Every year we start the same way. We vow to do things differently. To make this year better than the last. We resolve to change. And we start strong; with the best of intentions. But inevitably we fall short, settling back into mediocrity and habit for another year. We need to reframe the way we think about resolutions. And it starts this year. Join us for our new series, The New Rules of Resolution, as we uncover five facts that change the way we change.
Archive for the ‘Sermon Series’ Category
Yesterday I began a series on idolatry called “Scarecrow in a Melon Patch.” The title is a bit elusive but it comes from Jeremiah 10:5. Jeremiah describes idols like a “scarecrow in a melon patch” because they can’t ultimately give us the security we want them to.
One of the things I most wanted to do was help people move from simply knowing what idolatry is to knowing what idols are actually in our lives. For the people in the Bible, it was easy. They could visibly see what they were bowing down to. Our idols are in our hearts, and we’re usually blind to them.
So to help, I went through a list of fifteen questions that’s a combination of questions from both Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll. I promised I would make these available so our people could process through them throughout the week, but I think these would be good for you to go through even if you’re not a part of Elevation.
Obviously the answer to any one of these questions doesn’t automatically qualify it as an idol. But if you begin to see a trend of similar answers, you’re on to something.
- What am I most afraid of?
- What are the primary things I spend my money on outside of necessities?
- What do I long for most passionately?
- Where do I run for comfort?
- What do I complain about most?
- What makes me happiest?
- How do I explain myself to other people?
- What has caused me to be angry with God?
- What do I brag about?
- What do I want to have more than anything else?
- What do I sacrifice the most for in my life?
- If I could change one thing about my life, what would it be?
- Whose approval am I seeking?
- What do I want to control/master?
- What comfort do I treasure most?
In the sermon I gave some practical applications for how to diminish an idol. If you weren’t there to hear them, you can check them out every hour on the hour at the Elevation Experience.
Last weekend at Elevation I strongly urged our people to invite people who are close to them but far from God to church this coming weekend. We believe very strongly in the power of a simple invite to church. We’ve seen thousands of people place their faith in Christ through our weekend worship experiences. And the reason most of those people came was because someone invited them.
So I wanted to issue one final challenge to our Elevators: don’t come alone this weekend. God has been setting the stage for an incredible finish to the Invitation. And all you have to do is say a simple sentence that could have a profound impact: Will you come to church with me this weekend?
We’ve made all the preparations. Now you just have to come and bring as many people as you can. God wants His house to be full. And He’s asked us to invite people in to fill it.
Below I’ve included a tool to help you. Take a moment and send an e-vite. Or send 20. We have ten worship experiences spread out over three locations. Find one they can go to, and accommodate to their schedule if you have to.
To show you the kind of impact you have the potential to make, I’ve also included a very compelling testimony detailing how Kat Crawford, one of our volunteers, received a simple invitation to church that changed her life forever.
We’re partners in the Gospel. You give your invitation. I’ll give mine. And we’ll see hundreds of people be filled with life in Christ.
Yesterday I wrapped up a four-week series on Romans 8 called “Christ Alone.” Going into the weekend I had three different sermons prepared. When you’re covering the greatest chapter in the Bible in just four weeks, it can be hard to know where to land.
I ended up focusing on the phrase, “more than conquerors” and what it means to be a super conqueror. A more than a conqueror through Christ, rather than just a mere conqueror.
More than anything, I wanted to communicate the truth that if you’re more than conqueror, you achieve the victory in the opposition. Not just over it. You’re victorious in the midst of your circumstances, struggles, and opposition. Not necessarily when you escape them.
I know that sounds good, but I think the reason many Christians never graduate to being a super conqueror is their fear of the danger and opposition that lies in the middle of a battle. There’s a tendency in us to think we’re safer when we face no opposition. Or when we’re in no danger. And therefore we run from them at all costs. Fear, rather than faith, becomes our controlling mechanism.
But this misses the point that God provides security and protection in direct proportion to the danger we’re in and the opposition we’re facing. In God’s economy, it’s when we’re facing our greatest opposition and danger that we’re also the safest. Not from them. But in them.
In the Bible, the greatest instances of God’s protection directly coincide with the greatest moments of danger and opposition for God’s people.
God parts the Red Sea. Because the Egyptian army is about to annihilate the Israelites.
God shuts the mouths of lions. Because Daniel is thrown into a lions den.
I think many of us want a front row seat to God’s miracles without a front row seat to the danger and opposition that coincides with the need for the miracle in the first place. But this isn’t how it works. The people who get to experience the power of God are those who are actually in need of seeing that power manifested on their behalf. And it’s for this very reason that these people have less to fear than those in seemingly safer circumstances.
The Israelites didn’t have to fear the Egyptians because God was fighting for them.
Daniel didn’t have to fear the lions because God was with him.
You don’t have to fear whatever you’re facing because the same God is with you and fighting for you.
