Last week, we celebrated moms! We want to say thank you mamas for all you do for us, your children and families. For nurturing the prayer warrior spirit that God has instilled upon you. For loving unconditionally. For your self sacrifice. For not giving up when times get difficult. And for being a rock for so many around you. We notice and honor you, not just on Mothers Day but every day.
We love you and pray blessings upon you and your families!
We look forward to another Sunday encouraging yours and your family’s spirits so bring the whole crew! See you Sunday at 10:15 am!
Last Sunday, we dug into the Word and what it takes to go ahead in God.
Are you ready to take on what’s ahead? It’s about the work that is takes to move you through a tough process of sanctification. When we say yes to Jesus, it’s about putting your hand on the plow and not looking back. Just think about that for a moments...
“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
A plow signifies work. It’s a tool to use in order to break ground (which many times is the opposition). It signifies a process that takes sweat, blood, and tears. The problem is convincing people that what they are leaving behind is actually worst than the work that is ahead.
Sometimes we think, Why is this fight so tough? And we may wonder away, only to find out it was a trap of the enemy of my soul...to make me think that I’m missing out. To pursue things other than God and think it will easier. Working out is the same, it’s work but you will reap benefits if you press ahead. The devil is always about temporary joy and God is always about eternal joy.
You battle will always be about choosing between the temporary vs. the eternal joy.
It’s easy to get stuck in the temporal.
Life is hard. It’s a battle. It feels like we are constantly fighting something.
If it’s not our emotions, its our feelings. If its not our feelings, its fear. If it’s not fear, it inferiority. If it’s not inferiority, its past hurts. If it’s not past hurts, its unforgiveness. If it’s not unforgiveness, it’s infidelity. If it’s not infidelity, it’s losing somebody you loved. If it’s not that, it’s unhappiness. And all of it affects you and people around you.
We need to stop and see the process that God is making us fit for battle. He is saying, you aren’t fighting alone, I am here!
In Ephesians 6:10-20, it shows you that Paul understands the fight. All of Paul’s ministry has been about fighting, either in the natural or in the supernatural.
Today, we deal with the same issues.
We have to deal with paganism. We have an idol problem. Sex. Money. Fame.
We have to deal with Societal issues & persecution.
Everyone can believe in their God, except Christians. Injustice. everywhere. inequality. poverty all around us.
We have to deal with the religious spirit inside the church. People who believe in a conditional grace.
Paul was preparing the church and talking to them about unity.
Unity is the physical manifestation of spiritual growth. Every area of disunity comes from us allowing the devil to win and separate that which God is trying to unite.
Because the truth is that it’s possible to know religion, and not exercise relationship. You may know of God, but you haven’t had the love of him, because loving God means loving people. Your vertical relationship must match your horizontal ones or you don’t know the grace of the cross.
The book of Ephesians speaks more in the area of unity and how that is a spiritual issue, than any other book Paul wrote. Because all these factions come from the devils desire to disunite, separate, harass, that which can defeat him.
Paul was basically saying this... Your fight is not against each other. It’s against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places and you need to put on the full armor of God. (See Ephesians 6:10–20 (NLT))
Our greatest battles, sometimes is not in the world, or at church, or at work... Our greatest battle is in the family. How we parent, how we treat our spouses, how we live our lives in the four walls of our home. How we lead our families. Paul speaks about how important the family structure is and then goes in with:
Be strong in the Lord... Why? Because you are gonna have to be. Put on the full armor... Why? because the fight is going to be real.
Key Thought: If the devil is relentless in his fight against us, we must to be relentless with our spiritual priorities
How does Paul tell the early church to do this?
One, Be strong in the Lord. How? Ephesians 1:21 “Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come.”
And Two, he tells them is to suit up! To put on the full amor of God.
To suit up is to prepare for the fight ahead.
Why do we, as Christians, continue to insist that we don’t need tools to fight the enemy ahead of us.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin
What happens if we stand firm in the Lord and put on the full armor of God?
You went from a defeated man or woman, to being a warrior! Disunity is a fight. It a bitter fight. But you go from being a soldier to gaining ground with an army.
When we seek unity in Christ. We are unstoppable. When a marriage seeks unity in Christ, that marriage is a direct threat to the enemy. When the church unites with one another against the enemy, it becomes unstoppable. And no weapons formed against us will prosper!! Notice that God never said that no weapons wouldn’t form, He said they wouldn’t prosper.
Don’t put the hand on the plow and look back. If you are going to follow Jesus. Be in awe of His power, His might, His glory, and his greatness. And when you make God great, the devil and his army all the sudden will shrink in the midst of God’s greatness.
When God created and call you, he called you to be warrior. Rise up in your authority and let Satan know that you are armed and anointedas you are in the armyof God.
