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Week 4 – Trail Head 8 – Rationing 101
Trail Head 8 - Rationing 101. Ever wondered why Jesus talks so much about money? Did you even know He did? Join me in finding out as we explore the question, should knowing God affect our finances? Tune in, let's dive deep. 🎙️ #Trailhead #Stewardship101 IT'S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
Trail Head 8 - Rationing 101
Learning Godly Stewardship
Trail 14: Should knowing God affect my finances?
Have you ever been betrayed, I mean, seriously betrayed? Years ago, I had a close friend that I invited into a leadership position. I had shared with him some insecurities I had around my leadership being young and inexperienced. I’ll never forget the board meeting I was in when this guy I thought was my friend started sharing the personal things I had told him one on one with everyone else and using it as a reason I maybe shouldn’t be the leader. I remember leaving that night with my heart in my stomach, I called Jenni and told her what had happened and that I felt like I’d been betrayed.
The world of betrayers has some famous ones, doesn’t it? Benedict Arnold, betrayed America during the revolution
Or Judas, the most famous of all betrayers - betrayed Jesus to His death.
What if I told you there is a betrayer in our midst, would that surprise you?
Don’t turn to your spouse and say, “I knew it!” Lol!
That’s not what I’m talking about.
Actually, the betrayer is closer than a spouse, closer than a mother, closer than a brother.
Jesus said this betrayer will show exactly who and what your allegiance is to…
Listen to who or what Jesus says this betrayer is:
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Actually, what he fully says is this:
Matthew 6:19-21 & 24
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Jesus is saying, your treasure (money) will betray what your heart is most focused on.
It is betraying you…
As a matter of fact, how you handled your possessions was one of the primary topics Jesus taught on.
It's estimated that around 15-25% of Jesus' recorded words in the Gospels are focused on the topic of possessions and our posture towards them.
so, let me ask you this question.
Why in the world does Jesus make such a big deal about money if what He cares about is your spiritual life?
Seriously, I want you to think about that question for a moment.
I want to take you into a couple of events from the life of Jesus that I think will help us understand all of this…
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s fa
Week 2 – Trail Head 7 – Boots to the Ground
We're diving deep into practical faith. So, here's the big question to keep in mind throughout: How can we integrate our faith into every aspect of our lives? From understanding the significance of attending church to making God a part of our daily routines and discovering what we can offer to God, we're exploring the nitty-gritty of practical Christianity. So, grab your boots, let's hit the trail, and find the answers together! 🥾🌟 #PracticalFaith #TrailHead7. IT'S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
Trail Head 7 - Boots to the Ground
Getting practical with your faith
Trail 11: Why does it matter if I go to church
Trail 12: How do I integrate God into the rest of my life
Trail 13: What could I offer to God?
Trail 11: Why does it matter if I go to church
This is a great question right? Honestly, who didn’t ask this question as a kid. “Why do I HAVE to go to church?” I don’t know if I really understood the need for the church deeply till I experienced being removed from it. I had been in ministry about 12 years and Jenni and I moved to Wichita KS to plant a church - we did what’s called, Parachute planting. We didn’t know anyone, we moved and started building relationships and trying to start a church for people who didn’t like church. That’s like trying to sell pickles to people who don’t like pickles, lol. But something weird happened during that time. Jenni and I would go to different churches to try them out and see what they were doing. But we didn’t have a body of Christ around us. It was the first time as a Christian where I was removed from the church. During that period I experienced more doubt and depression than all the 16 years before that.
I was a foot without a body…
Why do you think we struggle with the question, “Why do I have to go to church?”
What are the assumptions behind this sentiment?
-Church is boring
-Church is full of hypocrites
-Church is irrelevant
Can I ask you another question?
Why is it, that there are Christians in persecuted parts of the world that are being killed for their ability to gather together?
Why do we dread the thing they are dying for?
I’ve noticed a trend in the church in the last 5 years or so. I call it “The Lazy River of Church”. People come to a church for a while, 3-6 months, maybe even a year. Something happens and they end up jumping back into the lazy river and jumping out at the next church. I have seen a few people come through our church about 3 times in the 3 years I’ve been here as they jump into the river and out.
