Sermons on Our Real Theme

This resource provides a video sermon playlist featuring sermons on our theme for this year.
We hope you will click to watch the services and sermons and share with friends. We hope to update these each month during the year as Pastor continues this series.
Sermons yet to come on our theme:
 
Real Spirituality
Real Godly Wisdom
Real Generosity
Real Prayer
Real Bible
Real Evangelism
 
If you do not have a Bible believing and preaching church, please don’t just watch online, come join us for a service.  Here is what to expect. 
 
 


6 Questions to Prayerfully Consider Before You Leave Your Church

 
Stop, Don’t Leave Just Yet…

6 Questions to Prayerfully Consider Before You Leave Your Church.

There are a lot of good reasons for you to leave your current church. There are also a lot bad reasons for you to leave your current church. The fact is that if your church life isn’t  messy and complicated from time to time then you aren’t doing it right. However, another fact is that if your church life isn’t refreshing and wonderful then you aren’t doing it right. This is how relationships work and your relationship with your church is no different. Like any relationship there will be seasons of pure joy, seasons of pure frustration, and seasons where everything seems pretty balanced.

Unfortunately, it’s the seasons of pure frustration that tend to drive people away from their churches, just like, unfortunately, people are often driven away from their spouses. But part of being in community together includes a commitment to one another through thick and thin, especially through the most frustrating times. To give up and leave your church when it gets difficult or messy is the easy thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.

It can be difficult to discern whether or not God is actually asking you to leave your church. Maybe you have wrestled with this before or are currently wrestling with it now. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you leave your church that I hope will help you sort through the situation and be able to discern what God is really asking of you.

 

 

1. Will I be able to walk with God closer and know Him better if I leave?

This should be one of, if not the primary question in your mind as you are thinking about leaving your church. Nothing in this life matters more than your relationship with God. Nothing. Not even your relationship with your church. If you can say with confidence that you will be able to grow deeper in your relationship with God at another place, then it is possible God is asking you to leave. However, this should not be a license to leave just because you are struggling to grow at the current time. Most of the time the inability to grow spiritually lies within us, not within our church. If you are a true Christian but aren’t growing closer to God, then it is most likely your fault. If anything, the lack of growth in your life should drive you deeper into the Christian community that you already have in your home church, rather than away from it to seek it somewhere else. Before you abandon your church, think deeply about the answer to this question.
 

2. Would Jesus be pleased with my reasons for leaving?

“Well, I don’t get along with someone there Jesus, so I’m going to leave.” Jesus responds with Matthew 5:23-26.

“Well, I’ve been hurt by someone there so I’m going to leave.” Jesus responds with Matthew 6:15.

“Well, it’s just too heavy of a load to deal with all the struggles there, so I’m going to leave.” Jesus responds with Galatians 6:2.

“Well, I’m just really not getting what I need from that church, so I’m going to leave.” Jesus responds with Philippians 2:3-4.

I could keep going, but I think you get the point. Most of the reasons that we hear from people leaving their church are not reasons that Jesus that would be happy about. When you enter into relationship with someone, or with a church, you have to take the good and the bad. No person is perfect and no church is perfect. If you are thinking about leaving your church because it isn’t perfect, search the Scriptures to see how Jesus would respond to finding out your reasons for leaving.
 

3. Have I done everything in my power to make things better?

Whether you are frustrated with the pastor, a specific person, a specific group of people, or something specific about the church as a whole – it would be childish and immature for you to leave if you have not done everything in your power to make it better. It does no good to whine about a problem or give up and leave if you have not offered a solution. More often than not, God puts frustration in our lives so that we can become sanctified and help sanctify those around us. Don’t allow your frustration to drive you to abandonment, let your frustration drive you to become more like Christ and help those you are frustrated with become more like Christ in the process.
 

4. Have I talked to church leadership about my frustrations?

Your pastors and other church leaders are probably frustrated by many of the same things you are. In fact, they are probably looking for people who feel the same way to help lead the charge to improve the situation. Even if your frustration is with the church leadership, you need to have the courage to express your frustrations to them and engage in a dialogue. By doing so, even if you decide to leave in the end, the church will be better off. Please don’t just leave your church without talking to your church leaders or at least explaining why.
 

