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Grow November 25, 2014

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday I was led to pray in the sanctuary before each service. In that time, my heart was filled with thanksgiving. It felt like perfect preparation for worship. I believe it thrilled the Lord.

Paul writes in Colossians 3:15-16 (NIV):

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

This week, let’s count our blessings. As you develop your family visions, weekly family meetings, and your family calendar, remember to give thanks for all God is doing. And sing to Jesus!

I want to list just a few thanks I have for our congregation:

– Generosity in the 50 Thanksgiving boxes given
– Many who serve in Sunday school (children and youth)
– Youth and their parents offering free child care December 6

(did I mention FREE child care?)

– Tree lighting outreach concert (a perfect invite opportunity)
– Many serving to change our city and nation’s culture
– Families seeking more of God

All of this is only possible through the grace and blessing of an awesome and generous God. Sing praise with me to our Royal Family!

Building grateful families with you in Jesus,

Denis

Grow November 20, 2014

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Thank you so much for an awesome celebration last Sunday! It was a beautiful outpouring of love from our family at MCC, and a great lead-in to our Family Business series – the very heart of God.

In Genesis 12, God asks Abram to leave his father’s house to go to a new land where he will become a great nation and a blessing to many. The words for father’s house are “Beit Ab”.

Abram is told that he will be the epicenter of blessing for all the families of the earth. The word “family” there is the Hebrew “mishpakah”.

This idea of family is a bit broader than our concept of family – an extended “father’s house” – a clan, not quite a tribe. Like an extended family gathering that we’d experience at Thanksgiving.

In the new covenant, two primary Greek words are used for family: “patria” (remember from last week?) and “oikos” or household, as in when Cornelius and his whole household come to Christ in Acts 10-11.

Jesus extends this thinking into the eternal context in John 14:2 – “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

The goal of history is that we will be finally saved into the Father’s House, the eternal “Beit Ab”. Brought there as a bride by the Son.

The Father’s heart is to round up his children into one thriving, holy, redeemed family of God. Here there are no more slaves and orphans, but every one who believes becomes an adopted son and daughter.

May that be our vision right now. No matter what the shape and size of our family, we can join Jesus in rounding up more children! His love poured out in our homes points the way to their eternal House.

It’s the Father’s business, and so it’s our Family business.

I’m looking forward to starting this series Sunday. Bring a friend or neighbor interested in joining us in the quest to build strong families.

Please take a minute now to pray – please ask the Lord to:
– bless our youth on retreat this weekend
– encourage every family to have great weekly meetings
– encourage those not in small groups to join one

So grateful to be following Jesus with you,

Denis

Grow November 20, 2014

MID-WEEK

Ephesians 3:14-15 – For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

Church, I’m looking forward to the next season. Jerry’s message last week was a great reminder that God has chosen to love and work through us – we are more important to God than we realize!

One of the most basic ways God works is through families. Think Adam & Eve, Abraham & Sarah, Joseph & Mary, Aquila & Priscilla. Even those who served as consecrated singles came from families!

In the verses noted above, Paul uses a Greek play on words – father being “pater” and family being “patria”. It’s the foundational unit in God’s world. It’s one of God’s main metaphors for the Church.

The enemy wants to destroy our families.

Look how the definition and covenant nature of marriage is being corrupted. How the culture of death has aborted 53+ million lives in our country. How it “brands” suicide as “death with dignity”.

Our President says a woman’s choice to stay home to raise kids is “Not a choice we want Americans to make”. His view is to have women bring more income home and turn the kids over to state preschools.

Really? Is that what God thinks?

From now to the end of the year, we are going to look at family while letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly:
– sharing our successes and failures
– seeking God’s grace for our families
– being about the “Father’s business”

So, regardless of
– how many problems we have
– how many mistakes we’ve made
– how hard it is today ….

Let’s ask Jesus to build our families into his Family.

Living and loving in Jesus with you,

Denis

Grow November 19, 2014

MID-WEEK

Last Sunday we looked at how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit want our families to glorify them by embracing our God-given identity and vision.

