As we continue to journey toward Christmas in this Advent season, we’re stepping into our BEHOLD series this weekend, which will prepare us to celebrate the birth of our Savior on the 25th.
In fact, we’re excited to create a space for you to have church at home on Christmas day. We’re preparing an online experience with worship and a Christmas devotional for you to enjoy with family and friends in the comfort of your own home.
So look for information about how to access that experience as we get closer to Christmas morning.
Additionally, our more traditional Christmas Services will be:
Dec. 23 @ 4:00 & 6:00 PM
Dec. 24 @ 2:00, 4:00 & 6:00 PM
That said, here’s a bit more about the series itself. We look forward to seeing you there!
With the Christmas season comes a flurry of activity – shopping, parties, family drama, and overwhelming to-do lists. Our schedules and expectations can make this season a time which moves so quickly that we find Christmas somehow passes us by and we wonder where the “magic” of the season has gone. In a world where we can get lost more in the busyness of what must be done than in the wonder of the One who has come, we’re inviting you to pause and Behold. Join us as we take time to Behold the joy, mystery, and hope found when Heaven came to Earth and everything changed through the gift of a Baby born.
Dec 3/4 – Behold
Dec 10/11 – Mighty God
Dec 17/18 – Prince of Peace
Dec 23/24/25 – Emmanuel
Dec 31/Jan 1 – The Family of God
Having just wrapped up our FearLess series, we’re now poised to launch into our Global Outreach weekends, which is when we focus on our missional investments.
I’m pumped to see how God is going to move in and through that time. You can find out more about how we are seeking to live SENT by clicking here, but here’s a bit more about the next two weekends:
We are excited about our Global Outreach Focus coming up on November 12-13 and 19-20. Throughout this entire year it has been clear that God is going before us as a church and opening up doors of unprecedented opportunity. We can’t wait for you to hear from some of our partners about what God is doing and share with you about how we get to Go.Be.Love. together in the year ahead. Come ready to celebrate, learn, engage, and explore our next steps together as we strive to LiveSENT in all of our spheres of influence.
As I’ve watched our nation respond to the election this week, I felt it was important to take time to encourage and challenge the team I serve alongside with a reminder of how we all can (and must) live as ministers of the Gospel of Reconciliation in this season.
I wrote the following to the men and women I have the great privilege of calling teammates at Heritage Church serving in the Quad Cities, but I believe the sentiments bear relevance for all who follow Jesus in America today.
So I humbly share these words here in the hope that they may also be a source of encouragement and perspective for you.
Since the outcome of the Presidential Election was announced, I’ve observed with great sadness an increase in adversarial responses from both sides of the political divide. What’s even more heartbreaking is that I’ve seen much of the same level of disunity and conflict playing out in the body of Christ. That should not be.
So as our nation processes Tuesday’s results, we will be positioned to help our church family in that journey. Keep in mind that as a result of the election, some of our people will have more voice and some will have less voice. Some will feel further behind on issues or concerns they face, and some will feel further ahead.
With that said, I wanted to take a moment to simply remind each of us to live as ministers of the Gospel of Reconciliation. [ref. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21] So let’s:
1) Keep dependence and primary authority where it belongs: Make sure you continue to promote Jesus and not politics, parties or Presidents. Our identity is in Jesus, not a political party. Our unity is in Jesus, not the outcome of an election. So live as Citizens of Heaven while being residents of earth. [Philippians 3:20]
2) Be known by Love: We are to be known by our love, not our vote. [ref. John 13:35] So love well. Don’t devalue people in your responses, comments or actions. Lift Jesus as you love people. Heed John Wesley’s counsel:
“…2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” ― John Wesley (October 6, 1774)
3) Take time to pray: Pray for those in authority and those who will be in authority [ref. 1 Timothy 2:1-3]; and live in submission to established authority as described in Romans 13. I realize there is complexity in that, but our FearLess sermon series was designed to help us navigate that. If you missed that conversation, you need to take time to review it online to know how God calls us to live as holy people in our day; and so we, as ministry team members, can speak appropriately about these things with those around us.
Take time to pray that God will move mightily in our nation. Take time to lament that we are not living as one nation under God. Consider using Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 as a starting point. The election did not fix what’s broken in our world. It was never going to. Only Jesus Christ can do that. So let’s keep our eyes fixed on Him. Advocate Him…not a position. Promote Jesus…not a party.
