reconcile others. That is what making disciples is all about, simply carrying out the ministry of reconciliation.

 

Pastor Marcus



Sermon Series: Colossians

Dear Church,
 
This Sunday we are going to start a four-week series in the letter that Paul wrote to the Colossian church. First, I want to ask you to be praying because there will be a very clear presentation of the gospel and my desire is that one, some, or many will receive Jesus as their Savior.
That being said, I met someone new in Colossians 1. His name is Epaphras. We aren’t really going to talk about him Sunday but he was one of the early church’s first multipliers. Paul writes that the Colossian church learned of God’s grace through Epaphras. Wait a minute! I thought Paul did that. Nope.
We might think of Paul as the guy who did it all but he didn’t. There were so many others that he trained to share the gospel, teach others, and to be disciples who would make disciples. Paul didn’t lead the Colossian church. Epaphras did.
The Vision to Multiply is a vision for a congregation full of Epaphras. I want to raise up people who would use their gifts to help others grow closer to Jesus. Yes, I’m the pastor, but people don’t need to come to me or even a worship service. They need to learn of God’s grace through you-the person who already has a relationship with them.
Paul writes in Colossians 1:6, “In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world-just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” Let’s pray that God will show us how to be part of this world-touching, fruit-bearing, gospel-proclaiming movement that will grow the kingdom for the glory of God.

In Him,
Pastor Tim



We Are Together

Dear Church,
 

As a pastor I often feel like there really isn’t anyone else like me in the church. Not that I am closer to God necessarily but just because of the position I am in and what is expected of me because of that. I wonder sometimes if people really see me or do they see the person I am expected to be.

Maybe you feel like this too. Sure it might be different in some ways, but maybe you feel like there is no one like you in the church either. Maybe you think that no one can relate with you because of the position that you are in or the situations that you have come out of. Maybe you wonder if people really see you instead of the person you are expected to be.

We are not alone. God has established the church so that we could walk this journey with Jesus together. We get to help each other course-correct as we love each other, encourage each other, and build one another up. So many of you wrote in goals that you have to grow spiritually when you filled out the discipleship surveys on Sunday. Thank you for being brave enough to share that with me. Know that you are not striving for those goals alone. I am here with you. We are all in this together because that is who the church is.

In Him,
Pastor Tim

If you haven’t filled out a Discipleship Survey yet you can do that at www.hfcog.org or pick one up the next time you are at the building.



His Love Never Fails

Dear Church,
 
Tag was one of my favorite games as a little girl. I have this memory of my sisters and I playing tag in the rain but we didn’t care; we were having so much fun. As we were running around, the storm seemed to get stronger. It wasn’t just rain, but now we hear thunder and see the lightning in the sky. We couldn’t see the sun it was so dark. For a second I was getting kind of scared and wanted to go home; but when I realized now some friends came to play with us- oh I didn’t want to go home it was just getting good, so we just played. Are we walking in a storm right now? Or can we see the skies getting dark? How will we receive this rain? As a blessing or a curse? No matter how much pressure you are feeling, God is in control. He is the one who will calm the storm; just learn to be content and wait for Him. We need water to grow, so in this season we will grow stronger; we will see the blessing, just have faith. We will see mended hearts, we will see families building their homes on solid rock. God promised to be our rock, our strength, and our shelter. Have faith because His love for us never fails.
 
Jacki


What an Amazing Picnic!

You did it. You were part of over 100 people that enjoyed a great picnic on Sunday. And because you turned out in such great numbers I fulfilled my promise to do cart wheels from one end of the building to the other. However, this day was about so much more than cartwheels. 
 
This day was about love expressed through service. I saw this in Israel, Mike and Sherry who worked so hard behind the scenes to get the food ready. I saw it in Daniel, David, Debra, Jesse, Gabe, Jeremiah, Alex and so many more as they helped to set up and clean up (in the rain). I also saw it in every person who took the time to prepare and purchase the wonderful food we enjoyed. 
 
This day was also about love expressed through fellowship and friendship. I saw it in conversations at each table. I saw it in laughter as I made a fool of myself. And I saw it as the church just enjoyed being together. I enjoyed it too and I can’t wait for our next time together. 
 
