Category Archives: Sermon Series

When You Pray

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and everyone is talking about getting into shape. Physical health is important, but we want to take the next three weeks to talk about spiritual health. How is your spiritual pulse?

More specifically, how is your prayer pulse? Steady? Sluggish?

Prayer is counterintuitive. It goes against our do-it-yourself, bootstrap culture. Prayer is an admission that we can’t make it on our own. It is an act of faith and trust. Jesus assumes that we will pray.

And when you pray…..Matthew 6:5 NIV

In his lesson on prayer, Jesus gives some basic instructions. Don’t pray for show. Don’t pray mindless words. Be specific. But the biggest observation is that he didn’t say “if you pray” he said “when.”

Prayer is something Jesus expected would be a part of every believer’s life – of your life. The Bible is full of references to prayer. We see prayer a few chapters in to the mammoth text in and the book of Revelation concludes with “Amen.” The Bible is bookended by prayer and filled with praying people whose prayers brought incredible change in their lives

Something happens when we pray!

… You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2 NIV

God’s prevailing power is released through prayer. For some reason, certain expressions of his power can only be released in response to prayer. It’s a beautiful picture of the potent combination of the will of God and our dependent, surrendered relationship with him.

Prayer is not a boring spiritual disciple. It is a key to unlocking the the will of the Father.

God is able to do far more than we could ever imagine. He has power over nature, power over circumstances and power over hearts. Do you need something in your world to change this year? Pray!

Check your prayer pulse. Is it pounding a little bit stronger? We hope so! Be sure to pick up our Pulse Prayer and Fasting Guide this Sunday and join us as we dedicate this time at the beginning of the year to seek the face of God.

Rest Easy This Christmas

God rest you merry, gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray….

As this famous carol highlights, Christmas is all about Jesus saving us from Satan’s power. God saves us from our sins, splitting light and darkness in the spirit of a person who receives His free gift of salvation. This is part of the real meaning of Christmas.

Often misunderstood in society as simply a “nice little traditional story” that doubles as a reason to go shopping, Christmas is really the beginning of a battle – a battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. You see the effects of the spiritual battle in the physical world all the time. You may even feel weary about the state of the world.

However, there is good news to boost your spirit this Christmas season. Because God sent His Son into the world to redeem us and be with us, you can have deep rest. Let nothing cause you to worry. That’s the message from the heart of God for you today.

As the giver of life, Christ was born on Christmas Day for your benefit, and as a result, the Holy Spirit happily (merrily) wants to give you the gifts (tidings) of comfort and joy.

The baby who was born in a manger two thousand years ago is the surest demonstration of how God feels about you.  He does not want you to be dismayed.

God is not the author of bad circumstances or tragedies. The devil is our adversary. He is a deceiver. He loves to intimidate. The devil tells you lies, such as:

You are not worth much.
You will never see your dreams come true.
You will never overcome your addictions.
You will never get out of your rut.
You will never find rest.

Truly, those are all lies and you have the power not to believe them. Don’t receive those lies from the enemy of your soul.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

The songwriter of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” got it right: no matter how much you have gone astray, you can be merry (joyful and peaceful) – thanks to the One who overcame and defanged the devil.

The devil is defeated. Sure, he masquerades as an “roaring lion,” but he has no real power. He has no authority to enforce the lies he is telling you. Instead, you can exercise your authority in Christ.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

The raw truth of Christmas is much more dynamic, beautiful and triumphant than you may have ever thought. Because of the real reason for Christmas, there is nothing for you to be discouraged about. Remember who was born on Christmas Day.

May God pour out His rest upon you this very moment! Let nothing dismay you.

 

 

A Thrill of Hope

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining; it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope…

The song continues….the weary world rejoices.

You don’t have to look far to see the weariness of our world. We see it in strained relationships, financial pressures, health issues, daily drudgery and slumped shoulders.  The pressure rises this time of year with added expectations and “supposed-to-bes.”

We need Christmas.

