Mar 14, 2021
James Part 1: Big / Small
Series: James

James a servant of God has been impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to share with the church a letter which really speaks to a myriad of issues and themes but at the center of it is this... God is big and we are small and yet God cares about the big and the small. I want you to think about this... the God of the universe who governs all there is; how hot the stars burn, how far the planets travel in orbit, the speed of light, the depth of the oceans, the amount of food needed to feed China today, and the amount of rain needed to grow that food, the same God that governs all of that Big stuff... is the same God who cares about you. To quote Bill Paxton's character in one of my favorite movies, Tombstone; he says, “look at all the stars. You look up and you think, God made all of this and He remembered to make a little speck like me. It's kind of flattering, really.” It's more than a little flattering... it's downright scandalous. The Big God of Big things... who runs all that Big stuff... so Big we can't even comprehend... cares for us specks. It doesn't make a lick of sense. For example Luke 12:7 tells us that even the hairs of our heads are numbered.  Psalm 139:16 tells us that God knew us before we were formed and wrote down every one of our days. He put together your personality, your humor, your IQ, EQ, ADHD, and IBS. He knit you together and made you alive, a unique, a specific awesome individual! He cares about the Big stuff and the Small stuff! The universe and your hair!

But why? Why does God care about your hair? Why does he care about you intimately and specifically? So he can lead you to walk in the fullness of Joy while at the same time bringing him the most glory possible.  He wants to see your faith work.  This is the story of James. 

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  • Mar 14, 2021James Part 1: Big / Small
    Mar 14, 2021
    James Part 1: Big / Small
    Series: James

    James a servant of God has been impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to share with the church a letter which really speaks to a myriad of issues and themes but at the center of it is this... God is big and we are small and yet God cares about the big and the small. I want you to think about this... the God of the universe who governs all there is; how hot the stars burn, how far the planets travel in orbit, the speed of light, the depth of the oceans, the amount of food needed to feed China today, and the amount of rain needed to grow that food, the same God that governs all of that Big stuff... is the same God who cares about you. To quote Bill Paxton's character in one of my favorite movies, Tombstone; he says, “look at all the stars. You look up and you think, God made all of this and He remembered to make a little speck like me. It's kind of flattering, really.” It's more than a little flattering... it's downright scandalous. The Big God of Big things... who runs all that Big stuff... so Big we can't even comprehend... cares for us specks. It doesn't make a lick of sense. For example Luke 12:7 tells us that even the hairs of our heads are numbered.  Psalm 139:16 tells us that God knew us before we were formed and wrote down every one of our days. He put together your personality, your humor, your IQ, EQ, ADHD, and IBS. He knit you together and made you alive, a unique, a specific awesome individual! He cares about the Big stuff and the Small stuff! The universe and your hair!

    But why? Why does God care about your hair? Why does he care about you intimately and specifically? So he can lead you to walk in the fullness of Joy while at the same time bringing him the most glory possible.  He wants to see your faith work.  This is the story of James. 

  • Mar 7, 2021Resist The Exist 8: Finish Strong
    Mar 7, 2021
    Resist The Exist 8: Finish Strong
    The regret that comes with having given up on the things that matter the most is often a pill too hard to swallow. Yes, it is very easy to quit something that is difficult. And yes, it is hard to continue a course that is painful and punishing. But if that course is for something greater than you or me, something greater than the trivial pursuits of pleasure and prestige... then perhaps they are worth it.
     
    For us as Christians this goes so much further. We know for a fact that there is nothing more important to pursue than the mission of Christ glorified through the salvation of sinful people. If we know that life and death hang in the balance... If we know that eternal life and the supreme glory of our God are on the line, then nothing should be able to stop us; no pain, no agony, no adversary, no obstacle. We simply cannot quit. Why? Simple. Because... nothing will ever be tougher than living with the regret of having given up on Christ.

    Resisting the Exist is not just for today or tomorrow. Resisting the Exist is for the rest of your life until you cross the finish line. We don't know when that day will be do we... but we do know we are not promised our next breath and that we could finish our race any day now. So with that in mind... we should live every single day like it's the final leg, the final stretch and we should finish strong!

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     

  • Feb 28, 2021Resist The Exist 7: Contributors or Consumers
    Feb 28, 2021
    Resist The Exist 7: Contributors or Consumers

    We have a pandemic in the American church today and it's not Covid... it's Consumerism. In existing we've become a people who ask not what we can do for our God or our Church but ask what our God or our Church can do for us. In our apathetic attempt to run out the clock the only thing we've aspired to... the only thing that arouses us out of our religious stupor is when we become the center of attention. When others serve us, when we are entertained, when we are given special preference... then we'll show up. But when we are called upon to serve others, minister on a team, or weather shaky or difficult times... well that doesn't interest us in the slightest. It's unfortunate but the church in America has become a consumer driven industry, where we attempt to produce a quality product to lure new members who fill seats. We've catered to consumers for years and now we shouldn't be surprised when our churches are filled with them.

    We must shift our focus and change our mentality. God doesn't desire a church filled with people waiting to be blessed... he's looking for a church filled with people who are saying, how can I be a blessing.

  • Feb 14, 2021Resist The Exist 5: Persevere
    Feb 14, 2021
    Resist The Exist 5: Persevere

    Our keyword here is Persevere! Hold Fast, Outdo, Remain, and Persevere. Sounds like a very good defense against existing doesn't it. Persevere, means to simply not give up; to be patient in tribulation. It's right there in the text. Throughout the Bible, God constantly calls us to not give up when things get hard. It's kind of like our signature move as believers. We love others genuinely and we have a hope that perseveres through hardship. But of course it's easier said than done. When things get hard... our first response is usually to shelter up and try to survive... to keep existing. We say.. okay I didn't sign up for this so I'm out. But that mentality is not for us... if we are to resist the exist we must persevere.

