Monday, January 30, 2006

Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year Series: "The Formula For Amazing Results"

Let’s start with a recap of where we’re at in our series. Last week, we continued our “Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year” series.

Our 1st sermon was “The Key To Experiencing A NEW Year”. I used common math symbols to reveal the choices we have as we begin 2006. You can choose to be greater than (>), you can to be less than (<), or you can choose to be the same (=).

Most of what you experience and the results you get in 2006 will be TIED into this choice you make: to repent or not to repent.

Repentance is your key to a New Year! This message of repentance was what Jesus began his ministry with (Mark 1:15).

Our 2nd Sermon, used some more math symbols to describe two ways of living life. You can live a life of addition (+) and add to others and this world. Or, live a life of subtraction (-) and take from others and this world.

This way of living shows itself through: giving and serving. We need to go from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?” Jesus promised in Luke 6:38 to bless givers with an overflowing of blessing. In Philippians 2, we saw that to be like Jesus we have to serve others.

If you actually take these two approaches, then they will change what you do and why you do them!

Last week, I told you two things that can hold you back this year: how you view yourself and how you view what God can do. We looked at Numbers 13 and 14 and saw that the 10 spies who gave a bad report were focusing on the problems not the promise! That made them feel small and the problem (the people) seem big.

To become more of who God created us to be this year, we need these two views:

1. Focus on God and his promises: We have to get our eyes off of the problems and onto the promises.

2. Focus on how HE see us: You’d be shocked if you could see all that God see in you! Only God knows our REAL, full, potential!


Today, I want to share with you what I’m calling “The Formula For Amazing Results”. If you do this combination of things this year, then God will be able to accomplish more in you and through you, than he probably ever has before in your life!

My sister and brother-in-law got me a book for Christmas called “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. It’s really a cool book about the importance of building relationships to succeed in life.

In this book, Keith tells a short story I want you to hear. He says…

“Newt Gingrich, the famous Republican politician and all-about-Washington gadfly, is known to tell a story about a lion and a field mouse. A lion, he says, can use his prodigious hunting skills to capture a field mouse with relative ease anytime he wants, but at the end of the day, no matter how many mice he’s ensnared, he’ll still be starving.”

Then Keith gives the moral of the story: “Sometimes, despite the risk and work involved, it’s worth going for the antelope.”

If we want this year to be a greater than year, if we want to live a life of addition this year, then we’re going to have to “go for the antelope” – we’re going to have to try to accomplish the BIG things instead of settling for the small things.

It’s more risky, but the payoff will be MORE than worth it!

Think with me for a second about any of the great people of the Bible…

Were they used by God because they attempted BIG things or SMALL things? BIG things!

There’s a formula that I want us to look at today that will help us to see God do amazing things in our life.

Here’s the first part of the formula:

Hear the message below...

MP3 Stream

Saturday, January 28, 2006

“Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year" Series: "The Two Most Important Views To Have In Life"

(This is the 3rd sermon in the series. I spoke it on January 22nd.)

Let’s start with a recap of where we’re at in our series...

Last week, we continued our “Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year” series.

Our first sermon was “The Key To Experiencing A NEW Year”. I used some common math symbols as an analogy for the choices we have as we begin 2006. You can choose to be greater than (>), you can to be less than (<), or you can choose to be the same (=).

Most of what you experience and the results you get in 2006 will be TIED into this choice you make: to repent or not to repent.

Repentance is your key to a New Year! This message of repentance was what Jesus began his ministry with (Mark 1:15).

Last Sunday, we used some more math symbols to describe two ways of living life.

You can live a life of addition (+) and add to others and this world.
Or, you can live a life of subtraction (-) and take from others and this world.

This way of Giving-living shows itself in two revolutionary approaches to life: giving and serving.

We need to go from asking the question “What can I get?” to asking “What can I give?” We saw in Luke 6:38 that Jesus promises to bless those who give to others with an overflowing of blessing. We saw in Phillipians 2 that if we want to be like Jesus we will have to serve others.

