Marriage by Design – Week 3

marriage by design

If there is an area in which our culture has messed up God’s design for marriage, it would have to do with the permanency of marriage. And we have suffered because of it. Emotional pain, Insecurity of children and lower financial status are just a few of the byproducts of divorce.

Marriage was designed by God to be a permanent relationship. According to Jesus, it is God who does the joining of a husband and wife. “What God has joined together…” (Mark 10:9a). While the bride and groom have a significant role in the marriage ceremony, evidently God is the main player. Jesus goes on and says, “…let no one separate” (Mark 10:9b). In other words, don’t try to un-one what God has made one. A marriage begins when God joins two people together. A marriage survives when two people refuse to give up. Let’s recommit to building strong covenantal marriages where the good of the relationship takes precedence over the immediate needs of the individual.

If you missed the message last weekend from our series, Marriage by Design, you can view it below or at cedarridgecc.com.

Marriage by Design – Week 2

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife…” (Genesis 2:24). It’s the “leave and cleave” principle (from the KJV). It means that when two people get married there is to be a shift in family loyalty from the family-of-origin to our new immediate family. But the principle extends far beyond just the family in which we grew up. I stated it this way last weekend in the message: Marriage was designed in a way that your spouse would be your principle earthly relationship. When you marry your spouse, that relationship must supersede all others. Your spouse must become the number one priority in your life. Your spouse is to be the primary person in your life; more important than anything else. No other human being should get more of your love, energy, industry and commitment than your spouse.

If you missed the message last weekend from our series, Marriage by Design, you can view it here or at cedarridgecc.com.

Our Story Final

Our Story blog

We concluded our series on the book of Acts we called, Our Story, this past Sunday by attempting to fill in some of the gap between Acts chapter 28 and the church today. With almost two thousand years separating us, it can seem like a huge disconnect. But rest assured there have been faithful followers who have been passing on the torch of faith. We told stories of some of those “in-between” people on Sunday and had it not been for them, we might not be believers today. If you could somehow trace your spiritual lineage, it’s possible that one of the people we talked about would show up in your spiritual family tree.

Of course, the name itself, Our Story, requires some ownership. You’re a part of the church of Jesus Christ because of a line of people who have continued to share the gospel with others. Will you show up in the spiritual lineage of followers to come. Or does the story stop with you?

If you missed last weekend’s message from Our Story, you can watch it here.

Our Story Week 18

Our Story blog

Disciples take every opportunity to share their story. That’s what Paul did according to Acts 22. A rioting mob in Jerusalem wanted to kill the Apostle. After being rescued by Romans soldiers with impeccable timing, Paul requested to speak to the crowd. He stepped up on a make-shift platform and proceeded to tell his story; his testimony of how life had changed since he had come to faith in Jesus.

That’s just what disciples do. They take every opportunity to share their story. Your story is unique. it’s not better than anyone else’s. Nor is someone else’s better than yours. it’s your unique story of the transformation you’ve experienced since following Jesus. Your story is needed. There is someone like you or like you used to be and your story is just what they need to hear. Because of that your story is powerful. It can change someone’s eternal destiny. But your story has to be shared. It’s not enough to live out the gospel. As important as that is, to make the gospel known, at some point we have to use words.

So let me ask you – have you shared your story recently? Have you ever shared your story? Last Sunday, I asked you to, sometime this week, write out your story and then pray for an opportunity to share it. That is the kind of prayer God loves to answer. Let me know what happens.

If you missed last weekend’s message from Our Story, you can watch it or share it here.

Our Story Week 15

Our Story blog

The early church wasn’t afraid to engage the culture around it even when that culture was unfriendly to its biblical worldview. In fact, unfriendly turned hostile was more the norm in the first century. Athens was a junkyard of pagan idols. Sexual immorality in the Roman world would make Las Vegas blush. Thought this licentious climate “greatly distressed” the Apostle Paul, he wasn’t afraid to engage that culture. He “reasoned” with them, using their language and quoting their poets. Paul built bridges to infiltrate the culture around him.

Unfortunately too many Christians are more interested in building forts to protect themselves and their values from the culture around them. The problem with that is that God’s plan for redeeming the evils of our world are His people contaminating it with the good news of a kingdom not of this world. Being a follower of Jesus isn’t about extracting ourselves from the culture for the sakes of our values. It’s about engaging the culture for the sake of bringing our values into it.

So, are you going to build a fort? Or are you going to build a bridge?

If you missed this message out of Acts 17 from Our Story, you can watch it here or at cedarridgecc.com.

Our Story Week 14

Our Story blog

Disciples are known for giving up something they personally value for something of God they value more. That was certainly the case for Paul and Silas in Acts 16. Though they had been miraculously freed from their prison cell, they chose not to escape. They voluntarily relinquished their freedom for something they valued more. Though they were Roman citizens guaranteed due process, they deliberately withheld that information and took a beating (and subsequent imprisonment). They relinquished their comfort and rights for something they valued more. What was it that they valued more than their personal comfort and individual liberty? Being obedient to Jesus by being his witnesses. They sacrificed greatly for the privilege of sharing the good news with someone who desperately need to hear it; the very same person who was holding them captive. That Philippian jailer would go on to believe in Jesus and he and his entire house would be baptized!

