November 9: The Day After

November 9…the day after one of the most contentious, vitriolic presidential election seasons in our recent past (this was my 8th presidential election to vote in). Some of us are rejoicing, some of us are despairing, and many of us are confused as to what direction our nation will pursue. But as we declared time and time again in our God & Politics series: our ultimate hope is not in a president, political party, or platform but in the Risen Lord Jesus and His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. That truth and reality still stands firm on November 9, the day after (and on November 10, two days after…and on November 11, three days after…and on and on). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

As followers of Jesus, I want to encourage and exhort all of us to be agents of hope right now. Over the coming days, weeks, and months, many of us will engage people who are frustrated, angry, and despondent over the results of the presidential election. We have an opportunity to compassionately listen. More importantly, we have an opportunity “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). We have an opportunity to plant seeds of the good news of Jesus that transcends all human politics. Let us not get drawn into the partisan divide. Let us not get drawn into the rhetoric of anger and desperation. Instead, let us be agents of hope. Let us pray that God would have mercy on us as a nation. Let us pray that God would change the lives and hearts of our elected leaders to pursue laws and policies of goodness and justice (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Let us pray that God would empower and embolden followers of Jesus to be agents of hope.

I close with a powerful quote from Jared Wilson’s The Story of Everything:

The importance and fundamental purpose of the church is to keep pointing away from the world for the hope of the world. While everyone else points to government, family, good deeds, and whatever else as The Secret [to life], the church keeps pointing to the alien, heavenly power of grace as the hope for our problems and for our false hopes. Only the good news of Jesus is the answer to everything. And only this good news makes us new and satisfies our longings for connection with God and with our fellow man and for significance in the world.

Go be the Church for our world for such a time as this!

Pastor Jonathan

 

 

D-Day: It’s Just a Matter of Time

Picture was taken at the National Archives and is offered Royalty Free by Historylink101’s World War II Picture Section. Pictures can be found at the D-Day Picture Page.

From John Ortberg’s If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat:

One of the most powerful 30 minutes of film I’ve ever seen is the opening sequence of the movie Saving Private Ryan. Veterans Groups say it’s maybe the most realistic picture ever given of the brutal suffering that those soldiers faced. It’s on D-Day, June 6, 1944. An unbelievable price was paid to gain just a toehold, just a few feet of Omaha Beach in Normandy. And that price was paid in blood.

At the end of D-Day, at the end of that one day, in one sense, nothing had really changed. The vast majority of Europe was still as it had been the day before, under the power of the swastika. Evil reigned through the whole continent. There was only this one little plot of ground, a few feet of sand on an obscure stretch of beach in one lonely country. But that one tiny stretch of land, that one tiny little beach, that was enough.

The truth is, at the end of that one day, everything was changed because now there was an opening, just a crack—a tiny little crack at first. But it would get a little larger the next day, and a little larger the day after that, and a little larger the week after that. And the forces would get stronger every day.

There still was a lot of fighting to do and a lot of suffering and a lot of dying. But from that day on it was just a matter of time. Then the day came when Paris was liberated. And then the day came when all of France was liberated. Then the days came when the concentration camps were overrun and prisoners were set free. Then the day came when Hitler destroyed himself in the bunker. And judgment came to that particular beast as it always does, as it always will. And then came V-E Day, victory. And then victory in the Pacific and the soldiers could come home. The war was over. The enemy was defeated. But really, the truth was that victory was all sealed on D-Day. It just took a while. The battle raged for a season. But after D-Day, victory on V-E Day was just a matter of time.

The Apostle John says this earth has fallen under a dark power. And then one day a woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who was destined to rule all the nations. He taught about and lived in a kingdom. He lived a kind of life that the rest of us had always dreamed of, but hardly dared hope for. Then one day, at a cost that none of us will ever fully understand, He took upon himself, on the cross, all the brokenness, all the suffering of D-Day, and all the suffering and all the sin and pain of every other day in the history of the human race since the Fall.

After the Sabbath day, before Jesus’ friends went to care for his body, the stone was moved. In one sense, nothing had changed. Pilate and the chief priests were still in charge. Caesar still reigned in Rome and didn’t even know the name of this obscure Messiah in some remote country. Nobody knew at first except a couple of women, but that was D-Day. Now there was an opening in this fallen world. Tiny at first—no bigger than the entrance of an empty tomb.

But now there was an opening, and the truth is, friends, every time you resist sin, every time you proclaim the Gospel, every time you give a portion of your resources for the spread of the kingdom, every time you offer a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name to the poor, that opening gets a little larger, and the darkness gets pushed back a little more, and the light gets a little stronger.