The truth is our nation is highly divided. That also means our cities are divided, and our church family is also divided over some of the same political and cultural issues. So let’s be reconcilers. Whether we are encouraged or discouraged after Tuesday, we are the people of God. We need to be about the business of God…the mission of God; and that did not change on Tuesday.
Believing in you.
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:7
Our Game of Life journey was highly impactful. I’ve loved hearing how God worked and moved through that journey. But this weekend, we’re launching into our FearLess series. I’m pumped to see how God is going to use it.
Here’s a some insight into what that will involve:
There is a lot going on in our world today that can cause us to feel worried and afraid. The good news is that as Christ-followers, we can choose a different posture in a world that is increasingly hostile to God’s desires. It is encouraging to know that the challenges we face have been navigated before by faithful men and women. We believe that we can Fear Less by understanding how those in the book of Daniel stood strong in the midst of adversity and struggle. Let’s explore how to live courageously together!
Oct 15/16 – Daniel 1 – Choosing Holiness
Oct 22/23 – Daniel 3 – Courageous Humility
Oct 29/30 – Daniel 6 – Risking Beyond
Nov 5/6 – Daniel 9 – Dependent Strength
I’m posting this for my friends at Indiana Wesleyan University…so they can stand and after everything stand. [ref. Ephesians 6:13]. If you miss[or missed] our conversation, hopefully you’ll still find this helpful.
Keep pressing on!
Here’s a compilation of Scriptures I reference at SUMMIT this week. It’s a great resource that I pray will help you to counter the lies with truth and to understand your identity in Jesus Christ.
The Word of God says in Jesus Christ…
I am faithful (Ephesians 1:1)
I am God’s child (John 1:12)
I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am Christ’s friend (John 15:15)
I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:20)
I am a member of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:27)
I am assured all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18)
I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)
I am chosen before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, 11)
I am holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4)
I am adopted as his child (Ephesians 1:5)
I am given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Ephesians 1:5,8)
I am in Him (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
I have redemption (Ephesians 1:8)
I am forgiven (Ephesians 1:8; Colossians 1:14)
I have purpose (Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11)
I have hope (Ephesians 1:12)
I am included (Ephesians 1:13)
I am sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
I am a saint (Ephesians 1:18)
I am salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14)
I have been chosen and God desires me to bear fruit (John 15:1,5)
I am a personal witness of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8)
I am God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1)
I am a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
I am raised up with Christ (Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:12)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6)
I have been shown the incomparable riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:7)
God has expressed His kindness to me (Ephesians 2:7)
I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
I have been brought near to God through Christ’s blood (Ephesians 2:13)
I have peace (Ephesians 2:14)
I have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18)
I am a member of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19)
I am secure (Ephesians 2:20)
I am a holy temple (Ephesians 2:21; 1 Corinthians 6:19)
I am a dwelling for the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:22)
I share in the promise of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6)
God’s power works through me (Ephesians 3:7)
I can approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12)
I know there is a purpose for my sufferings (Ephesians 3:13)
I can grasp how wide, long, high and deep Christ’s love is (Ephesians 3:18)
I am completed by God (Ephesians 3:19)
I can bring glory to God (Ephesians 3:21)
I have been called (Ephesians 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:9)
I can be humble, gentle, patient and lovingly tolerant of others (Ephesians 4:2)
I can mature spiritually (Ephesians 4:15)
I can be certain of God’s truths and the lifestyle which He has called me to (Ephesians 4:17)
I can have a new attitude and a new lifestyle (Ephesians 4:21-32)
I can be kind and compassionate to others (Ephesians 4:32)
I can forgive others (Ephesians 4:32)
I am a light to others, and can exhibit goodness, righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:8-9)
I can understand what God’s will is (Ephesians 5:17)
I can give thanks for everything (Ephesians 5:20)
I don’t have to always have my own agenda (Ephesians 5:21)
I can honor God through marriage (Ephesians 5:22-33)
I can parent my children with composure (Ephesians 6:4)
I can be strong (Ephesians 6:10)
I have God’s power (Ephesians 6:10)
I can stand firm in the day of evil (Ephesians 6:13)
I am dead to sin (Romans 1:12)
I am not alone (Hebrews 13:5)
I am growing (Colossians 2:7)
I am His disciple (John 13:15)
I am prayed for by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23)
I am united with other believers (John 17:20-23)
I am not in want (Philippians 4:19)
I possess the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16)
I am promised eternal life (John 6:47)
I am promised a full life (John 10:10)
I am victorious (I John 5:4)
My heart and mind is protected with God’s peace (Philippians 4:7)
I am chosen and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)
I am blameless (I Corinthians 1:8)
I am set free (Romans 8:2; John 8:32)
I am crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)
I am a light in the world (Matthew 5:14)
I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37)
I am the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
I am safe (I John 5:18)
I am part of God’s kingdom (Revelation 1:6)
I am healed from sin (I Peter 2:24)
I am no longer condemned (Romans 8:1, 2)
I am not helpless (Philippians 4:13)
I am overcoming (I John 4:4)
I am persevering (Philippians 3:14)
I am protected (John 10:28)
I am born again (I Peter 1:23)
I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am delivered (Colossians 1:13)
I am redeemed from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13)
I am qualified to share in His inheritance (Colossians 1:12)
Our WHAT IF journey had a great ripple across our church family. We wrapped up that journey this past weekend, and we are stepping into our Fall series with a special Prayer-focus weekend.
