Words are a powerful. Nothing has more impact then words that are spoken for you or against you. Those who love recklessly have an overflow of words that are supportive, encouraging and life giving. Pastor Clay Monkus continues the series, Reckless Love by talking about how words impact others and how you can be grace giving in your words.
In this message Clay Monkus explores one of the biggest barriers that we face in really recklessly loving other people in the way that God has called us to. This barrior is our current cultures mindset of “us” versus “them”; that we believe that if you are on the "us" side, then you are good, right, loveable and matter, but if you are on the "them" side, then you are bad, wrong, unloveable and ultimatly don't matter.
This idea does unbelievable damage to us really being able to become reckless lovers. But Jesus attacks this idea that he knows we all struggle with.
Mark 4:35 "That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
The challenge of love is at the core of Jesus teaching. It is a simple commandment to go and love but one of the hardest things anyone will ever have to do.
So what does it mean to be Reckless? To go and love in a reckless way? Pastor Clay dives into what could be the very thing that changes the landscape of christianity...Love.
Every day is just a collection of moments. There's 1,440 minutes in every day. 1,440 opportunities for you to connect to the presence of God. The goal comes back to this idea of how many of those minutes can I live in the conscious awareness of God's presence.
Psalm 16:8 says, “I have set the Lord always before me.”
Pastor Jospeh teaches us that a life with God gives us courage to chase our own lions.
2 Samuel 23:20-23
20There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior son of Jehoiada, son of Ish-hai. from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 21Once, armed only with a club, he killed an imposing Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. 22Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the Three mightiest warriors. 23He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him captain of his bodyguard.
In this message Pastor Joseph McMurry teaches us that there is something that happens when we realize what we have been given. When someone recommends you for a job or a promotion, when someone appreciates your service and gives you a referral, when you have a need and someone comes through for you. Something happens when we realize what we’ve been given. We become grateful.
Col 4:2 - Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.
When we recognize the presence of God in our lives, the response that makes sense is gratitude.
Soundtracks have a way of setting a mood… they help us interpret what is going on. They also add color to things. Just like movie soundtracks have a way of setting a mood or taking us back to a moment, being in the presence of God has that same effect.
As we wrap up this amazing series on Frredom with God, we look into the life of Jospeh and ask ourselves, "What story do I want to tell?" Because what is true of yesterday doesn't necessarily have to be true of tomorrow.
In Mark 10, we are introduced to a blind man, Bartimaeus, doing what he does every day of his life. He is sitting along the roadside begging. Day after day he does the same thing. You have to imagine that after all these years, resignation has set in. Hoplessness. Then, Jesus walks past, calls him over, asks him a simple question and his life is never the same. And in this simple question Jesus reveals his heart for rescue. He is asking that simple question of you today? What is the question? Listen and find out.
Set deep in the heart of every woman are three core desires. 1) To be romanced 2) To play an irreplaceable role and 3) To have a beauty all her own to unveil.
Look at the movies you love and the books you read. Watch little girls at play. You will learn something very important about the feminine soul. These are the desires that shape a woman’s hopes and dreams; they are essential in order to live life as a woman. Most of the time these desires are misplaced, forgotten, or misdirected. But these desires do not simply go away. They go underground and surface later in addiction, control, and shame.
We pay a high price when we neglect the core passions of our God-created hearts.
Albert Schweitzer said, “The tragedy of life is what dies inside of a man while he still lives.”
That's too many of our stories. We're alive on the outside and we're dying a little bit more on the inside every single day. What we have to understand is that something has been assaulted. It's been compromised. It's been wounded and it's been surrendered in you. Something is still missing in your life. You were created for something so much more and you know it.
For most of us, life feels like a movie we've arrived to forty minutes late.
Sure, good things happen. But tragic things happen, too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, but usually a confusing mixture of both. And we haven't a clue how to make sense of it all. No wonder we keep losing heart.