In HIm,
Pastor Tim


Worship Has a Purpose

Hello, H1 Family!
 
Recently, we’ve sung a new song at church about coming into a holy moment with Jesus.  The song is called Holy Moment, and the chorus lyrics are here:
For your honor and fame
Fall again in this place
Fill us up as we overflow with praise
 
One of the reasons I love singing this song with you is that the chorus declares one of our life purposes.  Isaiah 26: 8 tells us that our deepest soul’s desire is to bring honor to the Lord’s name and to bring him renown.  Read it here in the NIV translation:   “Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” 
 
It is part of who we are to want to bring fame to the name of Jesus!  It’s coded in us, and written on our hearts.  One of the ways that we can bring honor to the Lord is to sing about who He is, and celebrate Him corporately, stirring each other on to participate in actively praising our King.  Another part of our song says it so well:
Look and see the Glory of our God
Lift your voice to heaven
Jesus is our anthem
Celebrate the wonder of His love
 
When we sing together in praise to Jesus, we are not only bringing him honor in a unified way.. we are also fulfilling the Biblical instruction to greet each other in songs and hymns.  Ephesians 5:18b-19 says, “Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.”
 
I want to encourage you to continue worshipping the Lord in your private time and spaces, and also to put great value on your participation in worship with the church family.  Worshipping Him is one way to define the call that all of us have on our lives.  He is worthy of the adoration we give Him individually and as a body.  I look forward to sharing the next holy moment with you.
See you soon!  Let’s sing about who the Lord is and offer our adoration to Him together.  It is a good thing to dwell in the House of the Lord together.
 
Lovingly,
Anita
 
P.S.  If you need some starting fuel for your worship at home, try reading your favorite chapter in the Bible and praying about how God has shown Himself to be the person He’s promised to be.  Sing your response to Him, after you think about how He’s revealed Himself to you in a way that you recognized.  Worship always starts with seeing Jesus.  It is our heart’s response to His revelation of Himself to us in big and little ways.  We are wired to do it.  


What Apple Gets About Disciple Making

Not long ago I was in the Apple store working on my iPhone. A young lady was helping me—she probably looked to be in her early twenties. While she was working on my phone I starting talking to her about her job. I asked, “Have you been working here long?”

“No, not really. Just a few months,” she said.

“Do you like working here?”

Her face lit up, “Oh yes!”

Seeing her enthusiasm, I decided to inquire further. “Well, I bet it’s hard, learning all this stuff. You must have had to sit through hours and hours of training, right?”

She smiled. “Not really.”

I asked, “So how did you learn to do what you do?”

She said, “Well, I went online and saw there were job openings, so I registered for a two-day seminar hosted at a local hotel ball room. After two days, they placed me in a store and assigned me to a mentor. For the first few weeks I just wore regular clothes and the mentor wore the bright Apple shirt and lanyard. I just watched everything he did and took it all in. After dealing with a customer, he would ask me if I had questions or we would discuss that particular situation.”

By this time she had stopped working on my phone and was completely into this story, so I kept listening.

“Then,” she said, “after a while, I put on the Apple shirt and lanyard and my mentor dressed in regular clothes and he followed me around as I took care of customers. If I had a problem, he was ready to jump in and help. When he thought I was ready, he just set me free to go on my own. Now I’m prepared to do the same things with another trainee!” She smiled.

I did, too. Because what she described was disciple making, Jesus style. Jesus took in curious men, drew them to faith, let them shadow him for a season, and then he cut them loose to go on their own. When they were ready, he watched them reproduce into seventy-two more men. His plan was so simple and yet so profound. Jesus drew men to himself, let them follow him until they got it, and then he sent them out to reproduce.

When I look at the modern church, I’m grieved that somehow along the way we’ve missed the strategy of Jesus. Somehow we traded making disciples for making decisions. Somehow we traded a clear process with running programs. We stopped moving people through stages of maturity and started shuffling people between services. Somehow along the way we thought that if we got people to worship and in a group that they would figure it all out and become strong, when in fact, the church has become weak.

