Road Trip Sermon Notes

It has been a few months since I last posted “Sermon Notes”. Truthfully, an entire teaching series on the Beatitudes went by without me getting any of them up here to the blog. I can’t say that I will get them up here every week, but I thought I would get you all caught up on the most recent teaching series at Journey Church. Sadly we will miss next week and 2 other weeks of this series while we are (ironically enough) on Road Trips to Half Marathons. Here is a taste of the first 2 weeks of the series:

Week #1 – Road Trip Preparation

1. There is no such thing as a perfect family

2. Choices we make today will have generational consequences

3. Every family is fixable

Week #2 – Rules of the Road (Ephesians 4:24-32)

Rule #1 – Keep it honest (vs. 25)

Rule #2 – Keep it under control (vs. 26, 27)

Rule #3 – Keep it constructive (vs. 28)

Rule #4 – Keep it respectful and wholesome (vs. 29)

Rule #5 – Keep it cleared up (vs. 31-32)

Two Questions

1. Who are you fighting with in your family?

2. How would the relationship change if you applied these rules for the road?

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God Had Other Plans

I hate the treadmill. I really do. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but the nearly 2 feet of snow outside make it pretty difficult to train anywhere else. With a half marathon looming a week from Sunday, I have to get the miles in somewhere. My plans tonight were to get in a quick 4 miles, type a recap of our January half marathon in Phoenix and call it an evening. God had other plans.

I love when He does that….

Our Pastor recently started a series on the Beatitudes. With house church looming tomorrow night, I have been thinking all day how I could tie in Sunday’s sermon on Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. I wasn’t really able to come up with anything today so I figured I would try again tomorrow. I had a pretty good feeling for what Jesus meant when he said that from my study of the Beatitudes a few years ago. I figured I could always pull something from there. God had other plans.

I hit the treadmill at a nice easy pace.  I put my iPod on Shuffle which is rare for me. I’m such a control freak when it comes to pace and music that I always use one of my pre-arranged playlists. Tonight I figured I would go with whatever played. As I went along, I began to pick up my pace. By the end I was running with the treadmill on the number 8 and completely empty. I pushed for a 5th mile and was nearing that mark when it happened. The song “How He Loves Us” by David Crowder came through the ear buds. God had other plans.

As I stood there completely empty of energy, sweating like crazy, God finally had my attention. The words to the song on my iPod echoed through my mind and directly to my heart. It began to all take shape. He was giving me a vision of being “poor in spirit”. He was removing all of the distractions from my day, my thoughts, my emotions to bring me to a point where I could think of nothing else.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Note after note, lyric after lyric I was reminded of my desperate need for Jesus. While I gasp for air, I was overcome with the emotion of a love for me that continues even when He knows me. He knows my faults, my failures, my weakness and my battle with self. Yet He loves. I thought of the pain I get in my chest when I think how much I love my wife and children.

He loves more.

Being poor in spirit is understanding this desperate need all of the time. Not just after a hard run. Not after being pulled from all of the distractions.

Not after God made other plans.

* You can hear David Crowder’s “How He Loves” HERE

Sermon Notes – As Expected

This week continued the sermon series based on the film “It’s a Wonderful Life” as we looked at the question “Does Life Always Turn Out As Expected”. It is so funny how this happens. I could have just waited a few days on the post I did last week about “What Might Have Been” and used that for my personal application to this sermon notes. I sat listening to the sermon and thinking how just 24 hours earlier we were back in Charlotte, North Carolina where life very well may have “turned out as expected”. You all know the story by now so here are this weeks “Sermon Notes”.

Similarities between Joseph and George Bailey

-Both Married to a “Mary”

-Both from a small town (John 1:45-46) (Matt 1:23)

-Both had dreams (Matt 1:17) (Luke 1:30-33)

-Both visited by angels

-Both had a wonderful life

-Offered to Jesus the right ancestry (Isaiah 9:6-7)

-Provided protection for Jesus as an Infant

-Provided spiritual instruction (Luke 2:21-24) (Luke 2:49-50)

-Supported for Jesus Mother (Matt 1:25)

When Dreams Don’t Happen

1. Maintain a heart of mercy (Matt 1:19)

2. Be open to hear a word from God

3. Obey completely and unquestionably (Matt 1:34)

4. Remember that everything has a purpose (Matt 1:21)

Personal Application:

As I said, it seemed so odd to me that just 24 hours prior to hearing this sermon, Heather and I were back in Charlotte. It was just 15 months ago that we were “this close” to moving our family there. We were chasing what we believed was a God given dream. Yet visiting there this past weekend only confirmed to me that we made the right decision in not going through with that move. It was a time of disappointment and maybe even some frustration with not knowing what God was up to. Yet knowing what I know now, I am so thankful that we are where we are today. I’m so much more appreciative. God has been so good and patient with this servant. I am humbled by his grace and willingness to allow us to sort things out. I also wonder if the “sorting it out” is what refines our faith. It’s no secret I love Charlotte, North Carolina. However God had other plans and they were, remarkably, even better.

Same is true for the events in Bethlehem that night so long ago….