5. Am I leaving to leave, or leaving because God has called me elsewhere?

God rarely, if ever, calls people away from something unless he is calling them to something else specific. When God called Abram away from his home and the only life he had ever known, He wasn’t just calling him away from Haran, He was calling him to Canaan (Genesis 12). When God called Paul away from his plans to preach in Asia, He also called him to preach in Macedonia (Acts 16). Don’t leave your church just to get out. If God is calling you to leave, He is most likely calling you specifically to another community of believers. Make sure you aren’t leaving just so be somewhere else.
 

6. Will I be moving to another church, or to the couch?

Whatever your reasons for wanting to leave your church, one thing is certain – you are not better off on the couch at home. If you are going to leave your church, make sure you are getting involved in another gospel centered, Bible-believing congregation. Too many people leave their church and never join another one. Similar to question 5, make sure that you have a plan to get involved in another church before you leave your current church.

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Please don’t leave your church without asking yourself these questions, or questions like these. There is too much church shuffling going on in our churches these days and it is not healthy for the people or for the churches.
 
Noah Adams – Noah is an associate pastor in Elgin, Il. and is excited about communicating and applying Biblical truth through the tools of social media and the world wide web. Noah works with Purpose Launch Ministries to help accomplish this task. 

 



5 Power Phrases to Boost Your Relationships

5 Simple Short Phrases to Boost the Love in Any Relationship (1)Need a boost to your relationships today?  Here are 5 phrases that are sure to make a difference in any relationship you have even if it has been struggling lately. Simple yet amazingly effective.  Try one out today!

1. “I love you.”  If you love someone, let them know it.  Tell them and show them often.  You may think they know it, and they might, but it is always nice to say it.  I Corinthians 13 reminds us that we can be smart, sacrificial and sound wonderful in our speech, but if we don’t have love, we are nothing. Tell your wife, your son or daughter, call your mom and dad.  Even in the struggles, an “I love you” sure can’t hurt. 

2. “I was wrong, forgive me.” One of my professors in college encouraged us to substitute this phrase for “I’m sorry.”  In saying, “I was wrong” there is no doubt in the offended and hurt person’s mind that you know you hurt them and desire their forgiveness and restoration of the relationship. We cannot be rightly related to God if we have broken and torn relationships with others. Perhaps you need to use this phrase with someone today. Don’t wait for them even if they were wrong too. 

3. “Thank you.”  In Luke 17 we read about those with leprosy who Jesus healed.  He literally changed the rest of their lives. Things were different because of His intervention.  Only one returned to say thank you.  There certainly have been people who have made a difference in your life.  People whose intervention changed things for the better. Do they know you are thankful?  What about old friends, parents, your children, their teachers, a coach or former pastor.  Make sure they know you are thankful.  “Thank you” is never said too late or too much.  

4. “I will .”  We must say “I will” to God as he speaks to us about things he wants us to do or change, but we also need to say it to others.  Jesus showed us in John 13 his willingness to wash his disciple’s feet. He then commanded us to do the same.  Look for needs you can meet, and then when you see it, say, “I will.” Try it with your husband or wife, your neighbor, your pastor, your children or your mom and dad.  You’ll be amazed at how serving others builds the relationship and encourages your own heart at the same time.

5. “I can

.” Have you hit some brick wall in your Christian life?  Do you feel defeated because of a sinful habit, or lack of prayer. Perhaps there is some difficult trial you and your teen or you and a spouse or friend are going through.  In any instance, it is easy to say, “I can’t make it.”  Paul reminds us that we CAN do all things THROUGH CHRIST who will strengthen us. A great lesson we must learn is that in myself I can’t, but in Him, I can.  Try saying “I can” to yourself. Say it to others who you may be struggling with.  Acknowledging that you can build your relationship by saying something like this can make a huge difference.  “I can make this work with God’s help.”  “I can react in forgiveness with God’s help.” “I can be patient and work through this by God’s grace.”

 

If we can be of help or encouragement to you in building your relationship with God, biblically repairing your relationship with others or  just listening to your heartache, please get in touch.
 
 

 

 

 



Christmas Cheer or Christmas Jeer? – Handling Family Strife during the Holidays

Avoiding Family Conflicts During Christmas with the Relatives(1)

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house were tensions and frustrations. What a rouse!The hurts and offenses from long long ago seemed just under the surface. Things were ready to blow.”

Does this, in some measure, describe your family Christmas each year?  Are you concerned about the gatherings over the next few weeks?  You are not alone. It isn’t just your family. In fact even in the Bible we see family conflict from the first family (Cain murdered his brother Abel) right on to the family of Jesus himself. If you study the families of historical heroes in the faith, missionaries and even pastors, you’ll find conflict to one degree or another. Why? We are all sinners. We irritate each other at the very best and “bite, devour and destroy one another” (Galatians 5:15) at worst.

