Monday, March 19, 2012

Footsteps Of Paul - Turkey Trip 2012

Want to go to Turkey? Our church in Littleton, Colorado is sponsoring this tour, which will pass through the city in which we lived! Here are the quick facts:

Dates: 5-14 October 2012
Cost: $1,600 plus airfare ($2,700 round trip airfare from Denver)
Deadline: Deposit of $400 due by 15 May 2012

For more information, email

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reflections on the Radical Road - What then shall I do?

Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church

Sermon Title: A Radical Question – Luke 3:1-14

When confronted with the reality of God, we all must wrestle with this singular question, found in verse 10:

“What then shall we do?”

As Mike pointed out, this question came to John the Baptist from three groups of people: the crowd, the tax collectors, and the soldiers. All three groups experienced the tension created when their lifestyles collided with God’s plan for living.

The key question has tumbled around in my heart all week, and in a very personal way. It echoes back to me in different notes, all of which bounce off of something solid found in God’s character.

In light of God’s relentless pursuit of restored relationships, what should I do about that broken friendship?

In light of the coming judgment of God, what should I do about my colleagues who don’t know him?

Because God expressed his love for me though I was by nature a sinner, how should I express my love – and his love – for my neighbors?

When I embrace God’s holiness, what should I do about my sinfulness?

In light of the humility I see in Jesus, what then should happen to my pride?

Because God has offered grace and mercy beyond all comprehension, how then should I live?

Now it is your turn. How does this declaration of the Savior alter your living today? In other words…

What then should you do?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Reflections on the Radical Road - The Cycle of Repentance

Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church

Sermon Title: A Radical Question – Luke 3:1-14

“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Luke 3:8a

Repentance, fully experienced, goes much deeper than the outward behavior others can observe. In fact, repentance leads one through a full range of internal emotions – from grief to joy. Let’s consider some of the emotional features present as one repents.

Conviction – When I consider my sinful behavior, I sense the conviction of wrongdoing. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), and is different from the guilt, shame and condemnation that flows from our enemy. Our sensitivity to this prompting of the Spirit opens the door for us to move into the repentance process.

Grief / Sorrow – Our sinful choices do not happen in a vacuum. Something is always lost or damaged; a dear friendship, our integrity of sense or self-respect, our fellowship with the Lord. It is good, even important, for us to embrace the loss caused by our sin, and to experience the sorrow of what has been damaged.

Desire – Because we don’t enjoy sitting in our grief, our heart begins to turn toward the desire to live differently; to make a different choice, to restore a treasured relationship, to draw near to God again. In order for God to bring about lasting change, our desire should lead us into a state of surrender. This is our willingness to walk a different path going forward, and that doesn’t happen without an internal resolve to do so.

Courage – Change doesn’t come easily. It requires courage and always involves risk. To move through transformational change, we must couple our surrender with a deep sense of resolve to live into the Lord’s strength. In this stage we face our previous behavior and declare, "In the strength of Christ, I will choose a different way. He is able to do this in me, and I am willing."

Joy – Sadly, we often leave the concept of joy out of the repentance process. But if God leads us from grief and through change, then we naturally begin to experience the joy of living differently. When a situation arises in which we would have formerly given in to sin, and yet we respond in a way that demonstrates the transformational power of God at work in our lives, we move into a state of joy.

Can you remember a time when someone commented on what they perceive to be an area of strength in your life, but you understand that this was formerly an area of weakness? You used to give in to sin in this area, but now you walk in the strength of Christ. Oh what joy! What peace! What hope that God can continue to move you deeper into the Christ-like life.

In what area of your life are you ready to experience the full cycle of repentance?

How might these various steps apply to your journey?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Reflections on the Radical Road - Repentance and Deep Change

Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church

Sermon Title: A Radical Question – Luke 3:1-14

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Luke 3:7-8a

Mike pointed out that John recognized the intentions within the hearts of those who came to be baptized. He said, “These snakes wanted to avoid the danger of fire, but remain as snakes. John was declaring, ‘You want to avoid hell, but still live like a hellion.’”

Repentance goes much deeper than external behavior.