Something is desperately wrong with how we perceive the church in America.
I want you to listen to these two verses about the church - and trust me, there are SO many more, but these are two powerful ones. Listen to the “why” behind their encouragement to keep meeting as a church.
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
Did you notice the encouragement in these passages? It is about people bumping into people - encouraging each other, carrying each other's burdens…
This doesn’t happen in a Lazy River church culture - because everyone who comes is looking for what they can get, not what they can give…
This is why we have a three-pronged approach to the culture of what it means to be a part
Week 1 – Trail Head 6 – Orienteering
Hey there, trailblazers! 🏞️ Kent's sermon is up, and we've got a question to ponder: How can we align our prayers with God's will for a more impactful connection? Tune in and let's explore this together as we orient towards God! 🙏 #Trailhead6 IT'S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
Trail Head 6 - Orienteering
Learning to orient yourself to God
Trail 9: How do I pray in a way that makes a difference?
Trail 10: How do I make God a Habit?
Last year I went with my daughter on an overnight field trip to Pine Mountain where they taught kids Orienteering, how to read a map and compass. The idea was if these kids learned this skill, they’d be able to save themselves if they were ever lost in the woods. Let me just tell you, after helping these kids, I don’t have much help that any of them are getting out alive if they are lost in the woods.
Lol, learning to use a compass and a map is a skill. Learning to navigate takes some dedication and desire -it’s not hard, but it takes focus.
We are calling
Trailhead 6 - Orienteering - learning to orient yourself to God
For most of us, our natural bent is not to orient ourselves towards God but towards ourselves
That’s why today, we are going to look at two trails
Trail 9: How do I pray in a way that makes a difference?
Trail 10: How do I make God a Habit?
Do any of you struggle with prayer? I know there are a handful of people that this just comes naturally for, but for others of us, it’s a HUGE challenge. I used to always feel guilty when I’d hear other pastors say things like, “The growth of your church will be directly reflected in your prayer life.” Because if I’m honest, I used to hardly ever really pray - even as a pastor.
I can take you to the exact moment it happened. I was taking a shower in college and I thinking about prayer and why we do it and I thought, “why am I praying if God knows everything I am going to ask Him anyway. This feels stupid”. And in that moment, I stopped asking God for things. I stopped bringing issues before God. I stopped engaging Him.
If you read the book this week, you know that I addressed some issues with this way of thinking. So, I’m not going to cover those, but what I am going to do is tell you what has changed everything for me when it comes to prayer.
Now, I do engage with God
Now, I do bring things before Him
Now, I do believe God wants to act based on our conversations
2 Key concepts about Prayer:
1. Key Concept: I believe God incarnates (comes in the flesh) Himself to us in order to have a relationship with us.
I know that’s a confusing idea, but let me explain with an illustration. Imagine, you walk into a candy store with your kids. Before you even enter the candy store, you know the first thing your kid is going to ask you is, ‘Mom, Dad, can I have some candy’. You know the request is coming - it’s not a surprise, you probably even have your answer ready for them. But you don’t stop your child when they ask. You actually have a conversation with them. You listen to their request - and they might actually even convince you to do something you weren’t planning on doing, like letting them get a few different candies.
The child isn’t forcing the parent to do what they want (well, not always) but they are moving the heart of the parent towards a decision the parent was already predisposed towards.
The word incarnate means “in the flesh”. Jesus is God incarnate.
When He came into the world, Jesus necessarily limited himself in order to deal with limited beings - humans.
I believe God continues to incarnate Himself with us - knowing w
Week 5 – Trail Head 5 – Fire 101
How and why do you read the bible? AND why are so many people intimidated by it? We'll bust some myths. Plus, chat about why reading the Bible is essential and why you can trust it. 🙏 Join us for an eye-opening discussion! 🌟 #HarmonyChristianChurch #Bible101. IT'S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
Trail Head 5 - Fire 101
Learn the heart of Jesus in the Word of God - a light unto your Path
Trail 8: How to read the bible and why
I can remember the day the bible came alive for me. I had gone on a mission trip in Arizona. We were in the painted desert - this beautiful and barren landscape with piles of dried dirt in rainbow colors stretching as far as you could see with huge valleys worn into them from the rains. We sat on top of one of these and my youth pastor led us in worship. At the end, my pastor opened his bible and read to us the last few chapters of Job… As I listened my mind opened to the word of God. I started to hear it not just as a book that was boring, but as a letter documenting God’s love and interaction in the world.