If you walk into any mall, amusement park, or hospital, you will typically run into a very large map with the famous red star and the encouraging words "You are here." These maps help us orient ourselves and provide perspective on things.
This is the Big Picture. This is where you are in that picture. Hopefully you now know where to go. You have your bearings.
Oh, that we had something like this for our lives.
"This is the Story in which you have found yourself. Here is how it got started. Here is where it went wrong. Here is what will happen next. Now this—this is the role you've been given. If you want to fulfill your destiny, this is what you must do. These are your cues. And here is how things are going to turn out in the end.”
We can discover the Story.
Maybe not perfect clarity. Maybe not in the detail that you would like. But in greater clarity than most of us have now, and that would be worth the price of admission.
I mean, to have some clarity would be gold right now, wouldn't it?
This message series is about a subject that has changed the lives of a lot of people in our church. But there's more to it than just that. This series is about the foundational pieces of how we help people grow. How we help people move from surviving to thriving. Really, it’s the foundational piece of all that we do as a church.
But there's so much more to it than that. The message in this series is a message that saved Pastor Clay and his wife from a dead life of religion and disappointment. It is a message that helped him renew his relationship with his three children and re-framed his priorities. It was learned in the midst of one of his most desperate times, and it gave hope when honestly, life didn't seem to have much hope left.
The truths in this series introduced Pastor Clay to a relationship with Jesus that, despite the fact that he'd grown up in church and had been a pastor for 15 years, he never dreamed or imagined could be possible.
And it's done the exact same thing for lots of other people around at Next Level Church.
And here's the good news, it has the potential to do the exact same thing for you.
The ingredients in the Christmas story seem kind of random: a decree from Caesar, an engaged virgin, an angelic announcement, three wise men, and no room at the inn— doesn’t sound like the narrative we’d write if we were God. Some of the circumstances we may be dealing with this year aren’t exactly what we’d write for our own stories either. In this message, we are challenged to respond to the seemingly random curve balls in our lives the same way Mary did to God’s biggest curve ball yet.
In this message we look beyond the Christmas story to the back story. When Luke goes to write the account of the birth of Jesus, he begins by setting the events in the context of the reign of Caesar Augustus. It's not an accident. Why? What is Luke trying to do? There's a reason why Luke tells us that Jesus' birth occurred during the reign of Caesar Augustus. Luke is contrasting two gospels: the gospel of Caesar (which is not living up to the hype) and the gospel of Jesus.
If you at some point in your life, when you were younger, or two years ago, or 20 years ago; if at some point in your life, you prayed a prayer: “Lord Jesus come into my heart or I want to become a Christian or God forgive me of my sin.” And you entered into any kind of relationship with God.
And then as time went by, you just kind of wandered away.
You may have had a bad church experience or your family moved and you just never went back to church or maybe you went to college and you just quit believing. Maybe you just drifted away from your faith. Or there was some tragedy that happened to you and you prayed and prayed and prayed and God didn't answer your prayer.
If any of this is true of you, would you consider coming back to church one more time? If so, we want to invite you to join us this Sunday at Next Level Church. 9:30a or 11:00a
We are a church that, not only understands how you feel, we are a church made up of people just like you. And we want to show you what changed our minds and hearts.
God cares way more about how open your heart is than whether you follow the rules. When Jesus is born, God's people are going about their business, walking right by, and then there are these foreigners who come. And out of their darkness, they find themselves in this place full of light because there they are with Christ.
And this is really good news for anybody who feels like they are in a dark place because they stepped out of bounds, because they paid attention to the wrong things, because they tried to find their way and it took them in the wrong direction. And now you're in a dark place and you're afraid there is never any light coming for you.
Maybe you're afraid you've ruled yourself out. You've made yourself ineligible for the light. And you just need to hear this, this Christmas season. That God cares way more about whether your heart is open than whether you've followed all the rules. And this is a light that keeps promising to break in.