Many believers approach repentance as a process of incremental change. What we need is deep change. Robert Quinn, in his book called Deep Change, describes the difference between incremental and deep change. His insights shed important light on how we should approach repentance from sin.

Incremental change –
- Is the result of rational analysis and planning
- Outlines steps needed to reach a goal
- Is limited in scope – confined to one area or issue in life
- Is reversible – if change doesn’t work out we can return to the old ways
- Is an extension of the past – a slight alteration
- Is non-disruptive
- Allows me to retain control

By contrast, deep change –
- Requires a new way of thinking and behaving
- Is broad and reaching in scope – touching the entire person
- Is discontinuous with the past – nothing will be the same
- Is irreversible – there is no going back
- Requires risk
- Alters the trajectory of the future
- Demands that I surrender control

Most Christians, myself included, excel at sin management. I can keep my behavior in check enough to keep from “acting out” in sin. Externally this gives the appearance that I’ve changed. True repentance goes much further than behavior modification. Repentance produces a deep change, a radical transformation of the heart such that my life and behavior are forever different.

The truth is that I can alter my behavior without repentance, leading to a significant change in my heart. But I cannot experience repentance that leads to a deep change in my heart without altering my behavior.

At what point in my spiritual journey did I experience the transformational power of repentance?

How did that re-order my way of thinking and behaving?

What old patterns of living have I not gone back to as a result of this deep change?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Reflections on the Radical Road - Submitting

Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church

Sermon Title: A Child's Radical Impact – Luke 2:22-52

“Then he (Jesus) went down to Nazareth with them (Mary & Joseph) and was obedient to them.” Luke 2:51

When Mary and Joseph found the 12 year-old Jesus in the temple, we see the first evidence that Jesus understood his true identity. He states, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Mary remembered the words of Gabriel. Joseph must have known that Jesus was entrusted to him by a higher Father. So, everybody seemed to be aware that Jesus carried the weight of divine authority on his pre-teen shoulders. Which is what makes verse 51 all the more interesting.

Jesus – God in human form – went with Joseph and Mary back to Nazareth and was obedient to them.

Mike pointed out in the sermon that Jesus grew up under the authority of his parents, and this was true even after he became aware of the authority he rightly held over them.

Submission has become a nasty word in our culture. It conjures images of tyrannical parenting, abusive husbands, and perverted sexual bondage. Even those of us who buy into a good definition of submission tend to carefully determine when and where we allow it to be applied to our lives. For me, it sometimes sounds like this:

“I’ll obey those over me, if I agree with the person in charge.”

“I’ll follow the rules, if I determine that they are fair and work in my best interest.”

“I’ll obey someone over me, if they have the power to punish me.”

“I’ll submit, if I recognize that someone has a superior position to my own.”

Yet Jesus, being in the very nature God, humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross (Phil 2). Jesus' obedience to God which led to his death on a cross was learned at home with Joseph and Mary.

Jesus submitted to them even though he knew he held ultimate authority over them. In doing so, he teaches us to submit to others over us, even when we are convinced that we are superior to those people in some way.

Richard Rohr states it like this, “All spiritual learning is a function of surrender.” Could it be that we grow in our faith not only when we learn to submit to God, but also when we learn to submit to others who are over us?

Is it possible that we will not learn to submit to a God who we cannot see until we learn to submit to authorities in our lives who we can see?

Today, consider the people who live in authority over you. Do you place conditions on your willingness to obey them? How can the example set by Jesus inspire you to grow in your faith by your willingness to submit to others?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Avoid Spiritual Apathy In Your Home

“I also learned that the portions assigned to the Levites had not been given to them, and that all the Levites and musicians responsible for the service had gone back to their own fields. So I rebuked the officials and asked them, ‘Why is the house of God neglected?’” Nehemiah 13:10-11

Nehemiah discovered a mess among God’s people, and he decided to clean it up. The “house of God” not only meant the temple, but all of the beliefs and practices that should be found among those who follow God. These beliefs and practices were so neglected that the spiritual leaders had all gone back to their fields. They had abandoned their posts. Apathetic, they walked away from the Lord and His ways.