I literally went home and started reading the bible. I highlighted every word for 2 chapters in Job and then realized if I highlight everything it’s just as bad as not highlighting anything :)
Here’s the deal
this wasn’t my first time reading the bible
So, What changed?
I changed how I saw the bible - it was no longer a boring instruction manual - it was a love letter written from God
Three Big “Whys”
Why One: Why are SO many people intimidated by the bible?
1. MISCONCEPTION: It’s a huge book
TRUTH: It’s a collection of 66 books (27 in the New Testament & 39 in the Old Testament)
MISCONCEPTION: It’s hard to understand
TRUTH: You need to get a translation that’s easier to read, try the NLT or the Message version
MISCONCEPTION: I started at the beginning and got bored
TRUTH: Starting at the beginning is the wrong place because the bible is a collection of books - starting with the New Testament, towards the end of the Bible is the best place to start. It’s also ok to jump around from book to book.
How many of you find it super easy to navigate through Lexington? it’s funny because Jenni and I have a terrible time - I’m learning, but at first, we had to use Google Maps for everything.
Reading the bible is a little like this, the more you become familiar with the lay of the land, the easier it becomes to navigate. but you have to actually get out there and get into it..
Why Two: Why do people need to read the bible?
Maybe you’re asking yourself this question - let’s be honest, you’ve gone this long without reading it, why start now?
There are TONS of reasons to read, but here are just a few:
It gets you out of ruts (Kingdom of God thinking is not the thinking of this world)
So many people want God to speak to them and ignore what He’s already spoken…
I would even go so far as to say this is one of the primary ways God speaks to people is through His word. You are missing out on the Holy Spirit using God’s word to challenge, grow, and encourage you.
You don’t know what you’ve actually committed to as a Christian if you don’t know the word of God…
Can you imagine buying a car or a house and not knowing the terms of the agreement? It’s crazy to me how many people come to “get saved” but never decide to go further with Jesus than that. He’s waiting for you to go deeper!
Why Three: Why can I trust the bible?
when I first came to Christ I remember this guy telling me, “You know you can’t really trust that because there are so many people who just wrote it and made it their own and
Week 4 – Trail Head 4: Topography (get a lay of the land)
Have you ever thought about how you can supercharge your faith and increase your potential as a follower of Jesus? We're talking about the 4G Steps to Following Jesus: God, Groups, Growing, and Going. Want to learn more? Tune in and discover how you can step into the 4G's and experience a transformed faith journey. ?? #FaithFuel IT'S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
Trail Head 4 - Topography (get a lay of the land)
Understanding your part to play in the story of God
Trail 7: How do I live for God (God, Groups, Growing, Going Steps)
Did you guys know I used to be in a moped gang? We were called the Moped Mafia, we used to get together and really slowly ride and block traffic. A few years I decided to soup up my “hog”. It was sweet chrome rims, leather seats, and a smooth ride and a mean 35cc’s under the “hood”.
Here was the problem with my moped. It would only go 35 mph and I needed more speed, I needed it to go faster. So I took the carburetor apart and drilled holes in air intake. I put a better muffler on it, and up-jetted it, meaning I allowed more fuel to pass into the carburetor, which created a bigger explosion which made my moped cook!
I supercharged that boy, I dumped fuel into to help it go faster
Today, I want to dump fuel into your spiritual life to help you go faster in your faith.
How can you supercharge your faith and increase your potential? To become all you were created to be in Christ?
As I reflected on my experience, I found that there were really 4 essential steps that I have taken and continue to take that have supercharged my faith and increased my potential as a follower of Jesus.
