Sermon Recap

SERMON RECAP Upgrade: There's More by Pastor CJ

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV)

Have you ever had someone over promise and under deliver? It's probably not a rare occurrence is it? Everywhere we turn people, corporations, and commercials all spend their time over promising and yet most of them under deliver. This creates in us a certain skepticism towards anyone or anything that makes a living by "selling" something. But when it comes to our Heavenly Father, he is the one person that cannot possibly over promise. So when he inspires Paul to write "He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" he isn't overselling! The question is, do we actually believe the Word of God? Do you and I believe that God actually wants to show up and show out in and through our lives? If so, if we really believe, then why don't we...

1. ...Pray more fervently

Some of us are praying small prayers because we serve a small God. Unfortunately, we settle for a diluted version of the God of the bible. You see, what you believe is directly connected to what you receive. In the same way, what you expect is what you experience.

2. ...Start dreaming bigger dreams?

If your dream for your life isn't intimidating to you it's probably insulting to God. Think about this for a second, the more we dream the more we pray. So let's dream dreams that keep us on our knees. Let's go after dreams that require divine intervention.

Bottom line:

The most powerful you is empowered by God's love for you. This is just a glimpse of Pastor CJ's message, so make sure you find a few minutes to check out the entire sermon online at southlandcity.com!

Have a great week!

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap

Series: Upgrade: The Operating System by Pastor CJ What's up Southland!? Hope you are off to a great week! It's hard to capture just how great this past Sunday was, but it was off the hook!!! If you missed it, you HAVE to check out the podcast! But here's a quick preview or recap depending on which way you look at it.

The truth is, there are so many Christians that are living a life far below the full life God intends for His people. So often we fall short of the joy, peace, purpose, and fulfillment that God offers. But life can be different! We don't have to settle for less. We can upgrade our lives, our relationships, and our approach to God. The hard part though is that we can't figure out the cure until we find the cause. And in the case of a broken humanity, that cause is the Law.

Romans 4:13-17 shows us three truths about the law.

1. The Law Cripples Faith In the book of Hebrews, it says, "Without faith it's impossible to please God." However, the opposite is also true. Without faith it's impossible for God to please us. Faith is a two way street and the foundation of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

2. The Law Cancels Promises The Law cancels the promises of God because it sends us on an impossible endeavor. There is not a single person in this world who can fulfill the requirements of the law. We can no more fulfill the law than we can fly.

3. The Law Condemns Sinners Condemnation is nothing new to you and I. But God doesn't want us to live under condemnation, He wants us to live out of security in Him; His love, generosity, and compassion.

Under the Law, there's really no hope because the law requires punishment. Our God is slow to anger but at some point He has to punish sin. Otherwise He would be an unjust God. The wrath of God has to be poured out. But the beauty of the gospel is that He sent Jesus to take our punishment. We can have freedom, forgiveness, and redemption through Jesus because Jesus took our sin and paid the price!

This changes everything. Life is turned upside down when we approach life out of this new reality! In Jesus, we win, we live, we have victory!

There are actually two bottom lines to this message.

1. God punishes the sin but preserves the sinner.

2. The gospel is about keeping in step (with the Holy Spirit)  not keeping the law.

Again, if you haven't heard this message yet by Pastor CJ, and even if you did, I encourage you to check it out again!

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap

Series: Upgrade Message: Weigh The Options by Pastor Justin

When it comes to upgrades, were all in need of one, right? One way or another I'm sure there's at least one area of your life that could use an upgrade. Last week Pastor CJ inspired us to settle for nothing less than greatness. And this week Pastor Justin continued the Upgrade series with a message titled: Weigh The Options. Here's a quick look at Pastor Justin's message! One problem we run into right off the bat when addressing the idea of an upgrade is that there are so many options. Any and all upgrades require change. And the truth is, many of us assume we are open to change when in actuality we are extremely resistant to even changing sides of the bed. You see, God loves us where we are, but he loves us too much to let us stay where we are. Our Heavenly Father is always moving forward and wants you and I to join Him. So here's a few things to keep in mind as you begin upgrading your life:

Your upgrade...