So how do we handle tough family situations during the Holidays when it is supposed to be a time of love, joy and peace?  A time to cherish the memories of each other’s company, yet it is filled with strife?  Certainly there are an infinite number of situations. This post is not intended as a “cure-all” article nor do we want to minimize your family’s needs by trying to tackle them in a short blog post. However, we want to offer some basic Bible principles and a few practical ideas that may be of help.

1.       Love your family.  Jesus said that our love for family must be secondary to our love and devotion to him.  He also said to love our enemies and those who spitefully hurt us.  In order to love Jesus and honor him, we must love our families.  What does this love look like though in practical terms? Does it mean we open ourselves or our children up to physical or spiritual harm? No! However, It does mean that we love biblically.  Study 1 Corinthians 13 for a refresher on what this means. We suggest you seek wise biblical counsel from a pastor or godly friend for help in your particular situation especially if it is involves an abusive situation.

2.       Pray. Pray for yourself. Pray that you will show grace, love, patience, mercy and reflect Christ and his actions toward those who hurt him.  Pray also for the family members who cause problems. Seek God’s help diligently about the whole situation through serious prayer.

3.       Open neutral lines of communication.  The Christmas visit probably isn’t the best time to confront or rebuke. Instead, perhaps you could make an actual list of topics you can chat about which you know will be neutral.  Try crafts or hunting and fishing. What about new apps you’ve found for your phone? Recipes, pets, new restaurants… the list could go on, but think ahead about it and write it down.  Maybe write it in a note on your smartphone so you can discreetly refer to it when needed in the middle of the room or in the car.

4.       Don’t preach. Again, this probably isn’t the time to correct, advise or rebuke. If frustrating topics arise, do your best to suggest postponing the conversation. Have a plan of action for politely walking away. (I have to email a friend for Christmas, wrap a gift, check on the kids…) Do your part to avoid tense subjects especially if you’re prone to being a confronting type person.

5.       Limit the time. Plan ahead to limit your time together.  Don’t over-stay.  Planning ahead allows you to politely  let them know you’ll only be staying for a few hours or just for a meal.  If family is coming to your house, plan something ahead that you’ll be involved in after the family visits. Invite others over at a certain time so the family members in question will need to leave etc. This is not being rude. It is planning to avoid conflict.

6.       Plan activities. Perhaps you can visit a local landmark together. Go to dinner at a neutral place in public. You can plan crafts with the kids, outdoor or indoor games or watch a Christmas movie. Avoid down time where people are bored, restless or have opportunity for negative conversation and/or arguments. Keep the flow of activity moving with things that give options to keep minds and talk active with positive subjects.

7.       Create Space.  If possible, plan ahead for times of space for yourself and/or your family while still visiting. Maybe you’ll take the kids for some last minute shopping or to a McDonald’s Play Place. Plan a walk or run each day.  Plan to call a friend for Christmas which takes you away into a private room for a short time.  Bring a project to work on with the kids – a model or craft. Whatever it is, plan ahead to create some space so tensions can ease. Space allows you and them time throughout the visit cool down.

We fully realize that these few suggestions could seem trite depending on how difficult things are for you.  We hope not, but we do want you to know that we realize that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays are not always “the most wonderful time of year” and we care.   If we can be of help to you or your family, please join us for services and talk with us.  We care and we believe the Bible can bring hope to your situation
 
 


5 Ways the Church is Like a Little League Team

Little League Team
Ah, summer! Sunshine, picnics, and baseball! 

Yes, there are the major leagues . . . I don’t think I’ll ever be there, except as a spectator ‘way up in the nosebleed section. And there is the little league, where you go to watch your kids or your friend’s kids play. We all have a soft spot in our heart’s for the little league team. So many of life’s fundamental lessons can be taught and learned on the little league field.

There are many similarities between a little league team and the church. If you’re wondering about what church is like (or what our church is like at least) here are some good analogies. We hope you’ll come visit to learn more.

Read more…



2013 VBS Recap

vbs-19
Vacation Bible School! Whew! What a week!

Building from last year, VBS saw an average of 26 more attendees than last year, with many decisions being made for Christ. Elementary-aged children enjoyed stories, lessons and rally times at the church facility; the teenagers had a wonderful week of activities as well, culminating in Destination Unknown at the Stewart’s house on Thursday evening!

All of this was based around the object of sharing the gospel and basic Bible truths with the young people.