60th Anniversary!!

I hope you can make it on Sunday, as it is our 60th anniversary celebration. We will be having a free BBQ, cake, bouncy castles, rides, and lots lots more. So you don’t want to miss it. Oh and I’ll be speaking too – but don’t forget about the BBQ. So bring a lawn chair, come out to church, hear about our future, and celebrate in the park afterwards. All the details are below. Hope you can make it!

60th Annivseary

Throwing Parties, Spreading Grace and Thanks

On Sunday we discussed a missional spiritual practice that is quite unique. The giving of thanks.

In Leviticus 7:15 we read an odd verse. A verse that talks about eating all the meat of a sacrificed cow in one day. The meat that is sacrificed in a thanksgiving offering must be consumed on the same day. Embedded in this odd verse is a community shaping practice. Because the only way you can eat a whole cow in one day…is with a whole community…

So what would happen is simple. God would provide for you in some way, and out of thanks you’d sacrifice a cow. You’d give back to God, but then you’d be required to give back to the community because you wouldn’t be able to consume the whole cow in a day. So you’d invite family, friends, and neighbors over for a party. You’d provide all the food, and a giant feast. But it wouldn’t be about just spreading good food around, but also deep gratitude for God. Because the natural question for everyone there would be “Why the party?” And when they would ask you would share what God had done in your life. You’d share how God provided, and all of a sudden thankfulness is spreading through the community, God’s activity moves from private to public, and people have an opportunity to be changed through a party.

Isn’t that a beautiful thing?

That God would think of such a process? That he would ensure that his people would throw parties full of thanksgiving and praise to him?

What if we actually took this verse seriously and when God did things in our lives we reached out to our friends, family, and neighbors with an invitation to a party – where we shared the good things God has done?

Wouldn’t that start to change people?

What if your neighbors consistently were invited to great parties, where people were celebrating how Jesus has changed and impacted their lives? Wouldn’t you want to join in the party, the celebration, and maybe even following this God? What if generosity, gratitude, and grace became the hallmarks of being a Christian? Wouldn’t this type of living change our communities?

I think it would.

So my challenge to you this week is simple. Plan a party. Throw a party. Invite everyone, and give thanks to God. Because as Leviticus says, all the meat must be eaten the same day. Or in other words, celebrate God’s goodness by throwing a party and sharing grace with others. It’s a simple action, but sometimes the simplest ones are the most powerful.

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Giving thanks means thanking God and sharing it with others

Take Aways…

  • “If weren’t not thankful for the small things, we won’t be thankful for the large things” Estonian Proverb
  • Gratitude to God isn’t to be kept private but shared in public.
  • For Jewish people all of life is gift…so do you appreciate the gifts around you?
  • Biblically we demonstrate our thanks by throwing a party (Lev. 7:13)

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stood out to you from this morning’s talk? What made you laugh? What made you think? What was new?How grateful do you think you are as a person? How good are you at seeing and appreciating the gifts of God? What might you be able to give thanks to God for today? Think about throwing a party. Who might you invite? How might it spread grace and gratitude?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Share with your kids why it is important to give thanks. Spend time talking to them of all the things that you are thankful to God for. Ask them what they are thankful for God for. At a meal this week rather than just “saying grace”. Share what each of you is thankful for.

Challenge for this Week:

Throw a party for your neighbors and share a reason for giving thanks.

Where I Saw Jesus This Week…

A little while ago I was at a party and I discovered Jesus was already there.

One of the biggest guiding beliefs in my life is that Jesus is active in the world already. He is a person, he is risen, and he is already active in places before I get there. So my goal is to find out where Jesus is active and to partner with him there. I just want to join in with what he is doing and where he is.

This happened at a party I was at. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Jesus was already working there because some of his best work happens in parties in the New Testament. But as I mingled and listened, I realized how Jesus was working in people’s lives and I just sought to affirm what he was doing in their lives.

