Category Archives: Sermon Series

The Key to Happiness

God wants you to live with overwhelming joy. Following Christ is not just going to heaven when you die, it is abundant, joy-filled life here and now. So what is the key to happiness?

Recently a twenty-year study by Mayo Clinic revealed that the key to happiness was living positively in the moment.

Don’t you love it when scientists and doctors confirm what we already know to be true from God’s Word?

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 MSG

The Bible calls us to live in the moment with our focus on God, on his provision and goodness.

One of the biggest challenges we face is not having the strength for today because we’ve used it up on yesterday’s regrets or tomorrow’s concerns. Anxiety splits our energy between past mistakes and future fears.

If we want to enjoy life in the moment we must:

Release the Past – To live in the moment we have to release our failures, mistakes, regrets and misfortunes.  We may still recall the past, but it doesn’t control us anymore.

Resist Tomorrow  – The future seems uncontrollable and uncertain but God never intended that we would face the future with uncertainty. God knows everything. The future will never surprise him. He knows the future and he has a plan.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Develop the Skill of Living Positively in the Moment – Focus on what you can do TODAY. Make a gratitude list. Treasure the relationships in your life. Focus on the positive even in the negative. Execute keystone habits like exercise and healthy eating. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Connect authentically with God.

Real joy is only found in God. We cannot do anything significant or worthwhile alone, but if we connect with God, we can live life to the fullest in each and every moment.

A Father’s Love

Today we celebrate a father’s love. They say a child is not likely to find a father in God unless he finds something of God in his father. What an important role!

No father is perfect, but God gives us guidance through his character and his Word showing us what all fathers should aspire to.

A father’s love provides – God provides everything we need. (2 Peter 1:3) He sets the bar high for fathers to provide for their family’s needs.

Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8 NIV

A father’s love protects – Father’s rise up with courage to protect their children. Love protects. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

A father’s love teaches – Father’s share their wisdom and knowledge. They lead by example knowing their actions speak louder than words.

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Proverbs 4:1-5 NIV

A father’s love embraces – Loving touch speaks volumes to a child. It offers psychological, physical and emotional benefits. Father’s embrace with their arms and with words of blessing

A father’s love is present – Fathers shows up, fully engaged in the moment.  They set aside distractions and take time to offer their full attention

A father’s love leaves a legacy – Fathers have the privilege of planting seeds of faith into the hearts of their children.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6 NLT

For all you do Dads, we honor you!

Take a moment this week to honor your father. Honor him but put your faith and trust in the Father God. Every earthly father will make mistakes but God’s love never fails.

Reconciling Relationships

Relationships can be a challenge. We all have issues. What makes things spiral out of control and how do we go about reconciling relationships?

Family and friends make life fun. Relationships bring joy and productivity, but there is some fine print. There are some hidden fees and a lot of – how shall we say it? – poop.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. Proverbs 14:4 NIV

Conflict happens in every relationship. What causes relationships to go sideways?

Unrealistic expectations – Sometimes people enter into relationships with the hope of finding a savior – someone to meet their every need. Unrealistic expectations suffocate the life out of a relationship. Jesus is the only one who can save.

Drift – If we take our relationships for granted, we get carried away by the current and we drift apart. Drift is the opposite of savior syndrome. Sometimes relationships are destroyed not by what we do, but what we don’t do.

Unforgiveness – We are all flawed individuals. We all make mistakes. Unforgiveness keeps us stuck in the pain of our imperfection. Without forgiveness we never move forward.

Healing broken relationships is what Christianity is all about. Reconciliation is the byproduct of love and love is the highest value in the kingdom of God. The Bible offers us a clear pathway for reconciling relationships.

 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Matthew 18:15 NIV

Go – It’s not always easy to go. It’s risky. You may have to press through some fear, but love goes.

In private – It’s not easy to keep conflict between the two of you. Be aware of polluting other people’s minds with the temporary toxicity of your conflict.

Seek to reconcile – When you go, in private, with a heart to reconcile the relationship you’ll be able to restore and reestablish the majority of your relationships. All relationships have Matthew 18:15 moments. There is too much at stake to just walk away.

 

Click here for Part 1 of the Links Series – What does God look for in a mom?
Part 2  Love is…
Part 3 Love is…continued
and for expert advise on relationships read An interview with Kitty Kok

Love is…

We need information, inspiration, application and direction in order to build and sustain healthy relationships. Love lays the foundation for the kind of relationships that double the joy and cut the burdens in half. God’s Word tells us exactly what love is.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Corinthians 13:4-7

These are the characteristics of love and they are skills we can develop.

  1. The Skill of Patience  – Patient people feel the same amount of irritation the rest of us do, but in the emotionally charged moments they make different choices. They pause and remind themselves of how valuable people are.
  2. The Skill of Kindness – Those who have developed the skill of kindness act with mercy and tenderness toward others. They love, not just with words, but with actions. (I John 3:18) They scroll through the available options and find the manifestation of love that will have the deepest meaning.
  3.  The Skill of Contentment – Envy is an inky black relational poison.  It pollutes our perspective of others. People develop the skill of contentment by seeing what they have through the lens of gratitude. They recognize everything they have is a gift they don’t deserve. Gratitude frees them to love anyone, no matter their status or their stuff.
  4. The Skill of Humility – Arrogance repelled others. It creates relational canyons. Those who have the skill of humility are self-aware. They know who they are and who they are not.

