Chris continued speaking on belonging in the wired series. He opened by sharing some statistics about relationships and belonging. Both science and the Bible agree that you need relationships, and you need to feel like you belong. He then shared that the enemy of belonging is shame. Chris dove into an in-depth exploration of Genesis 2 and 3. In Genesis 2, the focus is on the harmony of relationships and the belonging that existed before the fall when everything was as God created it to be. Chapter 3 is about how those relationships were corrupted by sin. Chris shared in Genesis 2 that there was a stable relationship between all things. Man, and Earth shared a relationship where man cultivated the Earth and it produced food, as is highlighted in their Hebrew names, ha’adam (man) ha’adamah (ground).
In a similar way man shared a strong relationship with woman. Woman was created from man’s side so that she was neither above nor below man. She was created to be man’s partner, his equal. After the fall, these relationships became broken and corrupted. Humanity would struggle to grow and cultivate the earth, and the earth would yield its fruit unwillingly. Man and woman’s relationship was also corrupted, as man would seek to dominate woman. Relationships were supposed to be whole and healthy but instead those relationships were broken. Chris ended his message in John 14. Jesus shares that he is going to prepare a room in the Father’s house. Jesus is saying that he is restoring our relationships, and in the end we will live together as a restored and whole family.
Continuing with the Wired sermon series, Pastor Sally taught on how God has wired us for purpose. The central ques- tion of Pastor Sally’s message was this: Are we only living as people who are saved, or have we taken up the challenge to live a life on mission for God? Sally started her message by sharing about a dream she had 8 years ago. In this dream she saw a red Bible laying on a white table and the it then began to float. A gust of wind rushed into the room and caused the pages of the Bible to flip open. When she looked to see what page the Bible had opened to, it shone with a bright light. At that point Sally wake up.
This dream marked a milestone in Sally’s journey with Jesus and over the years God has slowly showed her what the dream meant. The dream was a wakeup call—to her and now to us—to realize who are we in Christ and what our re- sponsibility is as image-bearers of the King. The big question for Sally’s message was: what is our purpose?
Purpose, the world will tell you, comes from within ourselves. But, what if you cannot trust what is within you? We know from Scripture that “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9). The wrong place to look for purpose is within ourselves. Instead, we need an outside source to reveal our purpose. That outside source is God. “Our purposes,” Pastor Sally stated, “begins with God: we are created by God (in his image) and for God (for relationship with God and others).” Not only that, but we are also created for ministry and mission.
Pastor Sally drew a distinction between ministry and mission. Ministry is your service to believers (within the church) and mission is your service to unbelievers (those outside the church). As join God in the ministry and mission to which he has called us, it’s important to recognize that this is a team effort. The body of Christ is diverse and God has given each of us unique gifts and assignments. To help us discern our gifts, Pastor Sally gave us the image of discerning our SHAPE: Our Spiritual Gifts, Heart (Passions), Abilities, Personality, Experiences. Our individual SHAPE is an integral member of the large body of Christ, through which Jesus is moving his mission forward. Our ultimate purpose is to:
Love God with our whole heart, soul and mind
Bring honor and glory to God through everything we do and say
And continue the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth by being his hands and feet through our personal, unique callings
Jon continued preaching on the “Wired” series by adding to Sally’s message regarding purpose from last week. He mentioned that God invites us on our own journey with Him. While on his sabbatical three years ago, Jon learned that God’s intention was not to download a blueprint as to how to lead the church or his life. Rather, God’s intention was to simply spend more time with Jon in relationship. This is emphasized in the scriptures: “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). It has always been God’s desire to surround Himself with those who desire a relationship with Him. God’s intention is relationship. It is His character to restore broken relationships.
Jon also explained that, given the relationship that God desires to share with us, it comes with a great calling: “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
Jon concluded his message by sharing the reason why we should display our love to others: We love each other because he loved us first. (1 John 4:19).” When we understand His love for us, we can then help fulfill His purpose of showing other people how much He loves them. God’s ultimate purpose is relationship.
Roy Van Der Westhuizen shared a very personal message pertaining to his faith background and life story. He opened his message with the heartfelt story of his younger brother, who passed away from cancer at a very young age. He spoke about the grief and hardship that it had left on his family, and how the church his parents planted wasn’t necessarily the most supportive it could have been during this time of extreme loss. He shared the growth that the church experienced over a period of time, and how the growth was primarily driven by a group of individuals that were steadfastly seeking God. This growth took place in spite of the fact that their church was frequently stolen from. In particular, musical instruments that they would use as part of their worship would be taken. Roy transitioned his message in conclusion to how Northgate has a responsibility and a calling to seek God, very similar to the church that Roy grew up in. He mentioned that our congregation has the freedom of choice in the sense that there are many different options for church homes; worship settings, denominations, pastoral preference, and various different demographics. He related this freedom of choice to an opportunity to see God move in amazing ways through steadfastly seeking Him. Lastly, Pastor Jon informed the congregation of worship services that will be taking place each Friday night at 6:00pm for those interested.
Easter isn’t a word one can find in the Bible. So what is it really? The first half of Pastor Jon’s message was aimed at showing us that Easter is really about the Passover. Jon depicted 6 aspects that the Passover can teach us.
1) The Passover is the cross
2) It involves changing our thinking
3) It is a journey of overcoming (Red sea)
4) It is about setting prisoners/slaves free
5) Passover reveals who God really is 6) It brings new life.
The second part of the message was directed at teaching and responding to certain names of God.
1) Jehovah Jireh– the Lord will provide. Found in Gen 22:14. This is the scene in which we find God providing a ram to sacrifice on the altar.
2) Jehovah Rapha– the Lord who heals. We find this in Exodus 15:26 where God commands Moses to put a tree in the water and the water becomes sweet.
3) Jehovah Nissi– the Lord my banner. We can find this name in Exodus 17:15. Moses holds up his hands (symbolism of praising God). As he does this, his people win wars. As his arms begin to fall, they lose battles.
4) Jehovah Shalom– the Lord is my peace. This name can be found in Judges 6:24. Gideon needs peace in facing the Middeanites.
5) Jehovah-Raah– the Lord my shepherd. David declares this in the Psalm 23.
Jon explored how he was in need of the Lord to be his peace (Jehovah Shalom). He had/has been going through some tough situations that he needed the peace of God to show up in. Much like when Jesus in Mark 4 says peace to the storm; Jon felt as though the Lord had done the same thing in his life over the last week. God brought supernatural peace into his circumstances and his own heart even situations didn’t change.