One conversation started with this, “I’m not really religious, and I don’t know if you believe in God or anything. But here is what God did in my life…” We went on to talk about how this person found a prayer answered. After a while of talking they stopped and said “enough about me, what do you do?”  I said “I’m a pastor.”  They responded with “So you probably do believe in God then eh?” Great stuff right. God was already active in their life, I just got to affirm Jesus’ part of their lives and encourage them to keep on seeking God.

A second conversation began with simple confession, that a few followers of Jesus restored this person’s hope in humanity. A few different Christians had given them grace through practical expressions of love. They shared with me that these small gifts restored their hope in humanity, and an opening to God. That’s Jesus actively working in their hearts.

So my challenge for you this week is simple. Watch for Jesus and expect that he is working in people’s lives already. And when you see him active, encourage, affirm, and bless. Partner with Jesus in the lives around you and my guess is that you’ll start seeing some beautiful change and transformation…

Throw a Party ~ Be Like Jesus…

This Sunday we talked about how God’s Kingdom is like a party.

But not just any party a great party where different people mix, connect, and are invited. God’s Kingdom is like a great banquet where invitations go out to the unlikely, unnonticed, and unwanted. It’s this party where everyone gets great food, where lonely people connect, where people who are down have fun, where boundaries are crossed and life begins. And you’re invited not because of who you know, but Jesus who knows you. This is a picture of what God’s Kigndom is like.

So my challenge to you this week is simple: throw a party.

Throw a good party. Throw an awesome party. Invite friends, neighbors, and people would never get invited. Get great food, great music, and have a great time. Samir Selmanovic  “Christians know how to talk about life, but they don’t know how to love life”. Let’s prove this statement wrong this week. Let’s love life and help others to love it too by our grace, generosity, and inclusion. Throw a great party, and watch as God’s Kingdom surprises you all around.

Following Jesus means throwing parties…so get busy loving life by throwing a party…

The Kingdom of God is Like a Party?

If you were to describe God’s Kingdom in one word what would it be?

Take a moment and actually think about it. If a friend were to come up to you and say, “I’ve heard about this Kingdom of God – what’s it really like?” How would you choose to describe it? What picture would you paint?

In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – Jesus consistently shares a picture of God’s Kingdom that is compelling, inviting, and challenging all in one. He says God’s Kingdom is like a party.

That’s right, a party. Think about it – Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding. He says often that the Kingdom of God is like a party, a feast, a wedding, or a celebration. For Jesus, a good picture of the Kingdom is a party, great get-together, or a celebration.

What a great picture.

The question is – “What is it about a party that reveals God’s Kingdom?”

That’s what we’re going to explore on Sunday. But I’d love your ideas and thoughts ahead of time! Comment or email me.

Where I Saw Jesus This Week…

In general I think New Year’s Eve is very anti-climatic. You get together with people early in the night and then wait and try to have fun until the ball drops. Then you cheer for a few seconds, and kind of look at each other. Most of my New Year’s have been like this. Except for the past two.

The past two years I’ve gotten together with friends and we go from house to house eating. Each person tries to create some food that is better than what they cooked before. We get dressed up have great food, and great conversation. And some people outdo themselves with awesome decorations. Look at this table set for dessert, which was home-made ice cream and a traditional mexican cookie with dulce de leche in the centre. And yes it tasted as good as it sounds…

So how did I see Jesus in all of this? Well its pretty simple eating, laughing, talking, and spending time together is a taste of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is clear in Luke 14, that the Kingdom of God is like a party. In fact when he talks about the Kingdom he often says its like a feast, a wedding, or in essence a great get together. Jesus is often found eating, relaxing, and being with others around a table (Matt. 9:10; Mark 2:15). So if back then Jesus was often found around a mixed table with friends, food, and fun why would he not be found there now?

So on New Year’s I sensed God around a table filled with food and friends. I saw Jesus in our conversation, our fun, and our willingness for one night to simply enjoy each other’s company.

So the next time you’re having a good meal with good friends watch for Jesus being there…because my guess is that Jesus loves good food and conversation as much as you do…