A weary world rejoices because we find hope at Christmas!

remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13 NIV

We were without hope. But we have been brought near because Jesus came near.

Hope is the certain expectation of future good. The Christmas story is all about hope.

 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 NIV

We have hope because God is with us. No matter what we face, we are never alone.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me Psalm 23:4

For every discouraging circumstance in this weary world, we find hope in the promises of God’s word.

They say that you can go 40 days without food, 4 days without water and 4 minutes without air but only 4 seconds without hope.

The thrill of hope, it fuels our purpose and reminds our soul of its great worth.

The Art of Stewardship

Jesus sent his disciples on a mission, giving them very specific instruction on what he needed.

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” Matthew 21:1-3 NIV

Just in case you missed it, I have to state the obvious. A man had a donkey.

Jesus needed a donkey and there was someone who had the resource he needed.

In order to give something, you must first have it to give.

So, what attitudes and perspectives should guide our thinking about acquiring resources? I call it the art of stewardship.

Embrace God’s desire to bless you – God is not a taker. He is a giver! When he delivered the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt he brought them to a “good land” filled with provision (Deuteronomy 8:7-10)

Moses challenged the people to always remember it was God who blessed and provided for them.

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth Deuteronomy 8:18 NIV

God gives the ability to produce wealth. That requires action, initiative and development on our part.

Embrace God’s wisdom on earning it – God’s wisdom identifies two temptations in our approach to money. The lazy irresponsible perspective always leads to less. The all-consuming lust for more often leads to a crushing burden of debt. Two questions will reveal your heart when it comes to money.

  1. Am I content?
  2. How do I feel when challenged to give?

Embrace God’s plan to manage it – It’s God’s plan that we live with margin. He asks for 10% of our increase. We encourage people to save 10% and then enjoy the remaining 80%.

It’s a simple plan that will help you give significantly, save wisely and enjoy life.

God wants to bless you because he loves you. When you have resources available, you are free to partner with God to make a difference in the world.

As we prepare for our yearly Heart for the House special offering on November 22nd, we encourage you to pray and ask God to guide you as you give and make your pledge

I Am Willing To Be Made Willing

We are powerless to fix ourselves. Step one in the freedom journey is “I can’t.” We cannot make it to freedom on our own. Step two is “God can.” God has the power to make you free.

There are some things you need to know about God in order for you to turn to him for help.

God knows all about me and my issues – God is not shocked, or surprised or disappointed over the circumstances of your life. He knows it all and he looks on you with compassion.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

God cares about me and my issues – The question of suffering has baffled people in every generation. But the truth is we live in a fallen world, we make mistakes and we face an adversary. No matter how you got in the situation you are in – God cares!

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Psalm 103:13-14

God can change me and heal my issues – God is FOR YOU! (Ephesians 1:19) Jesus came to set the captives free! (Luke 4:18) He brought life and healing!

 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Romans 8:11

Maybe you feel like your situation is hopeless. You wonder if you have the strength to change or even the “want to”. God has you covered. He is more than willing to make you willing if you would just be willing to be made willing.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13

Tell God that you are willing to be made willing. It may sound like a small step but it is a decision that will change the course of your life.

I am willing to be made willing.

Live in Freedom

God wants every person to live in freedom.  Our heavenly Father always intended to have you live free from hurts, habits and hang-ups.  Coming to grips with your issues and challenges is the first step.  Honesty is the key to living a life of freedom.

We all have issues.  We have to recognize that we have a problem before we can fix the problem.  That takes courage and honesty.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” – Romans 7:15-17

Why do we do the things we shouldn’t?  The simple answer is that we want to play God.

Inherent in our nature as fallen human beings, is a desire to be in control. We want to decide what is right and wrong for ourselves.  We don’t want anyone to tell us what to do. We try to control ourselves and others.