1. Won't always feel like an upgrade

2. Won't always be easier

3. Will cost you something

4. Won't always be popular

So, the bottom line? The bottom line is that, the cost of not following God is greater than choosing to follow him. True, there's a cost to following Christ, and it's pretty substantial at times. But the price of refusing to follow Him will cost us even more. So what area of your life does God want to upgrade? Is it your relationships? Your marriage? Your career? Or perhaps He wants to upgrade your view and appreciation of Him alone. Whatever it is, don't hesitate to follow and allow His upgrading process to take root in your life. Have a great week!

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap

Sermon Recap Series: Upgrade

Message: Settling For Less by Pastor CJ

What's going on Southland!? Hope you are all having a great week so far! And I pray that you have taken to heart the message Pastor CJ shared Sunday and are applying it to your life. Here's a quick recap for those who just need a little refresher! Chances are, you have allowed yourself to settle for good. You have settled for good instead of striving for greatness. Don't feel bad though, we have all done this. Which is precisely why this is such an important series!

In the book Good To Great, Jim Collins says, "good is the enemy of great." No one will ever achieve greatness when he or she settles for good. This series is all about attaining greatness. It's about fulfilling our fullest potential in Christ. It's about NOT settling for anything less than greatness. But in order to do that, we first must realize that we need an Upgrade. We often settle for less than what God has for us, but we must live by biblical principles if we want to see biblical results. We are called to travel with God, trust in God, and be transformed by God. Don't settle for deliverance when you can experience freedom. Here are a few things to consider as we refuse to settle for less and allow God to upgrade our lives:

1. When we depart, God delivers

If you're simply waiting around to see God do the impossible, you'll probably be waiting a long time. God's desire is to work in and through you and I. As we step out He steps in. Don't be afraid to take the step of faith He's asking you to take.

2. It's going to be strange

Abraham and his family had to learn how to live in a foreign country. Sometimes when you and I step out in faith into the great things God has for us, it's not familiar. It may take some getting used to as we learn to live on a new level. Accept the unfamiliarity and embrace God's calling and promises!

3. Remain Portable

You may have to leave everything you know and move on in order to embrace what God has next for you and your future. Keep a trusting heart, an unbreakable faith, and a certain flexibility when it comes to following God's promises to the ends of the earth.

4. Anchor your vision

Abraham's confidence in God's promises was uncompromising. We could take a lesson from him in faith-enomics. What is your vision anchored in? If it's anchored in anything other than the character and promises of God you are likely to be swayed by the storms that come your way. We must expect God to show up and plan accordingly. Even when we don't know the "why" behind the "what." Which takes us to this week's bottom line: To understand why, submit and apply. Most often, our answer comes after our obedience. So stay true and faithful to our God's guidance and direction for your life so that you can experience the upgrade God has for you. You wont regret it!

Pastor Karl

A Biblical Streaker!? - Kelly Moyer

A Biblical Streaker?!  By Kelly Moyer You may know that my husband Drew and I are huge fans of the Minnesota Twins. We love Target Field, trade rumors, sunflower seeds, and the sound of a fastball hitting the sweet-spot of the bat. We’re also very “traditional” baseball fans: we do not participate in “The Wave” and we’ve only left a game early once (and that’s because it was 38 degrees)—very “no nonsense” baseball. But I’m going to be honest with you, I love those crazy fans that take the leap over the fence and do their best to elude the on-field security team! I know, not a very “no nonsense” thing to say, but I’ve even contemplated it: scoped out my point of entrance, planned my victory run, choreographed my antics… with a bit of time at the gym, I think I could easily outrun some of those security guards! I mean, I need to feel what the outfield grass is like! I need to. But the cost of streaking at the Twins game is high: a lifetime ban from the stadium. That is not a price I’m willing to pay!

In the Gospel of Mark, as we near the climax of Jesus’ life and task while on earth, we also find one of the strangest, most awkward details in the New Testament, one that has bamboozled the most erudite biblical scholars: the streaker. Yes, you read that correctly, a biblical streaker. After some of the most important moments in the Passion narrative—Jesus celebrating Passover with his disciples, the time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal and arrest of Jesus, and the disciples’ abandonment of their Lord—we get this little nugget of mystery in Mark 14:51-52: “A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”

Talk about getting your antics caught on tape! #Awkward!