We’re calling that series “Game of Life: Same Game, Different Choices.” This 6-week journey through the life of Moses will be a great way for us to step into our fall season. Here’s a bit more information:
Walking through life we all face choices. Some choices are easy and some have much larger implications. These crossroad moments determine our path moving forward. So how do we position ourselves to not only be successful but also move in a direction that honors God? Join us for this relevant and practical series as we learn from the life of Moses and how the choices we make have lasting impact in the Kingdom of God.
Sept 3/4 – Exodus 1 – Dependency
Sept 10/11 – Exodus 2:1-15 – Choice
Sept 17/18 – Exodus 2:15-4:31 – Posture
Sept 24/25 – Exodus 5-14 – Defining Obedience
Oct 1/2 – Numbers 13 & 14 – Wandering/Desert times
Oct 8/9 – Deuteronomy 34 – Finishing well
Jesus once said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) In saying that, he revealed that salvation requires a divine initiative. It involves God initiating the impending encounter. And I’m so glad He does. There are lots of ways He can do that, and He also gives us a role in it. In fact, God has given us the critical role of intercessor…of Prayer Warrior!
God is going to draw people to Himself, but we are to pray for that to happen.
Jesus taught his disciples a lot about prayer, and he specifically instructed them to keep praying and never give up. You can check out Luke 18 for more on that. He also repeatedly told his disciples to keep on asking. (ref. Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:5-11)
Hopefully, you are praying for the people God is going to draw to Himself this fall through the Heritage family, but I know many of you have been praying specifically for someone for years.
Evangelist George Mueller prayed specifically for five friends to know Jesus throughout his life. One of those friends came to Christ after 5 years. Two more came to a saving knowledge of Jesus after 10 years. And after 25 years of prayer, his fourth friend was saved. Mueller continued to pray for his fifth friend for nearly 52 years. He faithfully prayed until the Lord called him home. The cool part is that the fifth friend received Christ just a few months after Mueller died.
Don’t give up praying! Don’t throw in the “towel.” Don’t give up after a handful of days or weeks. God is not bound by time. He doesn’t even look at time the way we do. He hears our prayers, and He wants us to persist in prayer until the end. There may be times you feel like giving up. Don’t! God hears your prayers, and He will answer them in His time.
Prayer matters. Prayer makes a difference! Keep praying.
Last summer, I had the privilege of taking my sons to Universal Studios in Orlando. Beth was attending a conference nearby, and I took the opportunity to have some father-son time. We did a number of things that week, but in one part of Universal we found “Rosie’s Irish Imports.” It was a small gift shop, but one of the few stores with primarily cultural items and very little Universal merchandise.
Having a strong Irish lineage and love for many Irish things, we shopped until we found souvenirs for ourselves and for Beth. However, as we were checking out, I noticed a small basket next to the register containing roughly 20 odd-looking brass objects about the size of a large marble.
They so piqued my curiosity I asked the salesperson checking us out, what they were. She told me they were brass pigs; and upon further examination, I discovered she was right. They indeed were shaped like pigs.
Well, at that point, I went from curious to intrigued, and I had to ask why there were brass pigs in a basket next to the register. She explained that they served as a reminder of how God answers prayer because Saint Patrick once prayed for food and God miraculously sent pigs.
She had me at “God answers prayer.”