The consequences of playing God include:

  • Fear — Genesis 3:10 says, “I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”
  • Frustration — Psalm 32:3 says, “My dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration.”
  • Fatigue — Psalm 32:4-5 says, “My strength evaporated like water on a sunny day until I finally admitted all my sins to you and stop trying to hide them.”
  • Failure – Proverbs 28:13 says, “You will never succeed in life if you try to hide your sins.”

Sorry to say, but you will fail at playing the job of God.  You’ll simply end up running away from pain in your life and you will be tempted to self medicate. This is how we develop compulsive, addictive behaviors.

The road to freedom starts with one direct, powerful admission that can change your life: “On my own, I am powerless to fix myself.”

If you could fix yourself, you would have already done it.  “Will power” alone is not enough. God’s power is  greater than our tendency to do wrong.  You need to plug into God’s power source and that begins with humbling yourself before the Lord, who loves you.

We never graduate from our need for God.  Whether your issue is addiction, codependency, control, escapism, overeating or whatever it is, you can find balance and live in freedom. The Holy Spirit wants to help you.  Admit your need.  Draw close to Him, and He will draw close to you. James 4:8 

Thankfully, you don’t need to walk this out alone.  To help individuals deal with hurts, habits and hang-ups, Shoreline Church offers Celebrate Recovery, a proven program to help people find freedom from their issues – not only addictions, but all sorts of things that hold people back from living a full life, including insecurities, perfectionism, fears, abuse and anger.

Shoreline is a safe place where you can  be real about your issues, experience God’s love and walk into a new life of freedom.

 

Make a Difference

There is no thrill like being used by God to make a difference in other people’s lives. God wants you to live your life bigger than yourself. Everything you do for the Lord is ministry and is a big deal to God. God is great at using the small things you do and making incredible miracles out of them.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

When you start serving where you are, you add value to other people’s lives. That’s why Shoreline is making it easy for you to get involved at the church. We believe you’ve got “mad” gifts and talents that God has given you. That means, according to the urban dictionary, that you have an awesome ability to help out in ways that will interest and inspire you. Text MAD to 313131 to get involved at Shoreline. Then watch what happens!

By volunteering at Shoreline, you’ll meet new people, discover new dimensions of your greater purpose and God’s plan for your life, get more fulfillment, advance your own personal ministry, have fun, help organize and make a difference in the lives of others.

Open your heart to live significantly
Rekindle and commit to the idea that God wants to use you to make a positive difference in the lives of others. If everything in your life is about you, it’s out of balance.

When the early church started, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit fell on ALL people.

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” – Acts 2:17

Be aggressive about discovering your purpose
Everything has a purpose. God will speak to you and show you what your purpose is.

Push through your inadequacies
God uses each of us, in spite of ourselves. The only people God has available are people with inadequacies, which should not be a barrier. It’s a level playing field.

Start right where you are
To serve the Lord God, you do not need to become a missionary in another country. You never know what God will do through what you do wherever you are.

Don’t be afraid of your past
Everyone whom God has ever used had a past. God never wastes a hurt except to use it to help make a difference in someone else’s life.

Take the next step
Don’t stay on the sideline as a fan. Get in the game! How can you get in the game at Shoreline? Pick up your mobile phone, type in “mad” and text it to 313131. Our staff will follow up with you. You can make a difference!

Find Life

Part of the three-fold purpose of Shoreline is to help people find life. Jesus said he came that we might have life, abundant life. He often brings life through relationships.

Relationship is in the very essence of God. The Trinity is God in relationship – Father, Son and Holy Spirit living in perfect love.

Jesus lived on earth in the context of relationships. He touched multitudes, invested in a strategic group of seventy and lived his everyday life with the twelve disciples.

God desires community.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15 NIV

You are made in God’s image and you need relationships. They are one of the most powerful influences in your life.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg uncovers research that shows no one has the ability to make long-term change in their life without relationships. We can get by on will-power in the short term but lasting change is sustained when we are connected to other people.

Relationships expand your heart – The more you are alone the more inward focused you become. Relationships require effort but that effort expands us.

Relationships make you strong – You can get into a lot of trouble when you are alone. Together we are safer and stronger. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Relationships impart wisdom

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 NIV

Relationships make you whole – Studies show that people who live isolated are more susceptible to depression and despair. In the difficulties of life, relationships bring healing and wholeness.

You can find life and build relationships at Shoreline through small groups. We have groups that meet on campus Wednesday night, recovery groups on Thursday night, groups that meet in homes all over the city and casual hangouts too. Click here to explore small groups. Make a decision to get involved today. The quality of your life depends on it.

Know God

One of our purposes as a church is to help people know God. We believe our ability to know God comes through the Bible.  Therefore, one of our highest priorities is to be a church where the word of God is preached.

When we choose an atmosphere where the Word of God is delighted in – our lives will be fruitful and blessed. (Psalm 1:1-3)

This is no ordinary book.

The Word of God is a love story – The Bible is more than a how-to book. It is the announcement and revelation of what the love of God has done. It’s the story of God reaching out to redeem and restore mankind.

The Word of God is spiritual food – There are many food metaphors for the Bible. It is described as milk (1 Peter 2:2), meat (Hebrews 5:12-14), bread (Matthew 4:4) and honey (Psalm 19:7-10.)  We find spiritual nourishment for our faith in every promise, principle, theme and story of the Bible.

The Word of God is a guide – In a world of self-help and self-navigation, the Bible provides enduring guidance. (Psalm 119:105)

The Word of God comforts – In times of pain and hardship we find comfort in the Bible. (Psalm 119:50)

The Word of God shapes – This book is alive and active! (Hebrews 4:12) It convicts us of attitudes and thoughts that need to change. It teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Word of God builds – The Bible not only helps us build a vibrant life; it is the solid foundation on which we build. (Matthew 7:24-27)

The Word of God is like a sword – We have a weapon in the Word of God that we can use to defeat the enemy of our soul. (Ephesians 6:17) With every promise we find in the Bible, we become more skillful at handling this weapon.

The Word of God is like a mirror – Regardless of how you feel or what you currently believe about yourself, in the Word of God you’ll find the truest reflection of who you are. (James 1:22-25)

We hope you’ll take some time to click on the links we’ve provided this week and become better acquainted with the Bible. Through knowing the Word of God you will come to Know God.

God’s Purpose for the Church

Every person is born with a God-shaped vacuum that only Jesus can fill.  People often pursue pleasures, recognition, partying or the accumulation of riches to try to fill this emptiness in the soul, but they always end up disillusioned and dissatisfied. The vacuum will not be filled if one is not aligned with God’s purposes, which aren’t a secret.  Matthew 28:18-19 sums up God’s purpose for the church.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 18-20

Based on what Jesus said, we know that we exist as a church to do three things:

  • Help people know God
  • Help people find life
  • Help people make a difference

Help people know God:  All of us are called to make the amazing grace of God known.  Just as God used someone else to show you the grace of God, you have opportunities to share the story of how God has impacted your life.  A simple invitation for a friend to come to church works.  We are reaching so many people through our weekend services.  We are consumed about God’s presence being rich and real We don’t just think about long-time church-goers on Sunday.  We also think about people who never go or rarely go to church.  We want your unchurched friends to love Shoreline. 

Help people find life:  We all have issues.  Small groups and life-giving relationships help all of us deal with issues that keep us from the freedom we need to live an abundant life.  None of us can recover from issues without relational support.  God wants all of us to find life in relationship with other believers who are encouraging, supportive and accountable.  Take the first step. Join a small group at Shoreline.

Help people make a difference: You were designed by God to do something significant with your life. You are capable of creating positive change.  To support you in your endeavor, the Lord Jesus promised to be with you ALWAYS – yes, YOU. He empowers you!  How cool is that?

God is doing incredible things at Shoreline Church, and you are part of it.  There is a rising sense of anticipation every week about coming to church. Can you feel it?

In the final week of our prayer initiative, pray that our world would know God, find true life in him and that we each discover how we were created to make a difference.