But while we can laugh at this very awkward inclusion by the author of Mark, it’s a pretty serious detail. Again, in scholarship, there’s no definitive explanation for the streaker, but there is one I am more inclined towards which contends that the act of a man voluntarily revealing his naked body in public would demonstrate his utter disregard for societal norms in order to disassociate himself with Jesus. Like the father figure in Luke 15 who embarrasses himself by running to his degenerate son, by his actions our streaker would be willing to accept complete shame upon himself just to get away from Jesus and his disciples. Scholars say that this would convey to the gospel’s reader the extent of Jesus’ rejection, even among his followers. Our daily lives and bad decisions may not be recorded in the biblical text like our streaker, but they are always done in the company of others, believers and non-believers alike. Of course, we live in the freedom and love of God’s grace, but we should always be aware of what our actions are saying about our love and relationship with Christ. If we claim to wear the label of Christfollower, we are representing Christ to others. Our actions reflect upon another’s understanding of Jesus!

Sure, there might be a few seconds of glory in jumping the outfield fence and jogging around the infield, but the cost is high. Likewise, there might be a moment of glory in receiving a laugh for a disparaging comment, but the cost is infinitely high for the others around you. There is no glory in abandoning Jesus in our words and actions. Don’t be like the streaker in Mark; keep your clothes on! You know, Romans 13:14: “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Sermon Recap

Sermon Recap Series: #Awkward

Message: First Things First, by Pastor CJ

Pretty much everyone knows the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Millions of people crossing the Red Sea on dry ground is one of the biggest miracles we find in scripture! And yet, even though they exited out of the door God had for them, we find that they never entered the door into the promise land. They were so close, yet so far away. But when Joshua took over the leadership role after Moses, he was aware of some very important principles that the Israelites would have to follow in order to experience all that God had for them. i.e. Direction, not intention, determines destination. He knew they could no longer afford to merely sit on the sidelines. They had to do something different if they wanted to achieve different results.

The whole nation needed:

1. People to shoulder the legacy It wasn't enough to leave it all up to the "leaders" of Israel. Other's had to step up and step out in obedience.

2. Melted hearts

They melted the hearts of surrounding communities and spread the glory of God by telling their story, not by shoving information about God down their throats.

3. New skin in the game

There comes a moment for everyone when you need to step up as a contributor and leave behind the days of consumerism.

Bottom Line: As a church we are moving from patients to partners. We must make Him famous. We must be a church that reaches the community. We had a phenomenal preview service Sunday! God is doing BIG things through His church, its time we all get on board! This of course is just a snippet of the message by Pastor CJ, for the entire thing check out the podcast!

See ya next week!

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap

Series: #Awkward Message: Count The Cost by Pastor CJ

Biblical Passage: Luke 14:25-33

 

Remember the NBA Finals this year? Remember when game 6 of the series was all but over? Security was roping off the court in preparation of the trophy presentation that was about to awarded to the San Antonio Spurs. Even the "diehard" heat fans were leaving the stadium in hordes. It was over; or so it seemed. Ray Allen hit a three from the corner to tie the game and sent it into overtime. This is when it got awkward for many of the fans that had already left the stadium. Flocking back to the entrance only to find themselves locked out, unable to witness history in the making. Oh and not to mention all these people were on national television giving millions of viewers the right to ostracize their lack of "fanship" and loyalty.

No one ever wants to admit to being a bandwagon fan, right? This is especially so when our commitment to Jesus is questioned. We don't want our commitment and loyalty questioned when it comes to our faith. But the truth is, perhaps you and I have more "bandwagon" in us than we would like to admit.

You see, salvation is free but discipleship costs something. Salvation happens in a moment, but discipleship takes time. Salvation is what God does for us, but discipleship is something we do with God. Following Jesus doesn't take the path of least resistance. It's about the journey and the process as much as it is about salvation.

You ever hear the statement: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It's so true. Here are a few things we need to prepare for as loyal, committed followers of Jesus:

1. Prepare for relational pressure

Every single person who chooses to live out his or her faith in Jesus will face relational pressure from friends and family at some point. You have a choice to make: will you crumble under pressure from your peers or will you stand for what you believe?

 

2. Prepare for the long hall

Being a devoted follower of Jesus is not a one-time event. It's a daily decision as well as a lifelong one. Don't become disillusioned by misconceptions of faith, rather become devoted. You see, to get to where God has called you, you will need to be willing fight. We are made in the image of God are children of God, but worthwhile living is up to you and I. At the end of the day, we still have to put our feet to the ground and walk out our faith over time.

