“Knowing the Heart of God….And Living In It!”

"Knowing the Heart of God... And Living In It!"

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Humankind has always sought to know God and to live in Him….because deep down every single human being knows that God is there. How about you?

The Bible says, “God has set eternity in the hearts of humankind; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Eccl.3:11)  But then, we really don’t need the Bible to tell us this, do we? If you were to calculate the number, out of all of the billions of people who have ever lived, who have claimed they believe that there is no god, it would be so small as to be statistically irrelevant! In truth, these people are anomalies in the overwhelming statistical and historical reality of a universal belief of humankind that God is there.

We see this reality reflected in our own time as many thought the decline of Christianity in Europe and the USA would mean the end of religion – that is, an end to a human “spirituality” that sought out a reality beyond space and time that stretched into eternity. But this has not been the case. Both in Europe and especially in the USA we have remained a “spiritual” people seeking some type of “spiritual” truth. Humankind just seems to know deep down in the very essence of who they are that there is an eternal reality; a reality grounded in God.

Yet, throughout human history, we see humankind searching but not finding; longing but not being fulfilled; desiring to know truth but left empty.

The Bible says the truth is not something we need to discover or to achieve or to earn. Rather, the Bible says that the truth has come to us. His Name is Jesus and He is “the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” In Jesus is the heart of God revealed; in Jesus is the answer to what we all seek, the One who can fulfill every longing; the One who is the truth that fills us up.

In the next few weeks, in 4 three-week mini-series, we will look to know and receive the heart of God revealed finally in Jesus; And we will look to be empowered to live in it! For this is what we all seek!

Humankind has always sought to know God and to live in Him….because deep down every single human being knows that God is there. How about you?


Mini-Series #1…The Inviting God

Have you ever been on the outside looking in?...And then someone invited you in? How did it feel? In this short three week series God would have us know Him as the One who invites us in….This is God’s heart toward us!...And this is how he would empower us to live toward others!

Saturday and Sunday, May 5th/6th  “It’s Personal”

When my oldest son was in the 4th or 5th  grade a number of kids in his class asked him personally if he would play on their little league baseball team. It’s nice to be wanted. Even though it was a longer drive, we let him do it. Did you know you are personally wanted by God?...That He would touch your heart with His heart-feIt invitation? It’s nice to be wanted….And it’s a gift to have such a heart towards all.

Saturday and Sunday, May 12th/13th  “It’s Relevant”                    

“Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny.”  It is something I had to learn in detail in an advanced Biology class in college where, just as we finished the final, we were told that it was no longer thought to be true…Did you ever have to learn something in school that you knew would NEVER be relevant in your life? God’s invitation to you – from His heart to yours – will never be irrelevant. It is a gift to receive and a gift to live in!

Saturday and Sunday, May 19th/20th   “It’s Not Something He Wants Us to Miss!”

Have you ever driven cross country in the Midwest and as you are approaching some restaurant or museum there are huge signs –one after another over a number of miles perhaps even on the sides of huge, old truck trailers – advertising the attraction or eatery? They really don’t want you to miss their invitation! Did you know God, in His great love for you that doesn’t want you to miss the invitation, does very similar things? Did you know that we are called to do the same?


Mini-Series #2…The Connecting God

Have you ever experienced a time when you weren’t sure you were welcome in a particular situation? Awkward, wasn’t it?  Throughout the Bible God’s heart is revealed as the One who breaks down the barriers so we can see and know His wide open arms of welcome and friendship as well as His heart of hospitality towards us in every situation and every moment. In the next few weeks we explore what this means for us both to receive it and live in it!

Saturday and Sunday, May 26th/27th    Hospitality: You are WELCOME Here!

When I would bring friends home, my dad had a way of making them feel welcome...as if they belonged with us!...and he firmly believed they did! His concern and care for them expressed in genuine hospitality was transparent and real! I remember when my dad died Ernie Perez, a close friend of mine from High School that I had not seen in 20 years came to his funeral…that’s how connected he felt to my dad. The hospitality of God; You are welcome here!...to receive it and to live in!

Saturday and Sunday, June 2nd and 3rd  “I Call you Friend!”               

The first day Jane and I got to the Seminary, I went to the Administration Office, got squared away, and then was immediately asked if I would help move in another student and his family who had just gotten there. So I worked with Lee all afternoon and got him and his family moved in. But the thing I remember about that day? We each offered the other one the hand of friendship in ways too numerous to count. We remain close friends to this day.  Today, we see the heart of God in that He offers us the hand of friendship…and empowers us to do the same.

 Saturday and Sunday, June 9th/10th  “Here for the Duration”

Have you ever sung a version of the song “On Top of Old Smokey?” Most of them talk about someone being all alone on top of a mountain without….something they desperately need. God, in His love, NEVER leaves us “on top of Old Smokey.” He NEVER says, “Your on your own now!” No, in His love He stays connected….and He would empower us to live this same way toward others.


Mini-Series #3….The Discipling/Apprenticing God

The story goes that when someone asked Michelangelo how he could sculpt such beautiful works out of the stone, he said that he saw the figure in the block of stone and all he did was to bring it out. God sees us as who we are in Christ and what we can become in Him! By His Spirit, in His love, He works to sculpt His work of art in each of us!  We were made for great things!

Saturday and Sunday, June 16th/17th    “Special Made for a Purpose”

Have you ever seen the movie “Chariots of Fire?” It is a movie about the English men’s track and field team at the 1924 Olympics. There is a character in the movie who is a Christian and says, “I was made to run. When I run I feel God’s pleasure.” Do you have that one thing –or perhaps a couple of things – that you know you were just “made to do?” In truth, God has put each of us together special and unique and then has gifted us even beyond this with His Spirit to do special and unique things. What will this mean for you?

Saturday and Sunday, June 23rd/24th   “Doing Life Together”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “learning by osmosis.” Basically what it means is that just as when you throw salt in a glass of water and over a few seconds it spreads through the entire solution, so too when we spend enough time doing life together with someone, they tend to “rub off” on us. So, God wants to do life with us so He can rub off on us…but He also wants us to do life with each other, so that who we are in Christ can rub off on each other as well. Jesus does NOT leave us alone. He comes to do life with us. Such is God’s heart toward us.

Saturday and Sunday, June 30th/July 1st   “On the Job Training”

Have you ever “learned by doing?” It really is the only way to truly learn how to do something. I mean, you can talk about it, diagram it, understand it, see someone else doing it, but until YOU do it, you will not truly learn how to do it and get better at it. (If you have ever been on a football team and remember the first scrimmage of the year you know exactly what I mean!) Jesus taught His disciples through “on the job training.” And He still does. He just uses us to do it. He does NOT leave us alone. He comes to us. Such is God’s heart toward us.


Mini-Series #4…The Sending God

John 3:16 is the most well-known verse in all the Bible. It says in part, “For God so loved the world that He SENT His Only Begotten Son…” Jesus was sent to us and for us by God the Father! We have a wonderful, loving, sending God! And then Jesus, following the Resurrection, says to His disciples, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you!” This is our focus in the next few weeks!

Saturday and Sunday, July 7th/8th  “A Way of Life”

Not long ago I had a cataract removed from my left eye. It was really quite amazing to go from seeing hardly anything out of that eye at all to 20-20 vision. But the thing that I wasn’t prepared for was how all the colors were so crisp and clean and vivid! It was amazing to see like that again! This kind of transformation gift is what God gives us as people who see themselves as SENT just as Jesus was SENT! As Paul wrote in the book of Philemon, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith (in word and deed!), so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ!”

Saturday and Sunday, July 14th/15th "Always to Others"

Jesus came for all. We are sent to take Him always to others. We are pleased and privileged to have the recently retired Rev. Ted Hartman with us who has served our district with distinction for many years as the Mission Executive. May God, the Holy Spirit, bless His message and witness to us this morning!

Saturday and Sunday, July 21st/22nd "Our Student Ministry"

On this very special day, our students and Student Ministry will  be featured. These young people are not simply the “church of tomorrow” but the church of TODAY! This will be a lively, joyful, insightful day of celebration!

Saturday and Sunday, July 28th/29th   “We (Together!) Are The Body of Christ!”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “perception is everything?” What it is saying is that perception is powerful because it frames how one sees things, whether it is how one sees another, or how one sees themselves. What is your perception of the people of God, the church? The Bible depicts us as being SENT together on a mission – to actually join Jesus on His mission! We are an army on the move! And the Bible says the gates of hell (gates here being defensive weapons since we are the ones doing the attacking) shall not prevail against us! This is our focus today!

Saturday and Sunday, August 4th/5th “Experience Is A Great Teacher”

Did you ever teach a young person (maybe your own son or daughter) how to drive a car? You can talk about it and rehearse it and have them watch you, but they really won’t learn until they actually do it. Today we focus on ways that we can intentionally gain experience through doing by going on “short term mission trips.” Why? It is what Jesus did! We can do some great things! And we can grow in our everyday discipleship!