These two approaches will change what you do and why you do them!

I feel like God wants this to be our theme for this year as a church. We need to focus on giving and serving the only two directions we can: vertically towards God and horizontally toward others.

I believe that God wants us to do this inwardly (to each other) and outwardly (towards others). We need to give without wanting/expecting anything back.

What do you want this year? What are your goals? What are your dreams?
What do you really need help with? How can we help you the most?

I bet that with the skills, the knowledge and the people that we all know that 90% of the things we need could happen if we give and serve each other!

We’re your resource – your network to achieving these things! Your ours! Let’s have you do this…

What are some things you want to (can) have, do or achieve in the next 90 days (Mid-April)? Think spiritually or physically. They obviously have to be realistic.

I want you to write it down. I’m going to give a copy of this to everyone next week. We’ll all look it over and see what things on there we could help someone with.

Some other ways that we could serve each other have to do with our Sunday morning gatherings…
  • Morning set-up - Once every two months come at 8am to help us set up. That will help some of us that currently come early to be able to have a Sunday off.
  • Refreshments - help for Paula.Running the computer for worship and messages.
  • Take Down - Help being a part of take down crew with Brian in the Kids Gathering area or Steve up front here.
  • Worship - Be a part of the worship team by playing an instrument and/or singing. You can be a part of it on a weekly basis or you can do it every once in awhile – like once a month or once every two or three months.

Other ways you could help… See a need and volunteer to take care of it!

But, if just stop there at giving and serving each other than we’ll miss out on so much that God wants to do in and through us. I don’t know if you realize this or not, but…

Your talents, your gifts that God has given you aren’t just to be used on yourself. They’re to be used to help the world!

Sometimes when we hear someone say we can affect the world it seems so impossible. But that’s because we’re thinking of the whole mass of humanity at one time.

You’re never going to one day bump into the every in the world, at all at once, in one place!

No! You’re going to meet and interact with the world one person at a time and one day at a time. When you think of using your gifts and talents in your day-by-day, one person at time way it seems much more doable!

Dale Carnegie said it like this…

“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”

But we have to GO and give and serve the world this year!

Listen to why the authors Kirbyjon Caldwell and Walt Kallestad in their book “Entrepreneurial Faith” say we need to go…

"If we can’t reach this generation by remaining within the walls of the church, and all the signs indicate that we can’t, then it’s time for entrepreneurial faith initiatives. We must take the church to the community.

"And it’s not just the twentysomething generation that is being missed. Look around your community and start making a list. There’s the immigrant population, the teen population, those who have grown up with no Christian influence and thus no familiarity with religion, and many, many others.

"Very few of these people will ever be affected by what goes on during a church service, no matter how dynamic, upbeat, and relevant the service is. Those who are following Buddhism or Hinduism, those who claim no religion, those who have been wounded in life (sometimes, even by the church), the lost men, women, boys, and girls in your community will not typically venture into your church.

"They have no reason to think they’ll find any answers there. They still have a tremendous need to experience the awesome reality of God’s love, but they won’t come begging.

"Status-quo ministry says 'open the doors and they’ll come.' That might have worked in the past, but it long ago lost its effectiveness. We can no longer just schedule church services and programs and wait for those who need God to show up.

"We must find creative ways to engage the nonchurchgoers in our communities.

"We must take the gospel out of the church and to the people. We must become entrepreneurs as we practice our faith.

"If we refuse to take this step, we run the very real risk of losing literally millions around us who desperately need and want to experience the love of God and who live right in our neighborhoods.

"Whether you are a pastor, an involved layperson, or a businessperson concerned about the needs in your community, it’s time to start dreaming about how God can use you in new ways. Ways that may be scary at times, but adventures that will be exciting as well."

I say it all the time, so you guys know this. We are the church. YOU are the church. Every week you interact with these people they were talking about – with the world. What will you give them? How will you serve them?

Here are some ideas I want us to try together…

I want to start giving out some water bottles to the people that come to run, play tennis and all RIGHT HERE at the school! Will be doing this in the next couple weeks.

I want to do give out some stuff like that for the students at Stanford. I want to do give out stuff like that to the students at Deanza!

I want to co-ordinate with the Mom’s in our church and offer babysitting to single Moms in our church and outside our church once a month.

I want to help that school in East Palo Alto. I’m going to talk to them and see what they need.

How You Can Do This:

1. I want you to think of some need that you’re passionate about.
2. Someone else to champion it with you. (This is the key thing.)
3. Gather a group of people who have the same passion (people who are a part of us and outside of us). We’ll announce it during one of our Sunday gatherings and see if there’s any one of us who wants to be a part.
4. Pick date on the calendar to gather some people and do your first giving or service project.

I believe that by becoming givers – by blessing others without expecting something back – that God will use this to expand our reach and to cause us to grow spiritually and numerically!

We also have to make sure to give and serve God too

We talked last week and said there were 3 main things you could give to God and others: your time, your talent or your money.

I told you that all of us are probably generous in at least one of those areas already, but I encouraged you to make it a goal to begin being generous to God and others in one of these other ways and watch what happens!

But you know what God wants the most from you or none of the rest of these things matter?

He wants the same thing you want from someone you care about… He wants your heart! We need to just give God ourselves more this year!

Frank Laubach said this...

"Any hour of any day may be made perfect by merely choosing. It is perfect if one looks toward God that entire hour, waiting for his leadership all through the hour and trying hard to do every tiny thing exactly as God wishes it done, as perfectly as possible. No emotions are necessary. Just the doing of God's will perfectly makes the hour a perfect one. And the results of that one perfect hour, I believe, will echo down through eternity."

Looking back over this last year…

We’ve come a long way since this was all just a dream I felt God put on my heart. I remember when I first met with different ones of you on the core team. (Glen, Aaron, & Dave)

I remember that first night we met at my house on September 8, 2004. We were a group of strangers and an old friend who I hadn’t hung out with in a long time and we had somehow decided to do this together. It was God!

I remember our first Sunday gathering, being not sure who would show up – of anyone would. I remember not many people were here at first. People got lost and there was construction on the Page Mill exit off of 280, so people had to take a longer way around to find us. But we did it!
We ended up with 48 people. A lot of them were family and friends that were here to show there support.

This is what it was like…(Show video -- edited from audio recording)

I believe that this year we’re going to build momentum and we’re going to grow. I mean that numerically that they’ll be more of us, but I also mean it on a personal level. I believe God is going to grow you in new ways this year.

But there are two things that will hold us back if we’re not careful:

1. How you view yourself
2. How you view what God can do

Let's look in our Bibles at Numbers 13 and 14.

God sends tells Moses to choose one leader from each tribe to go on a reconnaissance mission. I won’t go into all their names, Joshua who was Moses attendant since he was young was one of them.

Here we learn that Joshua's name was first known as Hoshea which means "salvation", but Moses changed it to Joshua which means "Yahweh saves”. Joshua is the Hebrew spelling for Jesus (Y'shua)

Listen to what Moses tells them to scout out… in Numbers 13:19-20

Hear the message below.

(Warning: I was STILL fighting off laryngitis, so my voice is still really raspy!)

MP3 Stream

Friday, January 27, 2006

Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year Series: "Two Revolutionary Approaches To Life"

(This is our 2nd message in this series that I spoke on January 15th. This beginning part was interactive with the church. That's why you'll see questions at the begining of this intro.)

Let’s do a quick recap from last week and talk about this together a little…

We began our “Important Steps To Creating A NEW Year” series with the first sermon “The Key To Experiencing A NEW Year”.