Wealthy businessman and renowned athlete turned missionary C.T. Studd said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” Paul and Silas would echo that. C.T. Studd is also known for this quote which really describes his heart, “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.” It’s no surprise that C.T. Studd died on the African mission field known for his sacrifice. Disciples are known for giving up something they personally value for something of God they value more. What are you known for?

If you missed this message out of Acts 16 from Our Story, you can watch it here or at cedarridgecc.com.

Easter Sunday

What ignited the early church was not the miracles of Jesus, or the teachings of Jesus, or even the righteousness of Jesus. It was his resurrection. They were fueled by what they had witnessed – a resurrected Lord. And so that became the central message of the early church. Peter spoke it to a crowd at Pentecost, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it” (Acts 2:32). And it’s that very message that distinguishes the church from every other religious movement in the world. Like every other spiritual leader, Jesus died and was buried. But unlike the others, Jesus was not contained to the grave. He conquered death as a confirmation that he is the Son of God and that he is able to forgive the sins of those who believe in him.

So, what do you believe about the resurrection of Jesus? With the factual information we have, believing in the resurrection is not an extraordinary leap. The more difficult question is – has the resurrection moved you to action? The bible tells us that even the demons believe. In other words, intellectual assent is not enough. Movement is required. It’s not enough to hear the story of the resurrection and give it a polite golf clap. Sincere belief in the resurrection necessitates action.

Don’t let this Easter pass by as just another excuse for a family dinner and a new outfit. Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, make sure the resurrection has propelled you into taking action.

Don’t know where to start? It’s not too late to come work right alongside of us at Sunset Bible Camp this Saturday. Call the church office for details. Let the resurrection move you!

If you missed the message from Easter, you can watch it here or at cedarridgecc.com.

Our Story Week 12

Our Story blog

We focused on one simple message from Our Story last weekend: Don’t doing anything in the church that makes it unnecessarily difficult for people who are turning to God. It’s just as important today as it was for the 1st century church when James made this statement, “we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19). And unfortunately, it can be just as hard.

Is it possible that there are things you personally do that could make it hard for someone to turn to God? That’s a great filter to install for the words I use in conversation, the things I post online, and the attitudes I demonstrate with those around me. As disciples of Jesus, we can’t afford to make it hard for people to find God or come to church.

If you missed the message from last week, you can watch it in its entirety here or at cedarridgecc.com.

Our Story Week 11

Our Story blog

You can’t accept the message of Jesus without accepting the mission of Jesus! That was the point of last weekend’s message from Acts 13-14. Sent out by the church in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas took the first mission trip recorded in Our Story (the New Testament book of Acts). And talk about commitment to the mission. Nearly stoned to death. Run out of town. Not only did they keep sharing the gospel. They went back to the very towns where they were most unwelcome.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” Being a missionary doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to a faraway place to make disciples. It simply means you are on the mission to make disciples wherever you go. That’s what Jesus expects of every one of his disciples, to be a disciple-maker. Our excuse is often that we don’t know enough or aren’t mature enough. But could it be that it’s in the very process of doing what Jesus told us to do (make disciples), that we ourselves become better, stronger disciples? Are you a missionary or an imposter?

If you missed this message from last week, you can watch it at here:

Our Story Week 10

Our Story blog

The church is an unstoppable force. It can’t be thwarted by the opposition. It can’t be bungled by its members. Though it has been threatened, persecuted and maligned, it has thrived for over 2,000 years. The story in Acts 12 reminds us that the death of a apostolic leader can’t stop the church. The imprisonment of its primary spokesman can’t stop the church. Not even the strategic opposition of an evil ruler can stop the church. The church is an unstoppable force. It should come as no surprise to us. Jesus told his disciples, “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

While that may not be anything new to you, maybe what we needed to be reminded of from Our Story is that the church is an unstoppable force, even when it doesn’t feel like it. As Acts 12 opened, James was dead, Peter was in prison, and Herod was gaining popularity. By the end of the chapter, Herod was dead, Peter was free, and the church was gaining in power. Things are not always as they appear to be. Many times throughout history, the future of the church looked bleak; bibles burned, church buildings ransacked, Christians tortured and killed. Unfortunately, many of those same things are happening right now in places around the world. But the truth is, no matter what opposition is thrown in its path, when the church of Jesus Christ is what it’s intended to be, it is an unstoppable force.

I’m glad to be on the winning team!

If you missed this message from last week, you can watch it here or at https://youtu.be/p3cboE4mfs4.

If you’re interested in learning more about present day persecution of the church, check out Open Doors or The Voice of the Martyrs.

The video, “Susan from Uganda” that was shown last Sunday is here or at https://youtu.be/R27pSpWgmBE.

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