That’s why we exist as a church. That’s why we are called to struggle and pray and work and suffer and labor because one day liberation will come, make no mistake. There will be a lot of fighting and a lot of suffering and a lot of dying, but D-Day already happened when hardly anybody was looking. And at the end of that one day, everything had changed, and now it’s just a matter of time.

Rooted & Growing

This past Sunday, we launched our new Rooted series with “Rooted in God’s Story.” We talked about different stages of growth and what we can do to continue to grow and get more deeply rooted together in Jesus. Here are the different stages and what you can do to grow:

SEED: As a seed, you are exploring who Jesus Christ is. You have not made a commitment to follow Him, but you are curious. I would encourage you to read this article: “Got Eternal Life?” It will help you understand more fully who Jesus is, how your sin can be forgiven, and how you can have abundant life now and eternal life forever. If you have made a decision to follow Jesus, I would highly encourage you to get baptized

SPROUT: You have become a follower of Jesus. Your roots of faith, trust, and obedience are growing. I would encourage you to explore a tool called “The Commands of Christ.” It will help you understand the basics of what Jesus is calling you to, how you can live out your faith, and how you can begin to Jesus them with others.

SEEDLING: You are continuing to grow. You have withstood a few storms. You are getting more experienced in studying and applying God’s word. You are growing in a more regular prayer life. You are connecting more deeply with other followers of Jesus. During this Rooted series, I would encourage you to read through and study the book of Colossians. You can see the series schedule HERE. I would also encourage you to download and read these study notes on the book of Colossians.

MULTIPLYING. You are a mature follower of Jesus and you are multiplying to gospel into other peoples’ lives. You have weathered many storms, and you can’t help but share God’s goodness and faithfulness with those around you who don’t yet know Jesus. Here is a resource I would highly recommend: Steve Addison’s What Jesus Started. It will help you continue to live out God’s mission through your life for the world around you. It will help you take personal responsibility for the spiritual lostness of the people God has placed around you. When Jesus opens the door for you to share His story, here’s an effective way to present the gospel: 3 Circles.

Lastly, here are some recommended study resources for the book of Colossians:

Dr. Tom Constable’s Study Notes on Colossians

Warren Wiersbe’s Be Complete

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Keep growing and going!

Rooted

In the Pacific Northwest, we love our trees—tall and green. Underneath the surface of the ground is a deep network of roots that allows the tree to live tall and green. Scientists tell us that up to 70% of a tree’s energy may go into what goes on below ground. That strong root system also helps those trees weather the storms.

As we study Paul’s letter to the Colossians, our roots will grow deeper into the good news of who Jesus is, what He’s done for us, and how we live as a result. Our roots will grow deeper into the calling of God’s mission upon our lives for the world around us… and we’ll do this growing together. Because being rooted and grounded in Jesus together allows us to stand firm and live tall in the storms of life!

Here’s the series schedule:

May 1 – Rooted in God’s Story (Colossians 1:1-23)

May 8 – Rooted in God’s Call (Colossians 1:24-2:5)

May 15 – Rooted in Real Faith (Colossians 2:6-23)

May 22 – Rooted in Integrity (Colossians 3:1-11)

May 29 – Rooted In Relationships, Part 1 (Colossians 3:12-21)

June 5 – Rooted in Relationships, Part 2 (Colossians 3:22-4:1)

June 12 – Rooted in Mission (Colossians 4:1-6)

June 19 – Rooted Together (Colossians 4:7-18)

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.

Join us at Sundays at 8, 9:30, and 11 am (Children’s Ministry available at the 9:30 & 11 am gatherings).

New Series: Viral

When something goes “viral,” it spreads contagiously by circulating from person to person until it takes on a life of its own—whether it’s a microscopic pathogen, a YouTube video, or a revolutionary idea. The message of Jesus went viral, growing from 1 to 33.8 million followers in a little over three hundred years. The Apostle Paul was a significant agent in the viral spread of this revolutionary message of love and hope as he multiplied followers of Jesus, leaders, churches, and church planting movements. In our new series Viral, we’ll explore six foundational principles from Acts 13-28 and discover how the message, mission, and movement Jesus goes viral.

Here’s the schedule for the series:

February 14 – Viral Principle #1: Passion

February 21 – Viral Principle #2: Obedience

February 28 – Viral Principle #3: Intentional (Special Guest Speaker – Nate Hettinga)

March 6 – Viral Principle #4: Relevance

March 13 – Viral Principle #5: Multiplication

March 20 – Viral Principle #6: Sacrifice

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.

Join us at Sundays at 8, 9:30, and 11 am (Children’s Ministry available at the 9:30 & 11 am gatherings).