We’ve forgotten that the church exists to train up men and women who will take the gospel to their offices and neighborhoods and the world, and we started just trying to fill seats. What Jesus gave us was simple, reproducible, and powerful.

Apple gets it. Do you?

Written by Craig Etheredge

This blog is an excerpt that comes from our book Bold Moves.



False Evidence Appearing Real

Dear Church,
 
In one of my recent devotions, the author addressed fear and used the words False Evidence Appearing Real.
There is a debilitating fear that Satan tries to put on us everyday. It is intended to keep us from having the power, love and sound mind that God wants us to have. Sometimes we think of fear as an emotion, but it is actually a spirit. In fact, fear is one of Satan’s favorite tools, and he loves to harass Christians with it! But Jesus tells us that all things are possible to him who believes! And an on-fire, Bible-believing Christian who is fearless is the enemy’s worst fear!
It has been said that fear is the opposite of faith, and that is true. We can’t live in faith and fear at the same time. Fear paralyzes us and keeps us from receiving God’s promises. It keeps us from stepping out and obeying what God has called us to do. This is especially true in the area of being disciples who make disciples. As Pastor Tim has been sharing his Vision to Multiply, it could be very easy to listen to Satan’s tool of fear. Jesus calls us to be disciple makers and I believe each and every one of us is a disciple maker.
Fear must be confronted head-on with the power of faith. We must proclaim the Word of God and command fear to leave. 
So the next time fear knocks on your door, send faith to answer it!

Blessings,
Sherry


Measure Twice. Buy Once.

We are replacing our previous mower and Oscar Cantu said to me, “Measure to make sure it will fit in the shed.”  I was told that the previous mower had a 48” deck so I get a new mower with a 46” deck.  No problem, right?  Wrong.  As it turns out the previous mower had a 42” deck—a detail I would have discovered if I had measured to make sure it would fit. 

2 Timothy 2:15
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,  a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

As we pursue the vision to multiply and become disciples who make disciples we have to learn more about God through his word.  Here is some advice: measure it yourself.  Yes, I know you have heard some sermons.  Yes, I know you have been told some Bible stories.  Yes, I’m sure your elementary Sunday School teacher was wonderful.  However, what if what you think you know isn’t quite right?  What if it is off just enough that it is not actually the truth from God anymore?

The only way to know is to measure it yourself, or as Paul said to Timothy, “correctly handle the word of truth.”  Trust me when I say that I was ashamed and embarrassed that the mower didn’t fit in the shed but I would not have been ashamed if I measured for myself.  You don’t ever have to feel ashamed or embarrassed for what you don’t yet know as long as you keep studying the word of God for yourself.  It doesn’t matter how many times you have to measure.  Just keep measuring so that the word and your life fit together.
 
In Him,
Pastor Tim
 


Called to Be Uncomfortable!

In 2 Timothy 3:11&12, Paul says “You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured.  You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra but the Lord rescued me from all of it.  Yes, and everyone who wants to live godly lives will suffer persecution.”

If we did a survey and asked all the believers in world if they loved suffering and persecution many would probably say no.  If we asked those same believers if they wanted to live godly lives, they probably would say yes.  But according to this passage, living godly means suffering persecution; and suffering and persecution can be VERY, VERY, VERY uncomfortable.  The question that we should all ask ourselves, is do we want to please God, or be comfortable?

As human beings, we never want to get out of our comfort zones; but if you are a believer in Christ you have been called to be uncomfortable.  You weren’t called by God to be safe, and the life that Jesus lived was not safe. 

If you are depressed, idle, not knowing where God is leading you, and not seeing provision in your lives; it might be because you are living a comfortable, safe, non-controversial life.  You are living a life where you are not being stretched or challenged.  You might be a person that doesn’t want to attend church because you have been hurt, and feel like you need to be healed; or maybe because it’s more comfortable to deal with problems on your own, and to not let anyone in your life.

As a church let us step out in faith, by getting out of our comfort zones/boats and allowing God to lead us to walk on water. We are all called to be WATER WALKERS! CALLED TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE! AND LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN!

 

Pastor Marcus