This week, we will look at how we can bring glory to God in our families’ rhythms (schedules) and traditions (mind-sets and activities)  


The Scriptures have a lot to say about rhythms and traditions. Starting in Genesis 1, we learn of an orderly God establishing the universe with seasons and a rhythm of six days work and one day of rest.

Throughout the Scriptures, we see his traditions – like worship, prayer, annual feasts, rest for the soil every seven years. God even ordered a total financial “reset” over land and debts every 50 years!

Jesu’s infuses great meaning into every one of these things, and he goes far beyond in his lifestyle and teaching. Every word is pregnant with meaning and every action is completed in the “fullness of time”.

Jesus invites us: “Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” (Matthew 11:29 MSG)

Look at your family rhythms. How do you walk with Jesus? What are your daily habits? Is there time to rest? How about celebration and thanksgiving?

How about your family’s worship? Is there genuine awe of God?

Do you arrive rushed and unprepared for corporate worship? What would it be like to be seated in the sanctuary five minutes ahead of time everySunday? How would this affect the quality of our corporate worship?

Look at your monthly rhythms. Is there space for rest,  fasting, silence and solitude?

Look at your annual rhythms. What is it like in your family at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter? What about summer vacations, family reunions?

Take time to seek God’s heart for you and your family. What are the traditions that Jesus spoke against? What are the godly traditions that were dear to his heart and passed on by the apostles?

Let this be a season where we let Jesus “reset” our rhythms and our traditions for his glory. How does Jesus want to use rhythms and traditions to shape your family’s vision? Discuss as a family this week.

Building strong families together in Jesus,

DenisLast Sunday we looked at how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit want our families to glorify them by embracing our God-given identity and vision.

This week, we will look at how we can bring glory to God in our families’ rhythms (schedules) and traditions (mind-sets and activities)  

The Scriptures have a lot to say about rhythms and traditions. Starting in Genesis 1, we learn of an orderly God establishing the universe with seasons and a rhythm of six days work and one day of rest. 

Throughout the Scriptures, we see his traditions – like worship, prayer, annual feasts, rest for the soil every seven years. God even ordered a total financial “reset” over land and debts every 50 years!

Jesus infuses great meaning into every one of these things, and he goes far beyond in his lifestyle and teaching. Every word is pregnant with meaning and every action is completed in the “fullness of time”.

Jesus invites us: “Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” (Matthew 11:29 MSG)

Look at your family rhythms. How do you walk with Jesus? What are your daily habits? Is there time to rest? How about celebration and thanksgiving? 

How about your family’s worship? Is there genuine awe of God?

Do you arrive rushed and unprepared for corporate worship? What would it be like to be seated in the sanctuary five minutes ahead of time everySunday? How would this affect the quality of our corporate worship? 

Look at your monthly rhythms. Is there space for rest,  fasting, silence and solitude?

Look at your annual rhythms. What is it like in your family at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter? What about summer vacations, family reunions?

Take time to seek God’s heart for you and your family. What are the traditions that Jesus spoke against? What are the godly traditions that were dear to his heart and passed on by the apostles?

Let this be a season where we let Jesus “reset” our rhythms and our traditions for his glory. How does Jesus want to use rhythms and traditions to shape your family’s vision? Discuss as a family this week. 

Building strong families together in Jesus,

Denis

Grow November 12, 2014

 

For the next seven weeks, we will devote ourselves to building strong families. Looking at Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, we will study God’s vision for us as families including all shapes and styles of families represented in our congregation. We will also look at the glorious destiny he has promised for those who trust in him – a place in his forever family. We will also look at some of our mistakes and difficulties, and learn to seek his grace, which always enables us to overcome- together! If you are not already in a small group, we encourage you to join one to get the most from this series! Email Paul Rasmussen at paul @ mariemontchurch (dot) org to join a group.

Serve November 06, 2014

On Saturday, November 22, at 9:30am we will meet at the Parish Center for our yearly outreach to the community to hand out turkey dinners. You’ll join a team to deliver meals and pray with families. It’s a great outreach opportunity for the whole family! You can support this event with a $45 donation to cover one dinner that will feed a family of six. Make your check payable to “MCC”, write “Turkey” in the memo line.

Grow November 03, 2014

Denis teaches on Jesus’ command to “Follow Me”.