I used some common math symbols as an analogy for the choices we have as we begin 2006. You can choose to be greater than (>), you can to be less than (<), or you can choose to be the same (=). Only one of these choices is really a good one and that’s the choice to be greater than!

Some of your experiences and results this year will be out of your control. But, a lot of your experiences and results will be TIED into this choice you make: to repent or not to repent.

Repentance is your key to a NEW Year! Plain and simple it means this…
  • Repentance => healing and growth = a new life
  • No repentance => more pain and lack of growth = same old same old

What do you think about repentance being the key to change? Does it make sense to you?

Last week, we looked at Mark 1:15 and saw that this message of repentance was what Jesus began his ministry with. This is how the NIV translation words it… “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

You have to stop doing something and start doing something else to really experience change.
You have to turn from something and turn to something for change to begin.

Repentance is a U-Turn. It’s turning from the way you were headed to the opposite direction! But it’s more than that! We saw from John The Baptist in Luke 3:7-9 that repentance is something that’s DONE, not just SAID!

It’s something that produces results or “fruit” in our life!

What do you think about that? How did the thought of repentance being an action not just words resonate with you?

Repentance is tied into faith. You have to believe something new to do something new. What’d you think about the repentance and faith connection?

Real repentance ISN’T just feeling bad and wanting not to be in trouble anymore. That kind of repentance doesn’t lead to any lasting results!

Real repentance is believing that something is bad so you want to stop doing it, OR it’s believing something else is better, so you want to start doing it instead.

Do you see the difference? What do you think about this description of REAL repentance?

Last week, I said that there were two things that can lead us to repent: sadness or gladness. We need to stop settling for where we’re at. We need to become sadder about the areas where we’re less than we should be!

But an even more powerful incentive to repent comes from gladness

I showed you last week that Jesus said, “Repent and Believe the WHAT news?” Good news!

Get this. Jesus is basically saying...

The time is here! The kingdom of God is now near, so believe this incredibly good news and do a U-Turn!

Any thoughts or comments about sadness and gladness as things that motivate us to repent? Which seems to work the best with you?

I also told you that the only way we’d be able to conquer the greatest areas in our lives through repenting is only going to happen WITH God and each others help.

How has it been trying to live it these ideas last week?

Anyone what to tell us what happened?
What have you learned from it?
Any other questions or comments?

Cool. Thanks for sharing your thought and ideas about this stuff. This interaction will help us all to apply it more in our lives!

Today, I want to talk about the next step to creating a NEW year in 2006. I want to talk about “Two Revolutionary Approaches To Life”.

I saw a story that Bernie May told in his book, "Learning to Trust”. He said this…

For the past forty years Eunice Pike has worked with the Mazatec Indians in south-western Mexico. During this time she has discovered some interesting things about these beautiful people.

For instance, the people seldom wish someone well. Not only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share the gospel with each other.

If asked, "Who taught you to bake bread?" the village baker answers, "I just know," meaning he has acquired the knowledge without anyone's help.

Eunice says this odd behavior stems from the Indian's concept of "limited good." They believe there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain yourself of knowledge.

To love a second child means you have to love the first child less. To wish someone well--"Have a good day"--means you have just given away some of your own happiness, which can’t be reacquired.

The way that some people live around us everyday, you’d think they believe the same thing about "limited good"!

But limited good is lie. The opposite is actually true!

When we give, we don’t lose. We GAIN! The apostle Paul said it like this in Acts 20:35 "It is more blessed to give than to receive".

Today, I want to talk to you about a way of living that will change what you do and why you do what you do.

This way of living can be seen in two approaches to living life. These two approaches are so powerful that if everyone in the world used them it could solve many of the world's problems!

What is this way of living I’m talking about?

I want to stick with math symbols as a way to show you this idea this week...

There are two ways to live life:

+ Add to others and this world.
– Subtracting from others and this world.

It basically comes down to living to give or to get. You either live to GIVE to God and others or you live to GET from God and others!

There’s a book by a guy named Matt Rawlins called “The Lottery – A question can change a life”. This book is one of those modern parable books like a lot of business books are today.

In this book, Matt Rawlins tells the story about an eccentric old man who spent the last years of his life trying to find the keys that would save mankind from destroying themselves while creating hope for tomorrow.

He spent his entire fortune, which was a pretty large amount of money and hired thousands of researchers from around the world. He had a computer system built that could compile the data.

No one but himself was allowed to read all of it.

Historical archives were carefully examined. No page was left unturned as these researchers looked for the keys to success in helping humanity move forward. The research was compiled and placed very carefully in two identical books.

After this man died, he gave the two identical books to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC so that they could auction one off to the highest bidder and give the other book away in a Nationwide lottery.

They held this fancy event to have the auction and lottery.

There were wealthy and well known people there who all wanted a chance to buy the one book. All of the major news outlets where there to see who got the two books and they also wanted to find out what was in the books.

They held the auction and a really wealthy guy paid a lot of money to get the first book. They then had the lottery. Anyone around the country was allowed to enter their name so everyone was watching to see if they would win.

They finally chose a name and it was a guy named Mark Stephen who won. All the media started trying to contact him and see what he was going to do. He was trippin’ and didn’t know what he was going to do at first, but finally decided to at least go down and see what was in the book. They brought him to a bank vault to see the book.

When he opened the book he was totally shocked!

On the first page was a simple question mark. That was it! All the other pages were blank.

At first, he laughed and thought it was a joke. But he quickly realizes it’s not and the whole rest of the book is about this journey to discover what this QUESTION MARK means.

He eventually learns the message and it’s what I want you to understand today…

He discovered that succeeding in life is all about asking the right questions!

He learned that questions create a focus and because of the focus of the questions we don’t see other things that might be important.

The questions we ask set up what we find. The author says it in this was through the character Mark…

“The right question, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people is one of the most powerful tools in the hand of any man, woman or God.”

If we change one simple question in our lives then amazing things will begin to happen!

Let me read forward of the book "The Daily Drucker" (which is a book filled with different quotes, concepts and ideas from a man who was a the late management guru Peter Drucker) to show you an example of this change.

This is what it says…

"His generosity of spirit explains much of Drucker’s immense influence. I reflected back on his work, ‘The Effective Executive’, and his admonition to replace the quest for success with the quest for contribution. The critical question is not, 'How can I achieve?' but 'What can I contribute?'"

We need to go from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”!

Listen to what Jesus says in Luke 6:38

Hear the message below.
(Warning: I was STILL fighting off laryngitis, so my voice is still really raspy!)

MP3 Stream

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Key To Experiencing A NEW Year!

When I was in Jr. High and High School I lived in Foster City in an apartment complex called Shelter Cove.

It was a cool place to live, cause there were a lot of other kids there who were in my age-range. I still am friends with some of them today. Brian Jablonski, right here, is one of them.

There was a guy, whose name I can’t remember right now, and he was older than the rest of us. He ended up getting a Go-Kart.

One day he took it out to give us rides on it.

We needed a place that had a lot of room to get good speed and really test it out, so we went to the parking lot of this Catholic Church. It was right behind our apartments on the corner of Foster City Blvd and Beach Park Blvd.

The main guy, who’s Go-Kart it was, would drive and different people would sit on this little part on the back and hold on.

Everything was going good until the accident happened.

One of our friends, Brian Watkins, sat on little back part and was holding on while the Go-Kart driver was flying around the church’s parking lot.

At first, he was laughing and everything was cool, then something went wrong. Somehow, Brian’s leg slipped off the back of the Go-Kart and got wedge under it.

He started screaming as the asphalt began ripping his pants and grinding into his leg.

The guy driving didn’t know what happened, because he couldn’t hear Brian screaming, over the sound of the revving engine - so He just kept driving.

It probably only took a minute or two, but it seemed like an eternity before we got him to realize what was happening and stop the Go-Kart.

By that time, the damage was already done.

Brian’s ankle, which was the part that got caught under the Go-Kart, was totally ripped open and tendons or ligaments were exposed.

I don’t remember what happened next, but somehow, someone ran to call 911 (didn’t have cell phones back then) and the ambulance came and took him to the hospital. He ended up being ok, but it took pretty good while for his leg to heal.

I always wondered…

What would have happened if we couldn’t get the drivers attention as quickly as we did and he kept driving for even just a couple minutes longer?


What would have happened if we could have gotten his attention right away? How hurt would Brian have been? Would he have been that hurt at all?

When you’re doing something that’s causing damage to you, or someone else, you want to stop as soon as you can, right?

This story reminds me of the one key thing that will help you experience a NEW year in 2006.

If you DO this thing, then you will experience new things – see new results. If you DON’T do this thing, then you will experience the same or less than you did last year.

Are you ready to hear what it is?

The key to experiencing a new year is: repentance!

That’s what I want to talk about today. But, before some of you put up a wall and start resisting the idea. Listen…

I don’t want you to think of it ONLY in the usual way. *Think of it as method – a technique – for releasing change in your life!

This one method can be used in any and every area of your life and it will have the same result: NEWNESS!

I want to share a quote from Jim Rohn right now. Let me remind you who he is. He’s a famous business philosopher. Most people don’t know it, but he’s also a Christian and a Pastors’ kid. He’s one of my favorite writers.

I’ve read this quote to you before, but I want you to hear it again as begin this year and this series. He says this…

“Each of us has two distinct choices to make about what we will do with our lives.

The first choice we can make is to be less than we have the capacity to be. To earn less. To have less. To read less and think less. To try less and discipline ourselves less. These are the choices that lead to an empty life. These are the choices that, once made, lead to a life of constant apprehension instead of a life of wondrous anticipation.

"And the second choice? To do it all! To become all that we can possibly be. To read every book that we possibly can. To earn as much as we possibly can. To give and share as much as we possibly can. To strive and produce and accomplish as much as we possibly can. All of us have the choice.

"To do or not to do. To be or not to be. To be all or to be less or to be nothing at all.

"Like the tree, it would be a worthy challenge for us all to stretch upward and outward to the full measure of our capabilities. Why not do all that we can, every moment that we can, the best that we can, for as long as we can?

"Our ultimate life objective should be to create as much as our talent and ability and desire will permit. To settle for doing less than we could do is to fail in this worthiest of undertakings.”

These are the choices we have in front of us as we begin 2006:
  • you can choose to be greater than (>)
  • you can to be less than (<)
  • or you can choose to be the same (=)

Only one of these choices is really a good one.

The rest of them aren’t. It’s obvious that choosing “less than” is bad, but choosing to be the same person as you were last year isn’t much better.

Choosing to be the same is to choose stagnation. It’s the easy choice, but it’s a bad one. In fact, staying the same is usually is what happens by accident or default.

Pastor Timothy Satryan said it this way in a recent e-newsletter…

“If you were organized in 2005, you will begin 2006 being organized, too. The same can be said about being motivated, disciplined, involved, prayerful, spiritual, or any other quality or characteristic. Change in life doesn’t happen simply because the old calendar has been replaced with a new one.”

2006 will be one of these things for you:

>, <, or =.

Which set of these choices will you choose?

Some of what you experience this year and some of the results you get this year will be out of your control.

But A LOT of what you experience and the results you get will be TIED into this choice you make: to repent or not to repent.

When Jesus started his ministry he began going around teaching this one thing. Look at what he says in Mark 1:15...

Hear the message below...
(Warning: I was fighting off laryngitis, so my voice is a little raspier than normal. Sometimes I sound like I'm going through puberty again!)

MP3 Stream