 

3. Prepare for the battle

It's adversity that introduces a man to himself. We all have a battle to fight and we have two options to choose from: 1. Quit. 2. Don't quit. Seems obvious, right? The truth is though, that far too many people are choosing the wrong option. Too many Christians are giving up and quitting. Christianity may not be a cakewalk but where else are you going to go? Who else holds the keys to the universe? Who else are you going to turn to?

The truth is, there's no one else like our Savior. Our God is matchless in every way. Nothing and no one even comes close.

Bottom line: What you pay is far less than what you gain.

That being said; let's be people who are willing to stand when it's convenient to sit. Let's speak when it easy to be silent. Let's fight when it's tempting to lay down.

*This was such a great message from Pastor CJ, make sure you check out this weeks podcast for the full version! See ya Sunday!

 

God Bless!

Pastor Karl

 

#Awkward: Jay Vetter

#Awkward:  Hosea’s Marriage by Jay Vetter  

There comes a time in everyone’s life when, if they are truly following God, they will feel the call to do something that sounds like a really bad idea, and in most cases, if God wasn’t telling them to do it, it would end poorly.  Knowing the difference between a bad idea and God’s calling can be challenging, but when people recognize God’s calling and respond with faith, He does some incredible things.

For Hosea, a prophet in the Old Testament, his moment came when God told him to marry an adulterous woman. She was a prostitute before Hosea married her, and if that’s not bad enough, she wasn’t close to remaining faithful afterwards. At one point, Hosea literally had to go search for her and buy her back from some other guy! If that’s not awkward, I don’t know what is.

I can’t help but ask, why? Why would God have this man marry a woman that was so prone to unfaithfulness? Hosea was a man of God. Shouldn’t God bless him with a faithful and respectable wife? Shouldn’t there be a reward for being faithful to God? At first glance this may seem to be the case but if we look closer we see Hosea was being blessed. He was blessed because he was chosen by God in that moment in history to be a demonstration of God’s overwhelming love for His people.

You see, it turns out that God’s favorite illustration of His love for us is marriage, and in Hosea’s case, God wanted to demonstrate his faithfulness despite our pattern of leaving him for other things.  The nation of Israel, like us today, had an awful habit of turning away from God, running back to Him, and then leaving again.  So often, things in our lives distract us, whether they are good, bad, or ordinary, we have a tendency to turn our attention away from God.  When things are good we say, “I don’t need God I can do this on my own.”  When things are bad, we ask, “where is God, how could He let this happen?”  And when things are ordinary, we simply don’t say anything and ignore Him all together.

However, God is madly in love with us and despite our fickle hearts that run away at the first sight of something we think might be better, He is faithful to us.  He has committed Himself to His bride, the Church, and longs for us to be faithful in return.  No matter how many times we fail, He is by our side asking us to come back to Him.  He doesn’t force Himself on us, He simply tells us He loves us and asks us to love Him in return.  Our pain isn’t caused by Him leaving us, He would never do that; rather it is caused by us leaving Him.

So if you find yourself wondering where God is, just turn around.  He is following after you trying to win back your heart.  If you feel like you don’t deserve His love, you’re right, you don’t, but He doesn’t care.  Just like Hosea ran after his adulterous wife and brought her back from the arms of another man, Jesus ran after us to bring us back from our sin so that we can experience His love and have an intimate relationship with Him.  Nothing you ever do can make God give up on you, and He is always hoping to hear you say, “I want to come home.”

 

 

-Jay Vetter

 

Sermon Recap

Series: #Awkward Message: God’s Love by Pastor CJ

 

What's up Southland! Hope you are all having a great week! Hopefully you haven't had any awkward moments in the last couple of days but if you have, then you are fitting right in with our new series, #Awkward! In this series we are looking at some passages of scripture that often get passed over because...well because they are awkward. But hey, since it's in the Bible we might as well face the awkwardness head on. So make sure to join us these next few weeks :) At the very least you'll be in for a few laughs!

 

If you missed this week, you're probably trying to figure out what in the world Pastor CJ talked about. It might surprise you that one of the most awkward topics of scripture is God's love. Yup, God's love.