We call them
The 4G Steps to Following Jesus
These steps are not “one and done” - these are Kaizen - they are steps you engage in daily to constantly improve your relationship with Jesus
The God Step
Intentional rhythm to help you set your mind on things above
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Imagine, you have a friend come to you for advice and they say, “I’m thinking of giving up on my marriage, I’ve tried everything and nothing is working, I want it to work out, but I can’t see a way…” out of concern, you start asking them questions, “how long has this been going on?” “have you tried to get any help?” You really dig in and try to see what you can do to help them. Then you ask the question, “Well, how much time do you spend together?” and your friend says, “Oh, I don’t spend any time with them… After we got married, I decided it would be better for me to stay at my own place. She wants to text and spend time together, but I just don’t know that I have time for that."
James says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Lots of people struggle in their relationship with God and that’s because they don’t treat it as a relationship - they treat it as a transaction.
“I didn’t want to go to hell, so I did what I had to do to get out of that.”
The God step is about you intentionally choosing to do things that put you in relationship with Jesus.
let me tell you how this personally looks for me. I get up in the mornings, go and work out. I will listen to podcasts about faith - not issues, but people who push me to go deeper with Jesus. I come home, I grab my bible and I spend about 30 min. I pray and ask God to speak to me as I read. I read from the NT, the OT, and a Proverb every day. I take my kids to school, on our way, we pray for their day - each of them prays and then I pray over them. We talk about what they are learning about God - sometimes we just talk about normal life stuff. It’s not
Week 3 – Trail Head 3: Hitting the Target
Each week we are exploring different trailheads as a part of Basecamp that can lead you to deepen your faith. This week we're exploring what your purpose is, how to get past sin and guilt, and how to have lasting power in your relationship with Jesus. IT'S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
Trail Head 3 - Hitting the Target
Setting appropriate expectations and your posture toward God
Trail 4: What’s my purpose?
Trail 5: What Happens if I mess up and Sin?
Trail 6: Will This Last? I’m worried I’ll go back to my old life
One of the best shots I’ve ever made in my life was as a kid, my buddies and I were down at a creek near my house hunting with our bb guns. I was joking around and as we saw this crow flying through the air and I said, “I’ll shoot it out of the sky!” I pointed my gun randomly, shot, and the bird fell out of the sky! It was one in a million shot. I went down as a legend with my buddies. They are probably still telling the story to their kids… :)
I feel like this is what most Christians are like when it comes to their faith. They are just hoping to hit the mark, hoping they get it right, hoping they make it through.
What if you could have security in your faith - knowing what you are doing, what to do when you are missing, and knowing how to make it for the long haul?
Today we are going to go through 3 trails at this trailhead called, “Hitting the Target.”
By the end of this, my hope is you’ll be able to aim and hit your target when it comes to your faith.
Trail 4 of the Trailhead:
What’s my Purpose?
Did you know when Jesus left the earth, He left very clear marching orders for His disciples?
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Bible scholars will tell you the “imperative” of this passage in Greek is “make disciples”
This means your purpose as a follower of Jesus is to make more disciples - followers of Jesus.
-not get more people to go to church
-not to be a better person
But to help more people be a disciple of Jesus’
What’s a disciple?
A disciple is a person who has learned to be just like their rabbi.
It’s why Jesus told us to go after people, to baptize them, and to teach them everything He commanded.
Disciples are supposed to become like the one who is discipling them - Jesus.
I like to say this like this:
I am Helping people find their way back to God, 1 person at a time
This is how we live out the mission of Advancing God’s Kingdom by living for God and loving people.
One of the things that gets people off target is when they mess up and sin. Early on as a Christian, this doesn’t feel quite as big of a deal, but as you grow in your faith. When you mess up, it feels like you shouldn’t be messing up still and you start to question whether you really are a Christian or not. For lots of people it leaves them in a cycle of shame and guilt that keeps them from actually engaging with God. So, what do you do about it?
Trail 5: What happens if I mess up and sin? How to set your aim at the target.
First and foremost…
You ARE going to MESS up. But you don’t have to GIVE up, you just have to GET up.
You are not saved because of how good you are, your salvation comes because of how good God is.
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation