Normally when we think about the calling God has for us, we think of all the great things He wants to do through our lives. But ‘great’ doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to God as it does to us. Just look at The Apostle Paul. He fulfilled much of his calling while confined to a jail cell. From the world’s perspective, that’s a pretty terrible place to be. So how do we know if we’re doing the right thing God would have us do with our lives? In this clip from our series ‘The New Rules of Resolution‘, Pastor Steven explains what accomplishing God’s calling is really about.
Archive for the ‘Sermon Clips’ Category
They talk to much. She cares too little. He doesn’t have the right attitude. When it comes to others, we are so quick to pick up on their shortcomings and see the solution for their dysfunction. Even in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained that it’s far easier to point out the faults in others rather than deal with own issues. But what if we starting looking at everyone else in the same way that Jesus looks at us? In this clip from our series How to Hug a Vampire, Pastor Steven explains that the right way to see others begins with understanding God’s perspective on us.
We all have our own expectations. The way we think things ought to be. Expectations for our spouses, our kids, our employees, ourselves. And we are all afraid of falling short and being disappointed or even recognizing our own inadequacies. What if they don’t love me back? What if I mess everything up? What if they never come around? In this clip from our series The Expectation Gap, Pastor Steven explains the freedom found in understanding God’s perspective when it comes to our expectations for others.
Most of us think that greatness is reserved for someone else. The CEO, the super mom, the perfect couple. They have the chance to be great. But not us. We are just ordinary. We aren’t influential enough. No one really cares what we do. How could God have a plan for our lives? What could He possibly have for us to do? In this clip from our series Greater, Pastor Steven teaches us that through the Holy Spirit that lives inside of every believer, God can take our lives that we consider unexceptional, and use them for extraordinarily great purpose.
In Romans 8, Paul writes, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” That seems like a real encouraging verse. But then we look at our life and see that our prayers haven’t been answered. Our healing hasn’t come. We’re still waiting on God to provide. From this vantage point, it doesn’t make sense to say we have conquered anything. But what if we could celebrate triumph in the midst of our trial? In this clip from our series Christ Alone, Pastor Steven teaches us that as believers in Jesus, we can have victory in our battles before we ever get out of them.
If we buy these clothes, they’ll notice us. Once we get this new car, the neighborhood will see how successful we are. In a culture that tells us to create the ideal identity, what do we do with the daily insecurities we feel on the inside that question our self worth and value? In this clip from Fearfully & Wonderfully Made, Pastor Steven explains how we can combat our self-doubt by building our lives on a Christ-centered confidence from the inside out.
“Do you really think you can handle this?”
“Are you strong enough to make it through this time?”
“Don’t you know who you really are?”
Questions of doubt in the midst of our most challenging circumstances inevitably stir up insecurity in our lives. We can’t avoid it. But it is possible to avert it. In this clip from our series Treatment, Pastor Steven reveals the one statement that will overcome every insecurity that the enemy tries to interject into our lives.
It can be easy, when we get caught in the midst of the daily grind, to wonder if our obedience to God makes any impact. Does it matter if we’re there for our kids, even when they don’t listen to us? Would anyone even notice if we took a stand for Christ in our schools and workplaces? In this clip from the sermon “The Most Encouraging Message You’ve Never Heard” Pastor Steven explains to us that, like John the Baptist, our lives matter more than we think because there’s more happening through our obedience than we will ever know.
As believers, our relationship with God takes on a whole new shape in our moments of greatest vulnerability and uncertainty. As our fear floods into our mind, our prayers focus on God’s protection and our desire for safety. We want God to just get rid of whatever has made us afraid. But what if God doesn’t necessarily want to give us more protection, but instead wants us to have a greater perspective? In this clip from our series Room 101, Pastor Steven teaches us what it looks like to move beyond our fears into faith.
Some of us are living life discouraged by variables we can’t control – the place we were born, the skills we don’t have, other people’s choices that effect us. Over time, if we keep letting these circumstances have power over us, we end up living life defeated. But in this clip from our series Grapes and Giants, Pastor Steven explains that as Christians, when we define ourselves by the things we can’t control, we lose sight of the One who is ultimately in control – and who lives inside us.
Praying boldly and running after God’s will for our lives is not easy. Not only does it stretch our faith, but when we ask God to show up in a big way, we also have to deal with the doubt and insecurity that come along for the ride. So how do we not let these negative voices keep us from God’s plan for us? In this clip from our series Sun Stand Still, Pastor Steven shows us how Jesus dealt with the objections that tried to interfere with Him accomplishing God’s greater purpose.
We have all felt betrayed. A best friend turned their back. Someone we loved was not loyal. The person we thought would always be there didn’t show up when we needed them most. How can something that hurts so bad be used by God to do good? In this clip from our series Storytellers, Pastor Steven teaches us that our sovereign God is more powerful than any person’s potential to harm you. When we can’t see past the problem, God is looking forward to working everything into His great purpose.
As Christians, the will of God is something that has always perplexed us. How do we know when we’re following God’s will for our lives? What does He want us to do next? And do our bad decisions make it impossible to get back to the path God intended for us? In this clip from our series God’s Will Is Whatever, Pastor Steven shares the comforting truth that, no matter where life has taken us or where we have taken ourselves, we still have reason to hope – because one decision can redirect our hearts toward God and drop us right in the center of His will.
More today than ever before, our focus is pulled in so many directions. There are so many voices and opinions pushing for our attention. How do we know which ones to listen to? How do we know where to place our trust? Fortunately, as Christians we know a voice that pushes through the noise. A strong, unchanging, unwavering Father who’s commands and plans for us are so much greater than what the world can offer. But knowing this truth, why do so many of us struggle to trust and follow Him daily? In this clip from our series In•Fin•8, Pastor Steven explains that the real question is not whether we trust in God, but what is keeping us from fully letting go of the world.
We will all face challenges in life that, even though we’re giving it all we’ve got, we just don’t feel like we’re going to win. And sometimes we’ve been fighting so long and so hard that we don’t if we have the energy to keep pushing. What’s our next move when we don’t feel like we can even take the next step? In this clip from our series Hebrews XII, Pastor Steven reminds us that if we can fix our eyes on Jesus, that is all the hope we need to move forward.
When we pray for God to speak to us, we want to see it in a big way to know that it was from Him. We want to know that it wasn’t just an accident or coincidence. But often, when God wants to announce something to us, He doesn’t always deliver His message this way. In this clip from Room 101, Pastor Steven looks at a time when God spoke to Elijah on the mountain, and explains the surprising way God shows us His power and peace through how He communicates.
Even those of us with the deepest faith in Christ can struggle when we look around and see things we want but don’t have. Most of us would happily accept blessings of additional talent, success, or resource. But maybe we already possess more than we realize. In this clip from our series Grapes & Giants Pastor Steven teaches us that, as Christians, God has given us his Kingdom and every blessing we desire has been fulfilled through Christ – the key is learning how to take hold what is already ours.
Through our prayers, we often call on God to do the impossible in our lives. To solve our unanswerable problems, heal our hopeless causes, make it rain in our barren desert. But what are we supposed to do next? Do we just sit back and wait for God to work? In this clip from the series Get Back Pastor Steven teaches us that only God can provide the supernatural in our lives, but we still have a part to play in our prayers.
When we make certain goals and resolutions, it can be hard to keep pushing forward when we don’t see immediate results. And when we are only looking for something big to happen, it’s hard to notice the smaller milestones and checkpoints along the way. In this clip from The New Rules of Resolution, Pastor Steven teaches us that no matter how little progress we seem to be making, we need to just keep showing up – God may be using this time to take us even further than we thought.
When we think of Christmas, most of us picture the shepherds, wisemen, and a star standing still over baby Jesus. As Christians, these images represent God’s greatest gift – the birth of our Savior. Yet, it’s important to remember that the birth of Jesus was only beginning of our salvation. In this clip from Timeless Christmas, Pastor Steven reminds us that what began at Christmas was completed at the cross, when Jesus bridged the gap to restore our relationship with God.
It’s a fairly common when we gather with family and friends over the holidays to have some tense situations. Sitting around the dinner table with the people who know us best, or have known us the longest, situations come up. Buttons get pushed. Feelings get hurt. Maybe there’s that one jab that always gets you, or that one person who seems to put you on edge no matter what they say or do. In this clip from our series “The Highest,” Pastor Steven teaches us what our response should be by showing us Jesus’ own uncommon strategy for defense.
Many of us often find ourselves believing that we are too ordinary for God to use. We think working a normal job or being a stay-at-home mom takes us out of the running to receive God’s greater calling. We convince ourselves that God only uses missionaries or pastors or worship leaders to spread the Gospel and show Himself to the world. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In this clip from the sermon series Do You Hear?, Pastor Steven teaches us that God can speak to us anywhere, at anytime, and He doesn’t wait for us to be great before He desires to use our lives greatly.
Most of us would just love for God to give step-by-step directions for our lives. Who to marry. Which job to take. What to do when we don’t know where to go next. But God is so much more than just someone to turn to for advice or direction. In this clip from Christmas at Elevation Pastor Steven explains that while God may not show us exactly where to go, He loves us enough to provide us with a perfect guide to follow – Jesus.
Every Christian has at some point in their faith struggled in their belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. There are times when we just want proof Jesus exists. We want know that He really is the Son of God and that His salvation exists for us. And that’s ok.Thomas, one of Jesus’ own disciples, needed proof of Jesus’ resurrection. But real faith doesn’t walk by sight. So how do we reconcile our need for proof with a faith that we want to be real? In this clip from Uptown Christmas, Pastor Steven explains that to truly see and perceive Jesus, we have to look deeper than the surface.
As Christians we are not promised a trouble-free life. Mary found this out as she was ostracized and ridiculed when she was pregnant with Jesus. The disciples learned this in the middle of storm that they thought would be their last. And the same is true for each of us. We will all at some point in our lives, find ourselves in the middle of our own personal hurricane – and we will struggle to find God in the midst of it all. But in this clip from Timeless Christmas, Pastor Steven explains that God is not only with us in the storms of life, but He is also there to carry us through them – no matter what we are facing.
Before Christ came, things were different. The law said that when you sinned, you had to make it right with God. There were priests you had to go through. Sacrifices you had to make. Under this law, the penalty for sin was death. But when Jesus was born, everything changed. He was the redeeming sacrifice for all of our sin, for all of time, for those who accept Him. In this clip from Code Orange Christmas Pastor Steven reminds us why Jesus came, and how, since that day, the world has never been the same.
When we find ourselves in real times trouble, despair, or confusion in our lives, it can feel like the whole world is against us and God is nowhere to be found. But we aren’t alone. In the Bible, Job, Ruth and Elisha all faced overwhelmingly bad circumstances, and trusted God nevertheless. In this clip from our sermon series I Won’t Survive the Holidays Pastor Steven reminds us that we serve a God we can trust, no matter how bad our circumstances may appear.
Isn’t it strange how two people can look at the exact same thing but see something different? What some might see as a burden, others see as an opportunity. Its all a matter of perspective. And the same is true of our fears. Depending on how we look at them, we may see our greatest threat, or find our greatest hope. In this clip from the the sermon series Room 101, Pastor Steven teaches us how to flip our perspective and find Jesus in the midst of our greatest fears.
God has blessed the life of the believer in Christ far beyond anything we could ever deserve, and far greater than anything we could ever do for ourselves. His grace, His mercy, His love – they are renewed for us everyday. And because of this truth alone, we have no reason to not be grateful. So why are our hearts not filled with gratitude every morning? Why, after all God has done for us, are we not heaping our thanks and praise on Him with every breath we take? In this clip from our series “The Highest,” Pastor Steven explains what gets in the way of a grateful heart.
Joy. We don’t really know how to define it, but we know that we like it and many of us spend most of our lives trying to find it. We look for joy in our jobs, in relationships, in temporary pleasure. But at the end of the day, all these things will fall short. They will leave us empty and unfulfilled and we start looking somewhere new the find our joy. But as believers, as Pastor Steven reminds us in this clip from our series “The Joy Genome,” we have never-ending access to the most powerful source of true joy.
In the midst of our own daily stress, most of us don’t immediately think to praise God. In fact it’s probably the exact opposite. When our thoughts are consumed by problems at work or issues at home, it’s incredibly difficult to just let it go and focus on glorifying Christ. But in our sermon series The Highest, Pastor Steven explains the peace we are given when we don’t prioritize our problems, but offer God our praise.
Why is it easier to believe a preacher can accomplish great things for Christ, but not everyone else? What about construction workers? Bankers? Teachers? Parents? The Bible says that as Christians, the spirit of God lives inside each of us. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is. In this clip from our sermon series The Prodigy In Me, Pastor Steven explains why God isn’t looking for people who have what it takes to be used for His glory.
We all have felt times of loneliness or relational emptiness. We search for fulfillment in people and their love and acceptance. We are willing to lower our standards or compromise our convictions in order to receive the love we so desperately desire. And our enemy knows that we’re wired this way. He flashes instant gratification and temporary satisfaction in front of our hungry hearts. So where is God when we’re feeling alone? In this clip from our series Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf, Pastor Steven reminds us that as believers in Christ, we have an unending love that can withstand our loneliest days.
It can be hard to trust God when our lives aren’t going the way we had hoped. When we faithfully pray and believe, but only seem to be losing ground. The diagnosis come back worse than we thought. The relationship grows more strained. Our kids push us even further away. Why does God let us go through these seasons? In this clip from our series “Waiting Room,” Pastor Steven reminds us that even though God sometimes takes our lives in directions we wouldn’t necessarily choose to go, He always has a greater purpose for our journey.
The spiritual life of every Christian is built on a foundation of faith. We have faith in a mighty Creator. We have faith in a loving Savior. We faithfully believe that our lives were created with great purpose to bring glory to God. At least that’s what we’d like to believe everyday. But what do we do when our faith falls short? When we give up. When we doubt. When we think our situation has become too much for God to handle. In this clip from our series INFIN8, Pastor Steven reminds us of the hope we can cling to in the midst of our faltering faith.
There is a general formula for how most of us approach our goals. If we work hard, then hopefully we see our desired outcome. If we try the best we can, we want our deserved reward. We want our results to correlate with how much effort we put forth. But there is one glorious exception. In this clip from our series The New Rules of Resolution, Pastor Steven explains why we can never earn the love of God, and why that is good news.
The Holy Spirit is one of those things that we often have a hard time wrapping our heads around. What is it? And what does it look like? Is it in the good emotions we feel during church? Is it some sort of lucky rabbit’s foot we can pull out when times get rough? Or is it something more? In this clip from our series Ghost Stories, Pastor Steven explains that The Holy Spirit’s role is our lives as Christians is not just convenient guest appearances, but meant to be be something much greater.
When we struggle with trusting God with our future, often times that skepticism finds it root in the experiences of our past. We have failed too many times. We have wasted too many previous opportunities. Our prayers weren’t answered the way we had hoped. So we guard ourselves, and build walls between us and God. But in this clip from our series Greater, Pastor Steven explains how God, in spite of our own disobedience, wandering, and disappointment, has the ability to overrule our greatest objection.
To close out our series I Don’t Know What I Believe, Pastor Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church, shared with us his moving testimony of finding hope and purpose in the future, in the midst of painful, life-altering tragedy.
As Christians, we pray that God would do great things for His glory through our lives. We want to make an impact, change the world, and leave a legacy for Christ. But what happens when our calling collides with real life? How do we handle opposition from others and our own internal struggles? And then what keeps us from becoming jaded about who God has called us to be? In this clip from our series INFIN8, Pastor Steven explains the danger in calling our situations like we see them, rather than trusting God and His divine perspective.
Many of us have this perception of God, that He is sitting in heaven with a big bag of lightning bolts, ready to punish us anytime we do something wrong. But if that really were the case, we would have been dust before we even started. And there isn’t anything we could have done on our own to fix it. But Jesus did. He was the only one able to satisfy the wrath of God on our behalf. So if we have Christ, what do have left to be scared of? In this clip from our series Room 101, Pastor Steven explains the only thing we should ever be afraid of when it comes to our relationship with God.
As Christians, there are several truths we must come to accept. For starters, it is true we are all sinners. It is true that because of this sin, we were separated from God and there was nothing we could do to repair this relationship. And if that was it, then believing these truths would crush us, leaving us to live the remainder of our lives feeling unworthy and insignificant. But in this clip from our series Grey Matter, Pastor Steven explains how Jesus came not to just remind us of our broken human condition, but to also offer a grace that is strong enough to stand alongside these foundational truths.
The Christian faith is not about wanting something from God and believing that He’ll give it to you. God is not some magical genie we can send our wishes to, and then sit back and wait for Him to deliver. That drastically minimizes who God really is, while wrongly emphasizing the things we really want. A relationship with Christ is much deeper than our surface desires. And in this clip from our series, Greater, Pastor Steven explains how faith isn’t the fast track to the easy life, but instead is rooted in a steadfast, obedient spirit that believes God is good even in the face of uncertain circumstances.
We can make plans. We can hope and pray. We can script out the exact way we think our lives should go. And sometimes that works. We get the job. We marry the girl. Everything works out. But what happens when it doesn’t? What is God’s purpose for taking our lives in a direction we never wanted to go? In this clip from our series Storytellers, Pastor Steven explains why God sometimes leads us down roads we didn’t intend to travel and how to find purpose in those unplanned circumstances.
Honor. When we hear that word, thoughts probably come to mind about the way we should treat our parents or our boss or anyone in authority over us. We typically only see it going in one direction – up. But the Bible says something different. In this clip from our series Honorology, Pastor Steven shows us throughout scripture the true breadth of honor, who deserves it, and why it really matters.
There are often times in our lives where God will call us to stay firmly planted and faithfully rooted right where we are. Your marriage. Your family. A difficult season of growth. But there are other times where God has called us out and told us to move on. In this clip from our series IN•FIN•8, Pastor Steven shows how to recognize when it’s time to go – and what we could be missing out on if we don’t.
We all have people in our lives that we treat like life rafts. People who we think are supposed to hold us up, keep us from drowning, or rescue us from a life we dread. We long to feel value in acceptance from them and will do anything we can to receive it. But God never intended for us to find our security in another imperfect person. And it’s only a matter of time before we both sink under the weight of our combined dysfunction. In this clip from our series Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf, Pastor Steven explains the true source of security – a source that can sustain in midst of our storms and allow us to hold fast to a value only God can provide.
We all like our comforts. We like it when life goes according to plan. When we get what we want in the easiest way possible. When there’s no stress, no surprises, and no unmet expectations. That all sounds real nice – for a moment. But is that all we want out of life? Is the goal just to get to Heaven as easily and painlessly as possible? Or has God called us to something more? In this clip from our series The Prodigy in Me, Pastor Steven explains what we forfeit when our greatest goal becomes a life lived comfortably.
We pray. We step out in faith. We seek God and trust Him. We follow His instruction and obey all the rules. But nothing happens. We don’t get the job. The illness isn’t cured. The marriage isn’t restored. Our kids are still running from God. So what did we do wrong? Why did our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears? In the clip from our series New Thru 30, Pastor Steven encourages us when our faith doesn’t seem to be working.
What is your response when circumstances out of your control blindside your life? When we have to struggle and fight and pick ourselves up, all the while trying to maintain our faith in a God who is good. Our first reaction tends to be directed towards the cause of our issues – whether it’s people, the economy, or just the world we live in. But that’s not the true source of our problems. The truth is, as Pastor Steven explains in this clip from our series Grapes & Giants, that we have a very real enemy who desperately wants something we have.
Saved. Filled with the Holy Spirit. Following Jesus. Born again. There are many ways to say it, but what does becoming a Christian look like in our hearts? What physically and spiritually happens to us when we accept Christ as our Savior? In this clip from our series Christ Alone, Pastor Steven explains the transformation that happens in our heart that breaks us free from our sinful nature.
We still know them by name. The people we thought would be by our side and stand with us through thick and thin. But something happened. Maybe it was our fault. Maybe it was beyond our control. Either way, the people we thought we could go through anything with are no longer there. Best friends. Close family. Valued co-workers. But why did it have to happen this way? And where is God in the midst of these broken relationships? In this clip from our series Hebrews 12, Pastor Steven explains the greater purpose we find when someone we love leaves our life.
When we see people accept Jesus as their Savior, it’s hard not to be ecstatic. We join with heaven, celebrating as people far from God become raised to life in Christ. But what is our response after that? When we discover most new believers are not overnight success stories. When we realize there are still issues and baggage and sin. It can be easy for our cynicism to set in and we begin questioning their motives and if they fully understood the decision they made. But in the clip from our series Follow, Pastor Steven explains the difference between our responsibility and God’s responsibility when it comes to new believers in Christ.
We see God. We read about His mighty works and power throughout Scripture. We see His hand in the beauty and breadth of creation. And then we look in the mirror. We see a mess. We see mistakes, disappointments, and missed opportunities. How could God ever use us? How could He ever find a purpose for us in His story? But in spite of how we see ourselves, in this clip from our series Living A Better Story, Pastor Steven explains what God sees when He looks upon us.
Many new Christians have a hard time figuring out what their first step should be after accepting Jesus. Do I join a small group? Do I find a Bible reading plan? Do I buy a tie and some pleated khakis? It can be difficult to navigate this new terrain we find ourselves in. But Jesus was very clear what our first step should be – and in this clip from our series Follow, Pastor Steven explains why this next step is so important to the foundation of our faith as believers in Christ.
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The devil sure does have a way with words. He knows how to twist and manipulate the promises of God. He knows how to speak words of shame and condemnation over our lives and exploit our sin and mistakes. He’s been at it since the Garden of Eden and he’s still at it today. But in this clip from our series INFIN8, Pastor Steven reminds us that there is another Voice – a Voice that calls to us in our embarrassment and hiding. A Voice of love and grace that is able to dismantle the lies of the Enemy and rescue us from ourselves.
Giving has always been a sermon topic that makes people clinch their fists, shift in their seats, and begin checking their watches. But maybe that’s because we approach our giving from the wrong perspective. Far too many of us see giving as an obligation to God, or as a way to manipulate Him into blessing us. If that’s the way we were taught about giving, then yes – there’s not much there to get excited about. But in the final part of our series (This Is Your) Permission Slip, Pastor Steven teaches us a third way to approach our giving – one that breaks us free from our own selfish desires and draws us closer to a God who will not be out given.
One of Satan’s greatest weapons against Christians is our past. He drags us through the mud of our mistakes, trying to remind us of our unworthiness. And for many of us, we think this is the same way God sees us – broken and beat down, covered in our shame. But for believers in Christ, for those who have accepted the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In this clip from our series Ghost Stories, Pastor Steven shows us how God sees us – and it has nothing to do with the shame of our past mistakes.
Obedience. At first glance, it’s not a word that’s often associated with a life of freedom. But it is the essence of our relationship with Christ. God invites. We respond. God commands. We obey. But far too often we find ourselves praying for God to show us what to do, asking Him for guidance for our lives and then, when He gives us an answer, we’re not satisfied with His response. We ignore. We fight. We struggle. We battle. And we get exhausted in the process. In this clip from our series Banner Years, Pastor Steven shows the freedom and relief we experience when we quit fighting God, and surrender our lives fully to Him.
Being a student who is passionately following Christ is harder today than it has ever been. The tangles of social media. The access and anonymity of smart phones. The fleeting pleasures found in peer pressure. Couple that with the perception that Christianity is just another set of rules to follow, and it is no wonder that 75% of students leave the church after high school. But what if we shifted that perspective? What if we taught the next generation the truth that Christianity is less about “Do’s” and “Dont’s” and more about freedom found in Christ? In part four of our series ‘This Is Your Permission Slip,’ Pastor Steven sat down with our students to answer their questions about what it looks like to be a Christian in today’s culture, and show us what the freedom found in Christ can look like in our everyday lives.
One of the things we’re most possessive of as humans is our comfort. When we’re in control of the situation. When we know the outcome. But what about the times when life is anything but that? When we step out in faith into a new situation or when our circumstances take a turn we didn’t expect. Where do we find our support? What do we cling to? In this clip from Student Takeover 2012, Pastor Steven shows us that there is only one thing we can control in the midst of the chaos of change.
We have all heard it before. In fact, we’ve probably even said it before. “I’m just waiting on God to show me what to do next with my life.” But there is a problem with this mindset. Because it believes that somehow, we’re waiting on God to catch up to us. Or that we’re waiting on Him to make up His mind. But these are not the characteristics of who we know God to be. And in this clip from our series Waiting Room, Pastor Steven explains to us that when we start waiting on God to move, we begin missing out on what He’s already doing right now.
When we think about our future, what keeps us from moving forward? And what is limiting us in our lives today? The irony is that often the answer to these questions is rooted in our past. Failure. Disappointment. Shame. We feel chained to these failed past performances and broken dreams. In part three of our series “This Is Your Permission Slip,” Pastor Steven teaches us that when we accept Christ, God has given us permission to let go of our past as He takes us into the future He has planned for us.
Fear can be paralyzing. And not necessarily just the fears you’d expect – like snakes and bears and spiders. But what about the fears that can derail the calling God has placed on our lives? Like fear of failure or rejection or the unknown. How do we respond when these fears show up like a roadblock, right in the middle of what God is impressing on our hearts to do? In this clip from our series Room 101, Pastor Steven shows what is really at the bottom of our fears that is able to propel us forward into the life God planned for us.
As much as we’d all like every day to be the best day of our lives, filled with sunshine and green lights, there will be days when that simply isn’t the case. When the pains and trials of real life cloud our perspective of who God is. And the result is usually the same – we complain. Why me? Why today? Why can’t things just be easier? And sometimes, things get so bad we feel justified in our complaints. But in this clip from our series The Joy Genome, Pastor Steven shows us what we really say about God when we complain about our circumstances.
Most non-believers see Christianity as a burdensome religion, leaving its people bound with rules and regulations. And for good reason. Throughout scripture, God gives extensive commands for His people to follow. And often times, it’s these rules that many people use as their proof that God is a punishing taskmaster. So how do we reconcile the freedom that Christ promises, with a God who seems to say ‘No’ so much? In part two of our series ‘This is Your Permission Slip,’ Pastor Steven shows us the deeper response God gives when He commands ‘Thou shalt not’ and what this reveals about His heart for us.
“We suck.” “We are terrible Christians.” “We embarrass God.” These are the types of lies that condemnation will whisper in our ears when we think we’ve fallen short of who God called us to be. And often times, we believe it. But when we entertain these words, and allow them to seep into our lives, they drive a wedge between who we think we are and who God really says we are in Christ. In this clip from our series Christ Alone Pastor Steven teaches us about the danger we can find ourselves in when we allow condemnation to speak when God has already spoken.
Many us have a view of God that is actually contrary to who He really is. We see Him as a burden on our lives, looking over us with a laundry list of things we can’t or shouldn’t do. We see His presence in our lives as a burden that weighs us down from living the life we want. But a life in Christ doesn’t mean carrying around more. In this clip from our series Hebrews 12, Pastor Steven teaches about the true freedom found only in Jesus, and the burdens He actually relieves from our lives.
If we ask the average non-believer what a relationship with God looks like, what would they say? For many, a life in Christ looks like a life of restriction. Rules. Regulations. “Here’s a list of the fun things you can’t do anymore – welcome to Christianity.” But this is not the heart of Jesus. He did not leave heaven and come to earth to enforce limitations – he came to liberate. To rescue us from ourselves and our sinful state. In part one of our series This Is Your Permission Slip, Pastor Steven introduces a paradigm-shifting concept about the true purpose of scripture and how Jesus changed the way we approach God.
In Hebrews 13, the writer asks for prayer that we would live honorably in every way. But what does that look like? How do we know if we have a heart of honor? In this clip from our series Honorology, Pastor Steven teaches us what honor looks like, and how to recognize if our lives are honoring to others.
As believers, we all have these prayers and desires to see God do great things in and through our lives. To make an impact and to change the world for Him. But these things don’t just happen. Faith isn’t a wishlist, it’s a work order. And when we begin to follow Jesus through our simple obedience, He begins to work in our lives in ways we never could have imagined. Moses Mawa understands that. In this clip, from our Beyond the Banner documentary, we learn how Moses uses an ordinary act of obedience – teaching children soccer – to begin an extraordinary move of God in the streets of Kampala, Uganda. Beyond the Banner was created to kick off Love Week 2013, sharing the stories of the lives changed by Jesus through the generosity of the people of our church, and the impact their giving is making around the world.
For many of us, our pasts are littered with painful memories and experiences we’d rather just forget. But for some reason we can’t. Our past hangs over our heads like a dark cloud, stealing our joy and hope from today. But this is not the life that Jesus has called us to live. In this clip from our series Killswitch, Pastor Steven encourages us that, no matter what has happened in our past, Jesus has called us to a greater future in Him.
Even as Christians, we have bad days. We’re sad. We’re depressed. We’re angry and antagonistic. Something in our spirit is off. So we bring our requests to God. We ask Him to fill our hearts and improve our attitudes. But it’s not just a magic switch we can flip on. Often times, as Pastor Steven shows us in this clip from our series Ghost Stories, there are parts of our lives preventing us from experiencing the fullness of the life Jesus has called us to live.
We all start out so strong. Passionate with the message of Jesus and and driven by the mission God has given us. But inevitably, it begins to fade. We start to slow down. We grow weary of the struggle and begin justifying an easier life; settling for simply surviving. How did we get here? And what are we missing out on in the life God planned for us? In this clip from the sermon “Pound The Ground,” Pastor Steven teaches us through the life of Elisha, that there are still victories left to be won, if we are willing to keep pounding.
Thank God we’re not all the same. What a boring and monotonous and unaccomplished world we would live in. But just because we’re all different doesn’t mean we don’t all have the same mission as Christians. Jesus knew the motley crew He was working with when He started His church. And God knows what He’s working with now. And in this clip from our series E, we learn that when we follow one vision – to reach people far from God with the Gospel of Jesus – our differences actually can make us stronger, and allow us to use many different channels to make the same impact for Christ.
Nothing about the life Jesus has called us to lead is part of our human nature. If it were, we could do it on our own and we wouldn’t have a need for Him. But Jesus didn’t call us to simply do what comes natural. And at times, obeying God’s calling for our lives will look ridiculous to the rest of the world. But God has been working this way since the beginning, and we can see it over and over throughout scripture. In this clip from the sermon “Jesus Told Me To,” Pastor Steven reminds us that the people who are greatly blessed by God are the ones willing to obey Him in the face of doubt, criticism, and mockery.
We all have ‘our thing.’ The thing that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of a life surrendered completely to Jesus. For some of us, it started as a good thing that over time we’ve allowed to become an idol in our lives. For others, it’s a generational sin whose comfort and familiarity we just can’t seem to leave behind. Either way, it’s there. The garbage we keep. But it’s time to let it go. Because in this clip from our series Treatment, Pastor Steven shows us that if it’s not Jesus, it will never save us – no matter how tight we hang on.
God did not create us with the intention of taking up space on the planet until we die. There is so much more to life than that. We each have values, skills, gifts, and passions – and God didn’t intend for us to waste them. And the same goes for our prayer life. Our prayers were never meant to be a one-sided wish list, like we’re a bunch of spoiled kids with our hands out. In this clip from our series New Thru 30, Pastor Steven explains that God desires for us to participate with Him in His purpose – which means moving our prayers from aspiration to activity.
Why is it that we can have victory over sin in one area of our lives, but fall prey to it in another? Victory over gossip. Failure in pride. Victory over lust. Failure in anxiety. Often times, it is because we are trying, in and of ourselves, to conquer our own problems and struggles. But Christ didn’t die so that we could simply go to heaven when we die – He also died so that He could make us more than conquerors in every area of our lives. In this clip from our series Christ Alone, Pastor Steven explains how to not just conquer, but because of Jesus, become more than a conqueror.
When we see God through the lens of His favor, mercy, and grace, we see the way He see us. And we, in turn, change the way we see Him – and our own situation. We don’t dread the next day, waiting for the troubles of life to inevitably happen. We wait on God with expectation, watching how He draws us to Himself through our uncertainty. In this clip from our series Found Favor, Pastor Steven explains how seeing God from this perspective impacts the way we view and receive God’s favor.
The life that Christ calls us to live is not easy. Often it means fighting against the current, dealing with great opposition, and struggling through difficult seasons. And during those tough times, we catch ourselves entertaining thoughts of the life we left behind. We picture how easy it would be to let off the gas, set our hearts on cruise control, and revel in the pleasures that world dangles right in front of us. But in this clip from our series The Resistance, Pastor Steven explains to us why the Enemy would love for nothing more than for us to linger in this mindset of complacency.
We all know them. We’re probably even related to some of them. We de all we can to avoid them – and yet, they’re still there. The people who suck the life out of us. Why are they like this? And what are we supposed to do with them? In this clip from our series How To Hug a Vampire, Pastor Steven teaches us how to respond to the dysfunctional relationships in our lives in the same way Jesus did.
When Jesus showed up on the scene, He didn’t come to teach us some good techniques to become better people. He didn’t just come to raise the benchmark for living a good life. His purpose was far greater. He came to change the whole system of humanity. He came to restore a broken relationship between God and His creation. He came to give limitless forgiveness to all who believe. And in this clip from our series F Bomb, Pastor Steven shows us the forgiveness of Jesus gives us the freedom to not live better – but live in a brand new way.
We all have access to the truths of scripture and we can read the promises and commands of God. So why then do we sometimes feel so disconnected from God? Why do we live in a way that is contrary to who we know we are in Christ? It’s because we’ve got a bad connection. We aren’t accessing what has been made available to us. In this clip from our series I Know He Is But What Am I?, Pastor Steven reminds us about the access we now have to God through the Holy Spirit because of what Jesus has done.
Dreams don’t come easy. When God puts a vision in our hearts, understand that it isn’t just going to happen. Our faith in the Father is a key catalyst in our relationship with Him, but following Christ can be tough. We’ll experience trials and pain and critics and self-doubt. Before we even get started, we hear the enemy whisper that we can’t finish. But in this clip from our series Where Are They Now, Pastor Steven gives us courage to begin by reminding us of the faith God requires.
We all have the things we’re afraid of. The things that keep us up at night. The things that make our palms sweat and put a lump in our throat. We’re afraid of being alone. Afraid of what they think of us. Afraid of what the future holds. But when we give our fears priority in our lives, we aren’t able to see them for what they really are. In this clip from our series Room 101 Pastor Steven teaches us how the flip the lens on the way we see our fears by looking at them in relation to who God is.
It doesn’t make sense. If scripture tells us that through the Holy Spirit, God will speak to us and impart His ways onto hearts, then why do we seem to struggle hearing from Him? We want to know His will. We want to understand the purpose of our lives and what to do with what He’s given us. But there is a connection issue. And it’s on our end. In this clip from our series Ghost Stories, Pastor Steven explains that the reason we struggle hearing from God has a lot to do with the receptiveness of our hearts.
There are areas in all our lives that didn’t quite end up like we expected. And over time we began to settle. We lowered our expectations and got used to the safety of mediocrity. We allowed “good enough” to become good enough. But Jesus didn’t die for us, bury our sins, and give us the gift of salvation so that we our lives would be ‘good enough.’ In this clip from our series Greater, Pastor Steven explains why we have settled, and what is holding us back from the greater life God planned.
As believers in Christ, God always wants to take us somewhere. He wants to stretch us, move us out of comfort and into the calling He has placed on our lives. But we struggle and fight it because it’s unknown and unfamiliar and sometimes we’d rather just stay where we are and tread water and float in our complacency. But God has more in store for us, and in the clip from the sermon Blessed and Broken, Pastor Steven teaches us that no matter how uncertain we are about the destination, if God is taking us, we’re in the right hands.
We have all been there. Stuck in the midst of chaos. The bad days. When it feels like we’re losing the fight. When all hope seems lost and victory seems furthest away. We cry out for God to rescue us from our struggle and fast forward our lives to a better day in the future. But in this clip from our series Living a Better Story, Pastor Steven explains one of the reasons we struggle, and the greater purpose found within our conflicts.
We roll up our sleeves, put our best foot forward, and try to achieve our goals and dreams through our own effort. We make promises and commitments. We set up rules and regulations. But no matter how hard we try, we still fall short. We end up disappointed. We never find true success and fulfillment. We fall short of the expectations God designed for His creation. But there is another way. A way to freedom, hope, and reconciliation. In this clip from our series Greater, Pastor Steven uses the story of the prophet Elisha to show how our lives can be fulfilled in one perfect way.
Disappointment. Betrayal. Brokenness. Our dependance on others often guarantees that they will one day hurt us. In our lives we will unfortunately experience the pain of burned bridges and unmet expectations. But maybe it’s because we want something out of our relationships that God never intended for us to find there. In this clip from the sermon Frustrations of Fixer, Pastor Steven explains the reason why our relationships fail and how to fix them by recalibrating our source for affirmation.
God, look what they did to me. God, are you going to let them treat me that way? We have a tendency to let God know when we’ve been wronged, like it’s up to us to help Him keep up with everyone else. In this clip from our series Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf, Pastor Steven’s wife, Holly teaches us what God has commanded us to do when things aren’t going our way.
You can keep up with Holly and read her unique perspective on being a wife and mother in the ministry though her blog.
In our struggles and trials, we often begin questioning our purpose. Why can’t I get it together? What’s wrong with me? Did God make a mistake with my life? We start second-guessing our value and worth. But in Christ, there is a truth to cling to in these moments of self-doubt. In this clip from our sermon ‘Fearfully & Wonderfully Made’ Pastor Steven reminds us of just how God designed each of our lives.
When we are trying to understand the will of God, we often want Him to give us a black and white answer. We want the yes or no. We don’t want any grey area. But in this clip from our series Grey Matter, Pastor Steven teaches us that we have created a double standard when it comes to the hidden will of God and His revealed commands to us.
We live in a world of constant feedback. Whether we ask for it or not, we’re always being told what we need to change, who we need to be, and what our goals and desires should be. And it can be hard to discern the truth through this myriad of voices. Who should we listen to? Who’s approval should we want? But in this clip from our Student Takeover event, Pastor Steven encourages us to remember that as believers in Christ, we are already approved by the only opinion that matters.
All too often, when it comes to a decision in our lives, we think God is trying to pull a fast one on us. We are looking for the trap door or the hidden camera. What if I choose this job and I end up hating it? What if the other college was where I was supposed to meet my husband? But we forget that God isn’t trying to trick us. In this clip from our series God’s Will Is Whatever Pastor Steven uses Bean Boozled jelly beans to illustrate this common misconception we have about God and His will for our lives.
Wealth. Love. Acceptance. Success. These are the typical responses that come to mind when we think of what gives us joy. But at the same time, when we let our joy be determined by these parts of lives, we also give them the power to steal our joy. In this clip from our series The Joy Genome, Pastor Steven teaches a powerful truth about the source we should access for our joy.
We want to directions. We want the next steps. We want to know where God wants us to go. But for many of us, God simply wants us to follow the last instructions He gave us, before giving us something else to do. In this clip from our series Grey Matter, Pastor Steven explains that when we want our lives to align with the will of God, there is only one decision we can make that will truly matter.