Jesus told us the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy but he came so that we would have abundant life.  (John 10:10) Both of these scenarios play out in the context of our relationships. The enemy sends relationships that tear us down. He slips in and distorts the very relationships that should be enriching our lives.  Jesus sends relationships that build us up. When we develop the skills of love, our relationships will flourish.

Scandalous Grace

The reckless, relentless pursuit of God’s love is legendary. It is life transforming. It is breath-taking. And it is scandalous.

God told the story of his love through the prophet Hosea.

The Lord began to speak through Hosea. He said to him, “Go. Marry a woman who is unfaithful. Have children with her. Do this because the people of the land are like that kind of wife. They have not been faithful to me.” Hosea 1:2

God looks at us in our sin and brokenness and tells us we are worthy of love.  He moves in close despite knowing he will feel the sting of betrayal when we inevitably turn our backs on him and pursue other passions. But his love is greater than our sin.

Then the LORD said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the LORD still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.” Hosea 3:1

God told the story of his grace through the thief on the cross.

Jesus was crucified between two criminals. They knew they were getting what they deserved. One of the criminals mocked Jesus, the other defended him and turned in desperation to ask the unthinkable.

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.Luke 23:42

A criminal crucified for his crimes asked for grace just moments before his death.

If the kingdom of God is about being good and doing right, this man didn’t stand a chance. He would not be able to say he was sorry or make restitution for the wrong he had done. He would never be a productive member of society. There was nothing he could do to help himself. There was only grace.

Jesus turned to the man, and answered.

I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise Luke 23:43

Shocking isn’t it? Scandalous to say the least.

This scandalous grace is more than an idea – it became a person. He walked among us.He turned the world upside down and offered a love we could never earn.

You don’t have to do anything to earn God’s grace. He gives it freely and all you have to do is receive it.

We will be diving deeper into this unfathomable grace during our church wide small group series Scandalous Grace. Will you join us?

Sign up to host a group.

Search for an existing group to join.

Pick up supplies in the lobby during any service and start a group with your own family.

Let’s explore this scandalous grace together!

Be a Bridge Builder

Before you can transport anything across a divide, you must establish a connection. Bridges span the gap over rivers, bays and canyons connecting cities and people.  In the same way you can be a bridge builder, connecting people to the love of God.

Connection always precedes transportation. People will be more open to the information you’d like to share after you’ve established a trust connection. So how do you build the bridge?

Cultivate a heart of kindness – Kindness is the byproduct of knowing the immeasurable worth of an individual.  You will never lay eyes on someone God doesn’t love. You will never meet a person Jesus didn’t die for. Kindness at its core accepts people just the way they are.

Specialize in acts of service – Nothing breaks down barriers better than acts of service.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant… Philippians 2:5-7 NIV

Throw a party – One of the easiest ways to foster a connection is to extend an invitation. When Jesus called Matthew the tax collector to follow him, Matthew experienced grace, forgiveness and love he didn’t deserve.  He felt acceptance and belonging. What did he do? He threw a party and invited his friends to meet the man who had invited him. (Luke 5:27-32)

We are throwing a party this weekend at Shoreline. Will you be a bridge builder? Invite the people you are connected with to make a connection with Jesus this Easter. The atmosphere of worship will surround them with peace. The love of God will warm them with belonging. The message of grace will welcome them with acceptance. Someone you care for is only an invitation away from a life-changing experience.

Visit our Easter 2015 webpage for details. Use our Easter weekend Facebook event to invite your friends on Facebook

This is Part 2 of a series. Click here for Part 1 Lost People Matter

Live in the Moment

Joy increases as you express gratitude. There is a direct relationship between gratitude and joy. There is also a relationship between gratitude and time.

No matter how you measure it, we each get the same amount of time to spend each week:

  • 168 hours
  • 10,080 minutes
  • 604,800 seconds

We think about time a lot:

  • Time is of the essence
  • Ain’t nobody got time for that
  • Time flies
  • You do that all the time
  • You’re wasting your time
  • We are running out of time

The Bible talks about time:

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Time is a big deal and the big decision is what to do with the time we’ve been given. As Gandalf told Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring,

“All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”

We want to get the most out of time and learn to live in the moment but it’s not easy. Regrets drag us back into the past. Worries about the future trap us in tomorrow. The hurried pace of life keeps us running, breathless. With everything we need to accomplish and all our to-do lists, we rush around skimming the surface and missing the satisfaction of living deeply aware in the present.

God calls himself I AM, not I was or I will be. I AM. Present tense. God is with us, in us and all around us but we miss it.

“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:16

So what is the antidote for hasty, shallow, hurried living? Gratitude!

When gratitude becomes your priority, something supernatural happens.  It causes you to focus. In all the complexities of a shameful past, a worrisome future and a harried present, gratitude brings simplicity and perspective

Watching for gifts and searching for wonders helps you live in the moment.

Gratitude slows the pace of life down to the perfect rhythm. Enjoy!

 

This is the fifth part in a series
Click here for the fourth part Who, What and Wen
Click here for the third part Make a Daily Gratitude List
Click here for the second part Gratitude Destroys Joy Killers
Click here for the first part The Year of Gratitude

Gratitude – Who, What and When

One of the most destructive, unhealthy habits is chronic complaining. Complainers are “when and then” people. When this happens…then I’ll be happy. When that happens…then I’ll be grateful. But “when and then” doesn’t work because there is always a new “when.”

Throw the “when and then” mindset out the window and embrace a better way of thinking about gratitude  – who, what and when.

Who

When something good happens, we may feel fortunate, excited and happy but we don’t always connect the dots and recognize the source of the good that has come our way. Feeling fortunate is not the same as being grateful.  Becoming a grateful person requires you to understand these three elements:

  • The beneficiary – the person who receives a good gift
  • The benefit – the good that has come
  • The benefactor – the giver of the gift

Gratitude acknowledges there is a source. God is the benefactor. God gives gifts and he also uses the people around us to pour out benefits. We are the beneficiaries.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

What

Give thanks for gifts of every size – small, medium and large. Thank God for miracles and breakthroughs. Thank him for the big things that display his power and strength. But don’t disdain the small. Get out your magnifying glass and search like Sherlock Holmes for small gifts to be grateful for. When you offer gratitude for seeming insignificant, ordinary things you unlock the secret to living with great joy.

When

There is never a wrong time to be grateful. We all go through different seasons in life and in every single one of them we can give thanks.

 

You don’t have to look very hard to find things to complain about. But let’s face it, when we complain we just get grumpier. Our glass moves from half empty to dry as a bone. Complaints are like fingernails on the chalkboard of life. Instead of complaining open your eyes and search for just one good gift. Feel God’s gracious benefits and give voice to your gratitude.

  • Who? – God
  • What?  – In everything
  • When? – Always

One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations. — Saint John of Avila

 

This is the fourth part in a series
Click here for the third part Make a Daily Gratitude List
Click here for the second part Gratitude Destroys Joy Killers
Click here for the first part The Year of Gratitude

 

Make a Daily Gratitude List

Researchers conducted a study with two groups of people – both assigned the task of keeping a daily list. Group A made a list of everything they were grateful for. Group B made a list of everything they were frustrated about.

It didn’t take long to see a dramatic difference between the two groups of people. Joy, happiness and energy skyrocketed for the gratitude group and plummeted for the frustration group.  Science proves it really is quite simple – what you focus on determines your level of joy.

2015 is the Year of Gratitude at Shoreline and we want to challenge you to join us in using the very practical, tangible tool of a daily gratitude list.

There really are no rules. You can use a scrap of paper, a leather bound journal, a spiral notebook or your smart phone. You can do it first thing in the morning, before your go to sleep or all throughout the day. Just start counting things to be grateful for.

Nothing is too small to record and you can list the same things over and over – things like waking up in the morning and seeing someone you love, eating your favorite meal, watching the sunset or completing a challenging project.

Soon you’ll begin to notice everything, like a good parking spot, rain for our lakes, a kind word and a friendly smile as an expression of God’s love for you.

In making a conscious effort to express gratitude you’ll find what you appreciate appreciates – things you take note of and give thanks for will grow in value.

Developing a habit of gratitude will require learning to be grateful for flawed people and imperfect gifts. Nothing is ever perfect, give thanks anyway. Write those things down too!

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18 AMP

For a wonderful read and more inspiration to record your own daily gratitude list, pick up a copy of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp in the Blue Room after any service.

Increase your joy by developing the disciple of gratitude.

 

This is the third part in a series
Click here for the second part Gratitude Destroys Joy Killers
Click here for the first part The Year of Gratitude

How Do I Deal With the Past?

Do you know someone who is stuck in the past? Perhaps the negative things they experienced tie them down with guilt and shame. Or maybe it’s not the negatives, sometimes it’s the positive things that keep people tethered to the past. They recall their glory days and want to be the football star or homecoming queen forever.

Maybe that someone is you.

Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

How do we do that?  It seems impossible to totally forget the past. We remember. We hear an old song, or smell a familiar fragrance and we’re transported back in time. We have family and friends who won’t let us forget. And Paul actually spends quite a bit of time recalling his past experiences. What he is saying is this passage is I’m not allowing those things that are behind me to keep me stuck in the past.

He says, “I’m straining….” That sounds like work doesn’t it? Moving past the past requires effort and energy.

We move beyond the past by seeing God’s presence in our past, by realizing he was there in every moment. He never left our side. His providence guided us. His love protected us.  And even when we felt alone, his grace sustained us and brought us through.

When we see the past as a picture of God’s presence we cut the tie. We are free to move forward.

This is Part 4 in a series
Click here to read Part 3 How do I deal with unanswered prayer?
Click here to read Part 2 How do I grow in faith?
Click here to read Part 1 Why is there suffering?