You have the DNA of God in you as you were created in his image and likeness. He made you to overcome the trials of life. You are Very Powerful. Because when you know who you are in Christ, Satan sees God in you and He trembles. So rise up! Stop believing the devil’s lies. You are not a loser, you are a son and daughter of the most high. You are the head and not the tail. You are a mighty warrior. There’s power in you through the spirit of God. And you don’t stand alone. You stand in the shadow and refuge of the most high!
Join us tomorrow was we continue with Suit Up Series! Invite some friends, and bring a neighbor...you won’t want to miss this!
“There's a battle that wages against our minds, hearts, soul, relationships, and more. These battles aren't meant to be fought alone, nor without the proper tools. God will equip us with His amour and, more importantly, with His power, so we can be fit for battle.”
Ephesians 6:10-20 👊🏼
CITATION & REFERENCES
Excerpt(s) from COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE: SEVEN KEYS TO IRRESISTIBLE COMMUNICATION by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones, copyright © 2006 by Andy Stanley and Ronald Lane Jones. Used by permission of WaterBrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Ephesians 3:16, 20
Here we are, 3 years of incredible service to our Lord Jesus Christ, and we are going for more!
Here are 3 things I’ve learned in this journey:
Three years ago, this time, we were in the middle of planning out our launch for Urban Poiema Church, which, in my estimation, was a successful launch! We brought a special guest, we gave out goodies, and even got to do a balloon send off to represent UP church’s soaring beginning. However, the launch was just the tip of the iceberg for us. After our launch, we quickly realized that many would come to an event, but not too many would join a new community.
This was tough for me because I knew that we had worked really hard to get to a place where we can do something unconventional and new. And in the years to come I learned a few lessons. Here are three:
Ministry (church planting) is built on a platform of trust, and not of religious platitudes.
Influence in a community, church, or ministry is not something that is built over night. It takes time and actual work. In this culture we live in today, not too many people are willing to just look at you, or your body of work (ministry), and be so impressed that they will trust you. Or even look at you with any type of respect.
When I started UP Church, I had over 15 years of pastoral leadership. And it didn’t mean squat to the people we were trying to reach. Most of the leadership trust I earned (and continue to earn), was received through countless hours of sharing with people. Sharing a meal, coffee, a walk or even a frozen yogurt. These things have gotten me further in the area of influence and trust, than any particular sermon I have preached before. Which leads me to my next point…
The impetus of a ministry is found in how much one cares.
Anthony J. D’Angelo (don’t know who he is, got this off of google), once said: “Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”
Though I don’t know Anthony, he is absolutely right. This is hard, though. Caring leads to sleepless nights. It leads to wanting to do your best and wanting people to understand you so there can be a cohesive vision. It leads to countless disappointments when others seem not to care as much.
However, when someone does care, that is a direct result of a community that was built on compassion and love. It’s having this attitude: “ I make sacrifices because I care.” “I give of my talents, treasures, and time, because I care.” “I put myself in a position to take the strain of ministry, because I care for those I’m trying to provide a stress-free environment for worship and community.”
This type of caring is not easy, and not everyone is up to it, but it is what creates genuine community and genuine people. I have learned a whole deal about what it means to care. It’s actually a sacrifice, not a feeling. A sacrifice that pays off huge dividends when people begin to strip their selfishness and begin to act out as Jesus did; with sacrificial love. Caring is both a burden and a blessing, and even though it won’t always transform others who are used to the dysfunction of conditional, or (what I call) religious love, it will always transform you!
Trusting God and caring for one another creates passionate servant leaders.
What I have loved the most in the last three years of church planting and church ministry, is the fact that I have been able to see some people who didn’t know they were leaders, lead. They have evolved from a self-centered capacity of leadership, to a selfless capacity in leadership. These things are neither easy to discover, nor teach. For it is accompanied by a transformation of heart that only Jesus can orchestrate. It’s the ability to trust God and truly care for the whole team/community that brings down our obstinance to always seek what is profitable to oneself only.
At UP Church I have not only seen a wonderful ministry rise, but I have seen new, servant-leaders emerge with a heart for God and people that exceeded my expectations.
From the early times when it was just me and a few others, to when we dared to start a church in a bar, to then going into a warehouse that was later condemned by the city, to taking all of our stuff to a borrowed church, to then, by the grace of God, acquire our own space. All these experiences were stepping stones towards not just a church that celebrates Jesus every week, but a church that is preparing the next leaders who will take this gospel of hope, to greater depths and heights we haven’t seen before!
For that, I’m grateful! I’m excited for the days ahead.
This past Sunday I got to see that caring, selfless, and serving church in action. When we all came together to celebrate 3 years, we were showered with tons of gifts and very selfless, and encouraging words towards our family. We are thankful for your gifts, your encouragement, and your caring attitude that has developed a wonderful ministry that welcomes people, unashamedly, from every walk of life, with the sole purpose of offering the hope of Jesus Christ to them. I can’t wait to see where that caring, selfless, gracious-leadership attitude will take us!
Love you all! Keep growing and let’s go for more.
In His Grip,
Pastor Juan Garay
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