I’m a sucker for how God moves in response to the prayers of His people, and I had to have one. So…I bought one; and that night, began to research this reported miracle of pigs.
You may recall that Saint Patrick was born into a loving family in the British segment of the Roman Empire. He lived a good and peaceful life until he was kidnaped by a group of Irish raiders, taken to Ireland and sold into slavery at the age of 16. He remained in captivity for 6 years, but was eventually able to escape. [You can read more here: http://livesent.heritageqc.com/st-patricks-day/]
During his return to Britain, Patrick was traveling with some sailors after they had docked their ship in Britain, but they had trouble finding enough to eat while crossing through a desolate area. According to Patrick, the captain said to him:
“…‘What have you to say for yourself, Christian? You boast that your God is all-powerful. So why can’t you pray for us, you know how badly hunger threatens us; its beginning to look as if we may not survive to see another living soul.’ But I told them with great confidence, ‘Turn trustingly to the Lord who is my God and put your faith in him with all your heart, because nothing is impossible to him. On this same day, he will send us food sufficient for our journey, because for him there is abundance everywhere. And with the help of God that is how things turned out.’”
After Patrick told the captain that nothing was impossible for God, he prayed; and after Patrick finished praying, a herd of pigs appeared in front of the group of men. The sailors caught and killed the pigs so they could eat, and that food sustained them until they were able to leave the area and find more food.
I love a number of things about this story, but mostly I love how Patrick prayed and God responded. It’s a story that reminds me of Genesis 22:
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” – Genesis 22:13-14
Now, it may seem silly; but that goofy looking brass pig has sat on a shelf in my prayer closet since I bought it. It serves as a constant reminder of how our Lord is Jehovah-jireh, Our Provider. It reminds me of my need for God, our need for God and how our Heavenly Father responds to the desperate prayers of his people.
Like Patrick, after we escape our slavery to sin through Jesus, there’s still a journey to take…a journey of depending on God, crying out to Him and looking to Him in our daily needs and greatest needs. The brass pig reminds me of my need for Him and my ongoing commitment to cry out to Him.
Will you join me in doing that?
Will you ask Jehovah-jireh to show himself to be Our Provider. Our provider of:
…wisdom …strength …unity …courage
…patience …resources …perseverance …and more.
What will you ask him to provide?
This starts this weekend!
Grab the family, invite the neighbors and let’s imagine the possibilities as we begin to walk through the book of Philippians.
Every significant movement in history has started when someone asked a “What if” question. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked: What if we actually did treat everyone as equals? The Wright Brothers asked: What if man could fly? The disciples asked: What if Jesus meant all that he said? We invite you to join us this summer as we journey through the Book of Philippians and ask some potentially life-changing “What if” questions. We believe that God is going to provide us with creative answers!
June 11/12 – Philippians 1:1-11
June 18/19 – Philippians 1:12-18a
June 25/26 – Philippians 1:18b-26
July 2/3 – Philippians 1:27-30
July 9/10 – Philippians 2:1-11
July 16/17 – Philippians 2:12-18
July 23/24 – Philippians 2:19-30
July 30/31 – Philippians 3:1-6
Aug 6/7 – Philippians 3:7-11
Aug 13/14 – Philippians 3:12-4:1
Aug 20/21 – Philippians 4:2-9
Aug 27/28 – Philippians 4:10-23
We wrapped up our He Still Moves Stones series last week with great times of celebration involving worship, Communion, Baptism and more! It was a great weekend!!
We’re still celebrating with the 40 people who stepped into the waters of Baptism boldly declaring that they are FREE TO LIVE in Jesus.
God is clearly moving among the Heritage Family, and I absolutely love it!!
This weekend, we’re stepping into a 5-week series called “Family Tree.” We’re going to have some fun as we explore the subject of family, and this series is for everyone. It’s not just for parents or kids. You don’t want to miss it. In fact, here’s a bit more information about it:
We all come from family – dysfunctional, crazy, connected or scattered – family ideally gives us our roots and our wings. The investments that we make in each other impact our personal development and the formation of generations to come. Family can be found in a variety of places, but is inherently part of what we should connect with in the body of Christ. Let’s learn together how we can build stronger families!
April 30/May 1 – Family Tree
May 7/8 – Dysfunction Junction
May 14/15 – Kidolotry
May 21/22 – Adult-esence
May 28/29 – As a family we go
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
– Old Proverb