The greater the danger you’re in, the greater security God will provide. The greater the opposition against us, the greater the opportunity for God to fight for us. And allow us to be super conquerors through Him.
(If you weren’t there to hear it, we’ll have the whole sermon up later today.)
Guest Blogger: Wade Joye, Worship Pastor
Pastor Steven recently led our staff and select volunteers to read through the Bible in 90 days through an intense and challenging initiative called B90x. This process was so powerful for our leadership as we prioritized the Word of God in a new way in our lives. As a result, Pastor Steven wanted to take our entire church through a similar journey.
Beginning the weekend of January 9 and 10, we will launch a 5 week sermon series called New Thru 30. During this series, Pastor Steven will challenge our church to read through the entire New Testament in 30 days. Everyone in the church will get a reading plan and devotional guide as we take this journey together. Pastor’s sermons during these 5 weekends will also be focused on what we are reading at the time. I can’t think of any better way for us to kick off the New Year as a church!
And here is the really cool part. We want you to do this series with us. We are going to make the entire series available to you at newthru30.com so any church can participate alongside of us. At the site, you will be able to download Pastor Steven’s sermons, the reading plan, series graphics, trailers and all other programming materials.
Ultimately, we want to be a resource for you as you challenge your church to seek God in a new and audacious way. We hope you join us in this national campaign as we read the New Testament together and start the New Year off right.
Guest Blogger: Larry “Crint Eastwood” Hubatka
In case you missed it, it can’t hurt to hear it once more…
The church has sacred cows. Things is doesn’t like talking about. Well, we’re going to talk about them. And we’re going cow tipping.
Anytime you can combine the words: milk a cow, drinking wine, living with my girlfriend, BMW, devil cow, barbecue sauce, divorce, cow bells, R-rated movies, sexual orientation, Rolex, Green Day, angel cow, hell, steak, cussing and Jesus…you know it’s going to be a good series.
We’re putting on some Tony Lamas and tightening the big ol’ belt buckles, because Cow Tipping is about as good as it gets this July. Make plans. You’re going to want to kick it off with us this Sunday. Invite a friend or two, it won’t disappoint…not even close.
Click one of the links below to send an evite to the location of your choice.
Click here to send an evite to our Butler High School location
Click here to send an evite to our Providence High School location
Click here to send an evite to our Uptown location at McGlohon Theater
Fire up the John Deere. We’ll see you Sunday.
Guest Blogger: Wade Joye
The Essential James, our brand new sermon series, kicks off this Sunday. You don’t want to miss it as Pastor Steven takes the next 4 weeks to preach on 4 key principles straight from the book of James. It will be a fresh approach to spiritual growth, so come expecting God to do big things.
A while back I was en route to speak at a leadership conference, and it hit me:
I travel around the country a good bit to speak on leadership principles,
but I’ve never preached a series on leadership at my own church.
All that changes this starting this Sunday.
We’re kicking off a sermon series exclusively focused on activating the leadership potential within you.
It will apply at a deep level to everyone:
High School Juniors, stay-at-home moms, corporate executives, retirees-
I look for it to be one of those series where we run out of weeks before we run out of concepts and content.
The purple-people thing-I’ll have to explain that part Sunday.
Here’s a preview.
We all know someone who has loads of leadership potential waiting to be developed. Bring them with you.
So many of you are hurting, uncertain, and discombobulated in this freak show financial crisis.
Help is on the way.
Sunday, I’m beginning a 5ish week series in which I will speak boldly and prophetically to the issues that are keeping us up at night.
This is not just another series.
God has given me a fresh, burning, kill-shot Word.
Ask someone to meet you at church Sunday.
A season of hope, favor, clarity, and blessing is upon us-no matter what CNN says.
I’ll see you Sunday. Change is coming.
This Sunday I shared the story of my grandmother and grandfather in our services at Elevation. It’s a story that always seems to move people. Several years ago I wrote a few paragraphs about their story and I thought I’d post them here. Please feel free to share this. I think it makes a perfect ending to the Visionary Love Dream Sex series.
Our most important series of the year kicks off this Sunday. Remember Elevation, the Gospel is a partnership. I’m counting on you to invite all of your friends who are far from God to encounter Christ through the Gospel this week. I can’t wait to see what God does.
Over the past two weeks we’ve seen over 1000 people baptized through our spontaneous baptism series, Awakening. It has been the most deeply meaningful event I’ve experienced in my short time as a pastor.
I’d like to challenge and encourage all of the pastors and church leaders who read this blog to consider leading your church through 2 weeks of spontaneous baptisms before the end of 2008. Of course, this idea isn’t original with us.
And we certainly aren’t naive enough to believe that the format is right for everyone.
But I am so inspired by what God has done in our church through the process of this Awakening series, and so proud of the processes that our staff and volunteers have put together that I’d like to offer all of our resources to you.
So we’re open sourcing all things related to our spontaneous baptisms. You’ll have access to everything from the sermons I preached, to our series graphics, to the logistics of how we baptized over 1000 people in 2 weeks in 2 portable locations…really, everything you need from a practical standpoint to set the stage and pull this off.
You’ll be surprised how comprehensively our staff has broken it down. And if we can help save you the hundreds of hours that this type of detailed planning involves, we’re glad to do it.
All of this is free of charge.
One condition: if you decide to lead your church in spontaneous baptisms, please let us know about the great things God does. We want to celebrate with you.
I pray that hundreds of you will take the plunge and do this. It has created more momentum and fervor in our church than you can possibly imagine.
Get ready to make history, Elevation! The revolutionary, groundbreaking experiment One Prayer launches this Sunday. Over 1,325 churches representing 779,111 people are participating. I believe it’s the beginning of a unity in the body of Christ unlike anything we’ve seen before.
If you’re not familiar with the series, you can catch up here.
This week I’ll kick things off with a foundational sermon. For the three weeks that follow, we’ll hear messages from some of the greatest communicators of our generation. Please send an evite (Butler, Providence) and invite someone to be a part of this with you. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so glad we’re in at the ground level.
I guess it’s the last series you’d ever expect from a church like Elevation. People seem to think we’re cutting-edge-but when it comes to what really matters, we’re old school. That’s been our vision from day one: new-breed methodology, old school theology.
We kicked off the Old Time Religion series on Mother’s Day, complete with a Hammond B-3, stained glass, and choir robes (no handbells, alas).
The sermon was prerecorded several weeks in advance at Moncks Corner United Methodist Church, the church I grew up in, where my grandfather served as pastor in the late 1950s. It was a fun way to take my staff on a field trip for the pre-record and expose the entire church to my roots. I preached the entire message in the sanctuary of that church, which brought back memories, and allowed me to honor where I came from (thanks Mom.) You can watch the sermon here.
This series is gonna be fun. I can tell already. I’ve got a smoking hot message about prizing and prioritizing the Word of God for this Sunday. And I’ll be preaching it behind a big old honking pulpit. What’s old is new again.
Invite all your friends. See you Sunday.
Butler Evite, Providence Evite
To say I am excited about the One Prayer series would be an understatement. I actually think it’s going to be a history making event and Elevation couldn’t be more proud to be a part. I answered a few questions on today’s Swerve blog about my sermon in particular for the One Prayer series. Check it out here.
There is one more thing God has laid on my heart to offer as a resource to churches participating in the One Prayer series. If you are participating in the One Prayer series and using my message, I would be happy to record a one-minute roll-in video in which I specifically address the senior pastor and the congregation as a way to personalize the message to your church.
I know this may be a little awkward if we have no formal relationship, but I believe that affirming the senior pastor and addressing the particular church can add great value to the sermon. I hope this will help to make the One Prayer experience as powerful as possible for all those involved.
Here are the details:
- Email your request to us at Lshea@elevationchurch.org by 4:00pm Thursday, May 15, 2008
- Your email request to Elevation should include: Church name and address, name of the senior pastor and how he likes to be addressed (Pastor, Reverend, etc.), city and state where your church is located, a few fast facts about your church (for example, your church is 2 years old, you are in the middle of a capital campaign, your vision statement is-, etc.), anything specific you would like to be included in the roll-in video
- You will preview and download Elevation’s message from the One Prayer website as instructed by LifeChurch, but you will receive your roll-in video in the mail by Thursday, June 5th from Elevation. Do not email LifeChurch for your church specific roll-in video
- On the technical side of things, all dvds will be exported in standard definition in a 4:3 format. If you need something different, please specify that in your email
We hope this is a help to encourage your church during the One Prayer series!
When Craig Groeschel told me about his idea for the One Prayer series, I had two simultaneous thoughts: 1) this guy is a genius, 2) why haven’t we thought of this before?
The idea was so simple. The conversation went something like this:
Craig: Do we really believe that video teaching works?
Me: Yes, I think so.
Craig: Then why don’t you be my teaching pastor through video and I’ll be yours?
Me: Um, OK.
Several months later the idea is reality and now hundreds of thousands of people across the country will get to be a part. Elevation Church is very excited to be a part of the One Prayer series. I’ll be contributing a pre-produced sermon as will tons of other (much better) preachers. I can’t wait for Elevation Church to get to experience world class preachers and be a part of something so kingdom minded.
I won’t go into a lengthy explanation about what the project is here. Go watch Craig’s video, or catch up with the details on Perry’s blog. Suffice it to say Elevation, we’ll be a part of a history making initiative in the month of June that will unify the body of Christ like never before.
I don’t know if any of you other preachers are weird like me.
Well, all preachers are weird, that’s a given. It’s actually a requirement.
What I mean is, when I’m in the middle of one sermon series and mapping out the next one, I always start getting more excited about the next one than the one I’m in.
We’re in this awesome financial series right now, and don’t get me wrong, I’m loving it.