 

Why? Glad you asked. Because God's love is:

 

Unending

Unselfish

Unmerited

Unfair

Unconditional

and Unparalleled

 

And when it comes to you and I, we are often quick to accept God's love and grace, yet slow to express it.

 

Want proof? Check out Genesis 38:1-30

 

This situation is so messed up. There is so much that could be said here that I wont go into now. But I do want to point out the kind of love our heavenly Father has for His children.

 

Matthew 1:1-3 shows us that God chose to bring His son into the earth through the genealogy of this dysfunctional family. Out of this mess comes the Messiah. And if God did that then, He can do it again for you and I.

 

God's love is truly unbelievable.

 

Bottom line: God's love for you is based on your position, not your performance.

You are a child of God! You have been made is His image!

 

This realization may make you uncomfortable because you know that you will never deserve this kind of love. Don't refuse it though. Live in light of this glorious reality.

 

Accept His love and in turn express it to everyone around!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap

The story of Jonathan often goes unnoticed in the grand scheme of the Bible.He doesn't quite carry the weight and popularity that some of the "big hitters" do, such as Abraham, Moses, Paul, and Peter just to name a few. But just because his story gets overlooked doesn't accurately reflect the importance of the lessons therein. In fact Jonathan sets an invaluable example of a life lived truly by faith and not by sight. The story is found in 1 Samuel chapters 14-23 and I encourage you to check it out this week on your own time! Jonathan knew something about God that led him to live with the boldness that he often displayed. What was it? He knew that God was always on the move. He knew that God has always been in the business of changing people's lives and moving on behalf of His people. This confidence that Jonathan had in God led him to live in a way that was filled with faith filled steps. There are a few things that Jonathan knew that we must also learn if we want to see God move in our lives, our families, and our communities: 1. God honors our obedience.   (1 Sam 15:10-22) Here are a couple sayings to keep in mind: God doesn't desire sacrifice, but obedience. No one ever graduates from obedience.

2. God rewards our faithfulness. We have all been given unique skill sets, talents, and gifts and God wants to see us use them. With each talent that God has given you and I, there is a corresponding opportunity to use them. As we use our God given talents for His causes, His rewards are great.

3. God develops and responds to our growth.   (1 Sam 23: 17-18) This last point is very important to not only understand but to put into practice. Any follower of Christ should never be stagnant. Stagnation is a sign that we've stopped following Jesus, because anyone who is following must be growing. Growth doesn't happen overnight so don't get discouraged if you aren't where you want to be yet. Remember, it's a continual process; just keep moving!

Perhaps the most important thing we learn from Jonathan is that he understood his role and that he would be judged on his faithfulness not his position. Which takes us to the bottom line... Our ability to accomplish anything of value in the kingdom of God is a result of our ability to view ourselves accurately.

Here's a few questions to ask ourselves as you and I try to apply these simple, yet

useful truths:

1. In what way am I being obedient? a. In what way am I not being obedient? b. What am I willing to do to become more obedient? 2. What am I using my talents to do? a. How can I improve my talents and use them more effectively? 3. Where am I growing or not allowing growth to happen?

If you want to hear Benn’s entire message, check out the podcast!!

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap - Sexual Immorality

Sermon Recap from the series: Mistakes Churches Make Message by Pastor CJ

 

Hey Southlanders! It has been such an incredible week for our church! We are definitely looking forward to the exciting times ahead! This past Sunday, Pastor CJ closed out the series Mistakes Churches Make with a message that you don't want to miss! If you missed it Sunday don't forget to check out the podcast this week! But for now here's a quick overview...

Staying in the book of Revelation, were looking at the letter written to the church in Thyatira. It may be surprising that Jesus commends them for their works, love, service, faith, etc. From the sound of things they are doing well. But with everything they did successfully, they did some things that broke the heart of God and killed the influence they had on the culture around them. Namely allowed sexual immorality to be acceptable in their lives and the church.

God know's that this decision to allow certain behaviors will not only impact them but set a poor example for their children as well. He also knows that the outcome of a church that practices such behavior will in turn lose its credibility and influence to the outside world. Something we need to take into account is that today's decisions determine tomorrow's experiences. So in order to have the experiences we want to see later on, we must live in a way that guides us to our desired destination.

With that said there are three things we must do.