Summer Series: Respectable Sins

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We’ve become so preoccupied with some of the “major sins” of the culture around us that we’ve lost sight of dealing with some of the more subtle sins we tolerate in our lives. We all fall short and sin, but we are all offered hope and a fresh start through the good news of Jesus. This hope and fresh start offered through Jesus is only for sinners who recognize their need for it. This summer as we explore the subtle sins we’ve come to tolerate in our own lives, let us instead pursue a Spirit-empowered holiness so we can live the lives Jesus created us to live.

Here’s the schedule for the series:

June 28 – Respectable Sins

July 5 – Selfishness

July 12 – Sins of the Tongue

July 19 – Pride

July 26 – Anger

August 2 – Laziness

August 9 – Ingratitude

August 16 – Worry

August 23 – Community SERVE Day

August 30 – Gluttony

September 6 – Pursuing Holiness

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.

Join us at 8, 9:30, and 11 am (Children’s Ministry available at the 9:30 & 11 am gatherings).

 

Mind the Gap

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbersden.” (Luke 19:45-46)

In this famous scene, after Jesus’ triumphal entry as the Coming King into Jerusalem, He cleanses the temple. In his commentary on the Gospel of Luke, Dr. Darrell Bock writes, “His cleansing of the temple indicates how great the gap is between the worship Jesus calls for and what goes on in the temple.”

There’s a gap between what God calls for and how His people are worshiping Him and living. As I read Bock’s words, I asked myself, “What are my gaps in worship?” If true worship is a lifestyle (Romans 12:1-2), what are the things in my life that reveal a gap between what I say I believe about God and how I actually live my life? So often we live like practical atheists, and God in His love and grace wants to help us close the gaps.

Luke includes this story in his Gospel to show how Jesus came to upset and then right everything, and that upsetting and righting includes my life and yours. So mind the gap and pray for His grace and wisdom to live the life that is truly life.

New Series: Prodigal God

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One of the best known of Jesus’ parables is the “Prodigal Son.” This touching story of a rebellious son, his judgmental older brother and their grace-giving father has inspired people for centuries. But the traditional title may not be entirely correct. Prodigal does not mean “wayward.” It means, “spend until you have nothing left.” To be prodigal is to be recklessly extravagant. While the youngest son squanders his inheritance, it is the father who pours out reckless, extravagant grace to both his sons. In this series we’ll encounter a heavenly Father who offers this same kind of reckless grace to all who ask, from the most rebellious to the most self-righteous. And along the way we’ll discover His reckless grace and love is the key to experiencing the life we were made to live.

Here’s the schedule for the series:

April 5 (Easter) – Prodigal God

April 12 – The Younger Brother

April 19 – The Older Brother

April 26 – The Father

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.

Join us at 8, 9:30, and 11 am (Children’s Ministry available at the 9:30 & 11 am services).

New Series: Movement

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The world has never seen anything like “the” movement called the Church. People want to be a part of something bigger and something greater than themselves. The book of Acts tells the story of a group of first-century, rag-tag followers of the Risen Christ who became the movement that would change the world. It’s God’s movement because He is a God on the move. The movement of the Holy Spirit throughout the centuries, the movement of the good news of Jesus—and He invites us to get on the move with Him. Come be a part of the most important, life-transforming, world-changing MOVEMENT in history. Here’s the series schedule:

Feb 8 | Launching a Movement (Acts 1:1-14)

Feb 15 | Ingredients of a Movement (Acts 2:1-47)

Feb 22 | Threats to a Movement, Part 1 (Acts 4:1-22)

Mar 1 | Threats to a Movement, Part 2 (Acts 5:1-11)

Mar 8 | Global Movements (Acts 8:26-40)

Mar 15 | Movement Heroes: Peter (Acts 10)

Mar 22 | Movement Heroes: Stephen (Acts 6-7)

Mar 29 | Movement Heroes: Paul (Acts 8-9, 13)

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.

Join us at 8, 9:30, and 11 am (Children’s Ministry available at the 9:30 & 11 am services).

New Series: Giving 101

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“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” If you asked most people, they would agree with this statement—in principle more than in lifestyle. But there are a lot of questions when it comes to giving and generosity. Who are we giving to? How much should we give? What are we giving for? This new series Giving 101 will help answer some of these questions as we explore the basics of generosity and why it’s so important in the life of a follower of Jesus. Join us in the month of November as we learn to excel in the “grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7)

Here’s the series schedule:

November 16 – Lesson One: Who To?

November 23 – Lesson Two: How To?

November 30 – Lesson Three: What For?

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday worship gatherings, click HERE.