    So how exactly can we persevere, how can we be patient in tribulation? This morning our verse gives us three ways we can be patient in tribulation and not give up. And what we will see is... If God has never given up on you, how could you ever give up on Him?

  • Feb 7, 2021What We’ve Learned In Our First Year As Stone Creek
    Feb 7, 2021
    What We’ve Learned In Our First Year As Stone Creek
    Series: Stand Alone
    A short devotion going over 7 or more lessons that we've learned our first year as Stone Creek Church.  
  • Jan 31, 2021Resist The Exist Devotional: Restore The Church
    Jan 31, 2021
    Resist The Exist Devotional: Restore The Church
    In Galatians 6:1-9 we see the Christian's responsibility to restore the broken, carry their burdens, and refrain from growing weary.   How are you restoring your brothers and sisters who are struggling with sin?  How are you carrying their burdens as Christ has carried yours?  Don't quit, don't grow weary.  Resist The Exist & Restore the Church! 
  • Jan 24, 2021Resist The Exist 4: Remain Passionate For The Lord
    Jan 24, 2021
    Resist The Exist 4: Remain Passionate For The Lord

    A passion for God is the defining characteristic of a Christian... or at least it should be. Merely existing is the opposite of that. Those who are merely existing have become apathetic, uncaring, mediocre in their faith, and simply lazy. They have given up on what matters the most to simply run out the clock. They have no passion for ministry or for the mission of God. Their fire has all but gone completely out. I see Christians like this all the time. Their hobbies get them excited. Their sports teams get them excited. Their shows get them excited. They are passionate about a great many worldly things, but when it comes to their Lord and Savior... they have very little passion... if any at all. For example, this morning we sang some very powerful songs about our Lord... but many of us probably just sang words rather than feeling the impact of what those words meant. Would anyone look at us singing these songs and say that we are passionate about our God? I'm not judging... I'm just trying to help us realize that it is possible that we have forgotten what a passion for God even looks like anymore. Let's face it church... we, and the rest of the American Church have a serious problem. We claim to be Christians yet we have lost our passion for our God and with it our identity.

  • Jan 17, 2021Resist The Exist 3: Outdo One Another In Love
    Jan 17, 2021
    Resist The Exist 3: Outdo One Another In Love

    The second exhortation God gives us to resist the exist is; outdo one another in love. When we are tempted to merely exist we must change our mentality. When we are tempted to put it in neutral and coast... Jesus tells us to push the clutch back in and put it into gear. And not just first gear... we need to punch it! The Bible has given us the prescription for the disease of mediocrity; excellence. You counter mediocrity with exceptional. You resist the exist by outdoing. And so we must outdo one another in love. Meaning we must love them so greatly, so exceptionally, that they can't categorize our love as anything other than extraordinary. They love you... you love them more. They love you more... you love them even more.

  • Jan 10, 2021Resist The Exist 2: Hold Fast To What Is Good
    Jan 10, 2021
    Resist The Exist 2: Hold Fast To What Is Good

    A key phrase which helps us resist the mentality to simply exist is “hold fast.” Don't slip into mediocrity, instead hold fast to the task at hand. Don't give up on what God has called you to do, instead hold fast to the mission. Don't quit, don't stop, don't get stuck, instead hold fast to the great calling of which you've been called.

    Hold fast is a sailing term where an officer would shout to the men to hold fast to the riggings so the sails don't swing around too hard and kill someone on deck or knock someone overboard. This was never more important than in a storm, where after holding onto the riggings for hours the sailors would be sore, tired, and frustrated. No doubt they would feel the temptation to give up... but they couldn't... the crew depended on it. And so they would hear this phrase of encouragement rally the men to continue to fight. Hold fast... hold fast... hold fast! My prayer is that this phrase would rally us to not give up the fight against sin, and for doing good.

    And the struggle is clear is it not? When times get hard, monotonous, and unexciting it's easy to lose focus on abhorring evil and doing good. When we loose some of the wind in our sails we could be tempted to love sin more and love doing good to people less. There is a common phrase that mom's have used for ages to get their kids off their butts and out of the house; “idle hands are the devil's playground.” Meaning, when you aren't doing something useful the devil will tempt you to do something sinful to fill the time. And over the years I've noticed this to be true. If we live in the mentality of simply existing... if we become idle... it's easy for Satan to nudge open the door and begin to creep into your mind. When you are going forward and focused it's much harder for him to succeed at finding a foothold... but when we are standing still he can get our attention and before we know it we are sinning.

  • Jan 3, 2021Resist The Exist 1: The Tragedy Of Not Really Living
    Jan 3, 2021
    Resist The Exist 1: The Tragedy Of Not Really Living
    In the movie "Braveheart" William Wallace is told by his mates, "you're going to die."  He replies, "all men die, not all men truly live."   There is a greater tragedy than dying.   Many churches and Christians have fallen victim to a mentality of merely existing in this life.  They are surviving instead of thriving.  Their work is mediocre, their attitude towards the mission is apathetic.  And they are merely running out the clock.  They are existing.  The greatest tragedy in this life is not dying... the greatest tragedy is not really living.  Are you really living?  Stop running out the clock... and start living for Christ!