1. Hold out

2. Hold on

3. Hold up

(For more explanation on these check out the podcast!)

The bottom line is, sometimes you have to overcome something to become something. If we live correctly, then at the right time we will be in a position to propose our faith instead of attempting to impose it.

So this week lets hold on to the teaching of scripture and live with the kind of character that will increase our influence in our homes, workplaces, and communities.

Have a great week and happy Fourth of July!

 

Pastor Karl

 

Sermon Recap

Sermon Recap: Mistakes Churches Make – Week 4 Message by: Paul Stewart

 

What's going on Southland? Hope you all are having a great week! This past Sunday we had the privilege of hearing a message by Paul Stewart, Pastor of Gateway Church in Des Moines, Iowa. And before I even attempt to give you a recap, be forewarned that you will need to hit up the podcast ASAP. Paul provides such great insight throughout the message; it's a "must listen."

In fact I don't want to give too much away for this very reason; but I will give you a little teaser!

Many people think that Christianity is very exclusive, and many others think that it’s all-inclusive. However, we are provided with an great look into scripture that leads us to a more complete understanding of what it means to be Christian and how that plays out in our lives and culture. So what great insight will help us see a little clearer on this topic? Here it is: Christianity is both exclusive and inclusive simultaneously. Not one or the other, but both. For more on this and its implications for your life check out the podcast, you'll be glad you did!

 

Pastor Karl

Sermon Recap - The Lukewarm Christian

Series: Mistakes Churches Make The Lukewarm Church by Pastor CJ

 

No question the church is such a great place and has the greatest purpose known to man. But with that said, no church is perfect. Each and every church can and should be progressing to get better and better. And here at Southland we are striving to do just that. By addressing some mistakes that churches tend to fall into, we can begin to excel and increase our impact in new ways.

 

This week in our series, Mistakes Churches Make, Pastor CJ addresses the issue of being lukewarm. Jesus tackles this issue when he talks to the church in Laodicia in Revelation 3:14-22. He sees through their false sense of success and looks at the heart. We see that Jesus can't stomach his people being idle. The Christian life should never be boring according to Jesus.

 

It seems like they thought that they "made it" as a church which is one signal that leads to complacency. But we know that if we aren't dead, we surely aren't done. If we can spot a few things that lead to a "room temperature" kind of life, perhaps we can avoid this pitfall and live a life full of passion, fulfillment, and impact!

 

Here are four things that contribute to lukewarmness:

 

1. Their dependency

Their dependency shifted from a reliance on God to a reliance on self. This transition often happens slowly and unnoticeably. We can be susceptible to living as if we are God, placing ourselves in His position. Are you dependent on God or on yourself? What can you do to regain your dependence on God?

 

2. Their vision

Their vision began to veer off course, away from a God centered purpose. Our vision is to make God known in our community, not ourselves. If our vision is not centered on joining God in His purposes then our vision is not of God, and will leave us always wanting more. But when we align our vision with His vision, we will find fulfillment, joy, impact, and peace. Is your vision aligned with His vision for your community? In what ways can you realign yourself with his vision and purposes?

 

3. Their effort

Sometimes it comes down to sheer effort that is given to the promotion of God's kingdom. When we are lukewarm in our effort we aren't very effective or compelling to those outside looking in. Anything worth having is worth exerting a fair amount of effort to do so. In what areas have you lacked effort? How can you give a little more in these areas?

 

4. Their hospitality

The church in Laodicia arrived at a place where they were doing church without Jesus. They relied on their own abilities and talents that they "didn't need Jesus." They weren't welcoming to Jesus and therefore most likely wasn't welcoming to their community. Because if we aren't hospitable to Jesus we won't be hospitable to others. How can we make our lives more welcoming and inviting for Jesus to have his way? How can we be more hospitable to those in our community?

 

The bottom line is this: The church needs more thermostats and fewer thermometers. The church needs more people setting the temperature and less people simply reflecting it. We need to be example makers not example followers. We need to bring energy, passion, vision, effort, and hospitality not only into church Sunday mornings, but into various situations in our day to day lives.

 

Lets not fall into the same trap that this church did. Lets learn from their mistakes and improve and become better. We still may not be perfect but we can and will better!