What happens when we find apathy toward following Christ in our homes? Well, we’re likely to discover a spiritual mess.

Rather than relying on the Lord in times of trial, we slip into self-sufficiency seeking to fix our problems through our own means.

Rather than standing on God’s Word as truth, we determine what is right in our own eyes.

Rather than serving others with God’s love, we make sure that our own needs are met first. Let’s take these three examples and turn them into a plan for “apathy prevention” at home.

Prayer – Prayer acknowledges that there is a significant Other in our midst. We don’t have to figure it all out on our own. We pray and seek wisdom from the God who supplies it. Practice this at home often. When your child tells you about an issue at school, simply state, “Why don’t we take a minute and pray about it. Let’s ask God to give you wisdom (strength, courage, or whatever is appropriate).” And then pray. God listens and will help.

Scripture – Our world is full of situational ethics; people determining what is right in any given situation based on their own interpretations. Scripture provides guiding, enduring principles that help us interpret our world and shape our responses. When talking about an issue, ask your kids, “Does God’s Word tell us anything that will help us?” Involve them in the discovery of Biblical guidance, and you will benefit them for life.

Service – We all naturally take care of our own needs. It is easy to become apathetic toward the needs of others. By serving as a family, you push against the selfishness that abounds in our world. This month we’re going to try something new. As part of our monthly giving, I’m going to put cash on the table and ask, “How can we use this to serve others this month?” With some very basic ground rules, I believe our kids will be creative in thinking of ways to keep the needs of others in our hearts and minds.

Make this resolution: "I will not go back to the fields. I will not abandon my spiritual post. We will press forward in our faith, together, as a family." And apathy will be a stranger in your home.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reflections on the Radical Road - The True Reward of Heaven

Based on the sermon series The Radical Road: Abandoning Yourself to Follow Jesus taught by Mike Romberger, Senior Pastor, Mission Hills Church

Sermon Title: A Child's Radical Impact – Luke 2:22-52

In this passage we looked at the encounter between a very young Jesus and two people who watched for his coming: Simeon and Anna. Read this story here (Luke 2:25-38). Simeon and Anna, independent of each other, were waiting at the temple for the coming Messiah. They are described as righteous, devout, and prayerful.

Mike commented, “God rewards the faithful life of an older person. Faithful, older believers look forward to seeing Jesus face to face.”

But is this true for most Christians? Do we really imagine our heavenly reward this way?

I’m fairly convinced, by listening to people talk about their hope of heaven, that many believers have a self-oriented desire when it comes to heaven. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it this way:

People look forward to most in heaven that which they sought or desired most on earth.

Some who have been permanently injured or whose bodies have given out over time look forward in heaven to having a new body and restored health.

Some who have lost precious loved ones to death look forward in heaven to that time of reunion and renewed relationship.

Some who have calibrated their lives toward success and prosperity look forward in heaven to streets of gold and mansions of glory.

Some who have sought after positions of power or control on earth look forward in heaven to reigning together with Christ.

Some who have lived under the labor of strife, conflict, tensions, or even war look forward in heaven to a place of peace.

While it is certainly not wrong to hope for these things, and there are scriptural evidences that all of these will be part of our heavenly experience, what does this say about our desire to encounter the living Jesus?

One morning in church, I watched as an elderly woman named Rose sang a hymn. She wasn’t holding a hymnal or watching the projector screens. Her eyes were closed and she had one hand lifted up as if she was reaching out to someone. After the service, I asked Rose about the time of worship, and she said, “Not very long from now, I will get to meet Jesus. I just can’t wait to be with him.”

If we are to truly embrace the reward that Simeon and Anna so greatly enjoyed, we will fix our devotion – and our hope – on Christ alone. And Rose, at this very moment is enjoying the fruit of her faithful life.

Yes, I believe that God rewards the faithful devotion that we express while here on earth. And I believe that He, Jesus Christ, is our great reward. Being in his presence will be beyond all other satisfactions.

If you have a moment, watch and listen to this song. It paints a beautiful picture of the moment when we can experience the reward of faithful living.