 

 

Pastor Karl

The Frog In Us - Pastor Karl

The Frog In Us by Karl Basinski  

If you place a frog in boiling hot water it will jump out of the pan quicker than you can say "whoa!" Ok bad joke I know, but here's the thing. If you place a frog in a pan of water at room temperature and slowly turn the heat up, the frog wont realize that the water is getting hotter and therefore, will stay in water at very hot temperatures. Which sadly leads to a very bad ending for the little guy. Everyone say, "awe, poor frog" (moment of silence maybe?) Ok lets keep moving.

 

From my vantage point I tend to think the frog probably has a screw loose somewhere, but the truth is the frog is not all that different from you and I. In fact, there’s a frog in every one of us. Let me explain.

 

Pastor CJ mentioned a stat at the end of his message this last Sunday that it takes 33 years for light to get from the polar star down here to earth. Which means that it could have died 20 years ago and we wouldn't even know it for another 13 years! Unfortunately there is a principle behind this that tends to work against us: Areas of our lives often fall into obscurity long before we ever notice.

 

Our purpose gets clouded by outside factors.

Our passion gets swallowed up with responsibilities.

Our love is weakened by hurt.

Our endurance is slowed by unnecessary weight.

Our effectiveness is hindered by seemingly small compromises.

 

What area of your life has slowly and unknowingly to you slipped through the cracks? What area of your life is losing its fruit? We all have these areas. No one is exempt.

 

Not only is no one exempt, but no one is without hope of renewal! Just because an area of your life has slowly died doesn't mean it has to stay dormant. There's is always hope in Christ for rejuvenation!

 

Here are a few practical things that can help us get back on track:

 

Reflect: Think back and remember the original vision and goals you had for the now dry places of your life.

Repent: Value repentance over reputation. Decide to change. List what you must discard and prioritize.

Restore: Begin to restore one top priority at a time, each week.

Recognize: Remember that God holds us accountable. He rewards fruit, not activity.

 

I hope this helps us revitalize certain parts of our lives that have slowly fallen asleep. With God's help we can regain the passions, purposes, love, and effectiveness we once had!

 

Much love Southland. Have a great week!

 

Pastor Karl

 

 

Mistakes Churches Make - week 2

Series: Mistakes Churches Make Message by Pastor CJ

 

Hey Southland!

Let me ask you a question. Has there ever been a time in your life when you stopped and wondered how you got to the point you were currently in? Have you ever allowed yourself to slowly drift off the course you had once planned for your life? My guess is you have at one time or another. And my other assumption is that you probably didn't realize it was even happening at the time. This can happen so easily and yet goes unnoticed for weeks, months, and even years at a time.

 

Unfortunately this same drift can often occur in the church, where alive churches are often lulled to sleep over time. They lose their energy, passion, focus, drive, etc. and soon come to a place that is neither exciting nor effective. There are distinct differences between dead churches and alive churches and yet they happen so gradually they go unnoticed and worse unchanged. And so the result is that alive churches replace a movement with a museum. They stop walking by faith and start walking by sight. There focus becomes keeping people instead of reaching people, and the list goes on.

 

As Southland City Church we must never lose sight of our purpose. Let's not allow ourselves to slip into a routine that accepts this sort of gradual shift into mediocrity, or worse complacency, which leads to obscurity.

 

One way that the church in general allows this short of shift to happen is that we fall into the trap of valuing our reputation over repentance. This can be detrimental to not only the church as a whole, but also especially the individual.

 

There are three things that happens when we embrace our reputation over repentance:

 

Reputation over repentance...

 

1. Distorts reality

We often think we're doing great when we're actually moving nowhere. We sort of see a version of ourselves that just isn't true anymore. This is a dangerous place to be and we need to be careful to not end up here.

 

2. Prohibits recognition

Not recognition of ourselves but of Christ. When our focus is turned to being more reputable, Christ becomes less recognizable. We need to make sure that our lives are not hindering, rather progressing the recognition of Christ.

 

3. Leads to regret

Dead churches are filled with unfulfilled people. It's sad but true. If you are unfulfilled, perhaps it's because you have allowed yourself to slip into living merely by sight and not by faith. You'll never be fulfilled until you embrace His Word seriously. Remember, the cost of following Christ is far less than the cost of not following him. Let's take His Word as truth and live it out in a way that not only is fulfilling and exciting to you and I, but attracts others as well.

 

Let's be a church that:

 

Takes risks instead of playing is safe.

Evangelizes instead of fossilizes.

Gives as much as we can, not as little as we can.

Contributes wherever there's an opportunity instead of consuming.

Wants to please God more than people.

Focuses on reaching people more than keeping people.

 

 

Pastor Karl

Hospital or Museum?

Hospital or Museum?  

In Pastor CJ’s message on Sunday he mentioned metaphors and used his story about the Eiffel Tower. It got me wondering, is the description I am giving with the way I live my life and the words I say portraying an accurate picture of Jesus? Another metaphor that keeps nagging at my mind is the saying, “the church is a hospital for the hurting, not a museum for the saints.” I’ve heard this comparison for years and but often just wrote it off as a typical Christian saying. When I really thought about it, I began to realize it is a mistake that we make as a church all the time.

 

In the challenge to evangelize to the lost, we often want those we are trying to reach to “clean up” and come to church with us on Sunday. If we look at Scripture and what Jesus did, the idea that people need to clean up or change to come to church is completely backwards. Imagine with me for a second, I go to the hospital with a severe cold, coughing, fever, runny nose, and I need to get a prescription. Before I am able to have the medicine I need to see the doctor. I wonder what it would be like trying to sit in the waiting room of the ER masking my symptoms for fear the guards would kick me out if I let a cough or evidence of my illness slip out. Wouldn’t that seem so backwards?

 

We often make this mistake as Christians and expect everyone that comes into our church to act and say the right things. If our church is really reaching the lost and doing what Jesus did our church will look much more like a hospital full of hurt people needing to see the great physician, than a boring museum. Romans 5:8 says, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

I think we tend to make this mistake when get a case of “role reversal.” We try to play the part of the doctor when we should be playing the role of the supportive friend. Instead of attempting to fix people, sometimes it’s better to simply bring people to the hospital and sit in the waiting room with your arm around the shoulder of the hurt and wounded. Jesus is the ultimate healer and restorer and if we can simply make the introduction the possibilities are endless!

 

The church isn’t a place where people need to have it all together; it is a place where people can come as they are before the Lord and each other, finding healing in the process. As a church let’s decide to operate more like a hospital. Simply put, we are to bring people to Jesus as they are and allow him to be the physician.

 

-Stephanie Palser

 

Mistakes Churches Make - The Lampstand

Sermon Recap by Pastor Karl Original Message by Pastor CJ Johnson, Sunday June 2nd, 2013

Series: Mistakes Churches Make

 

In our culture today, we are continually using metaphors to describe people, places and things. For instance the term, "rug rat" is used to describe an infant; a "couch potato" is used to describe a lazy person; and a "road hog" is used to describe a territorially aggressive driver. I think it's interesting that this idea of using metaphors goes all the way back to biblical days. In fact, even Jesus seemed to love to idea. He used many metaphors in his teachings to help those listening to understand.

 

For instance, in Revelation 1:20, he uses a metaphor we should all pay attention to. He compares the church with a lamp stand. Of all things to compare the church to, why a lamp stand?

 

The short explanation is that the purpose of the lamp stand throughout scripture was to illuminate the presence of God in the temple. Likewise the purpose of the church is to illuminate or shine light on God. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to move the lamp stand and shine it on other things like politics or some celebrity.

 

However, if we got this right, when we accurately reflect our God, the world would be far more likely to accept Him. When we keep the lamp stand in its proper place, three things happen:

 

1. We'll see God in a new way

2. We'll see ourselves differently

3. We'll see others differently

 

Jesus tells the church to go back to do what it did in the beginning, which we can see in Acts 19. These are the three things Jesus wants the church to do:

 

1. Evangelism

The church has a tendency to contain Jesus rather than proclaim Jesus. Let's be people that begin proclaiming Jesus like never before. The bottom line is that found people find people.

 

2. Esteem

What we lift up, we will live out. If you paid attention to what you were "living out" in your daily life, would it reflect that you esteemed God or something else?

 

2. Eagerness

They lived and preached with a certain eagerness and boldness that leaked out in whatever they did. They had an eagerness to repent and to be sent. They set the example for non-believers in what they should do if they wanted to experience forgiveness and new life.

 

What you value will ultimately determine what you do. So this week, let us value our relationship with God, our reflection of God, and our impact for God!!