Sermon Blog - Entries written by Jeremy Flanagan

    SunSundayDecDecember10th2017 December 10, 2017
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    SunSundayDecDecember3rd2017 December 3, 2017
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    SunSundayNovNovember19th2017 November 19, 2017
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    SunSundayOctOctober8th2017 October 8, 2017
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    SunSundayOctOctober1st2017 October 1, 2017
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    SunSundaySepSeptember24th2017 September 24, 2017
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    SunSundaySepSeptember17th2017 September 17, 2017
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    SunSundaySepSeptember10th2017 September 10, 2017
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    SunSundaySepSeptember3rd2017 September 3, 2017
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    SunSundayJulJuly30th2017 July 30, 2017
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    SunSundayJulJuly23rd2017 July 23, 2017
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    SunSundayJulJuly16th2017 July 16,2017
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    SunSundayJulJuly9th2017 July 09,2017
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    SunSundayMayMay14th2017 Following After Jesus: The Main Thing
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    SunSundayMayMay7th2017 Following After Jesus: He Is Greater
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    SunSundayAprApril30th2017 Road to Redemption: Restored Purpose
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    In the story of Peter denying Jesus we see a strong reminder of how even the most passionate followers of Jesus can fail Him greatly. The beautiful thing about Peter's story is that it wasn't over. After the resurrection we find Peter out fishing. Was he giving up ministry? Had he given up on himself? Did he feel disqualified? All these questions and more had to be swimming around in his head but Jesus came to remind Peter that his calling was still just as important as before.

    In today's message we will take a look at both the facts of this story and the lesson we can apply to our own moments of failure. No matter what we've done, God isn't done with us yet!
    Audio 20170430_sermon.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril23rd2017 Road to Redepmtion: Denying Hope
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    When the disciples were gathered after the crucifixion, Thomas wasn’t there. His delay in getting with fellow believers left him alone in questioning the resurrection. He even told his friends that he wouldn’t believe their word as they told him about seeing Jesus. That initial delay led to doubt - even doubting his closest friends. That doubt led to denial that the story of Jesus was true.

    When trying times come in our life it is sometimes natural for us to withdraw from everyone as we recoil in pain or doubt. But we must run to God and His people for support in times of trouble. When we delay, it can lead us further away from the only source that can give us hope.

    SunSundayAprApril16th2017 Road to Redemption: Misplaced Expectations
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    People loved Jesus as He entered Jerusalem for the last time, but only a short time later called for His crucifixion. Everyone can get too focused on what they want from God to realize what He's actually offering us. Whether it's the good things we expect but don't receive or the difficult things of life we feel God should have kept away, we can easily turn on Him as well.

    By the end of today's message I want us to be able to take the following steps. First, ask yourself what disappointments in life have we blamed on God? What blessings has that caused us to miss? Next, reevaluate your expectations of your relationship with God.  Thank Him for what He has given and how He provides.

    SunSundayAprApril9th2017 First Impressions: The Gospel
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    Last week we talked about the fact that Jesus did start a revolution but not the one people were asking for. So what was at the core of this Revolution? Maybe a better question is to ask what is at the core of any revolution? 

    In America it was the right to govern ourselves instead of bowing to a king across the ocean. In France, their revolution followed only two decades later for similar reasons. Both led to democracies where the people had a voice. In other places such as the Iranian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, and Cuba – the revolution against the status quo led to fascist dictators. 

    When it comes to religious and spiritual revolutions or change, you can often find just as different results. The leaders of Jesus' day were asking themselves if this revolution was real or did some new leader just want to gain popularity or power? In the eyes of the Jewish people, all of them were skeptical about Jesus at first, some would never even consider His message, but today we see a story of one leader that wanted to know more. And it led to the first real presentation of the gospel.
    Audio 20170409_Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril2nd2017 First Impressions: Revolutionary
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    What is the picture you have when someone asks you to think about what Jesus means to you? How about when you think on His character? Most of us - and rightfully so - think of His loving nature or His care for us. I do believe that is the most important attribute of God but we can't allow our joy in thinking about His compassion make us forget that Jesus also came to call people to a changed life. In His ministry He began speaking about that desire in a bold way.

    As you listen to this sermon on Jesus calling us to a revolutionary life you will hopefully ask yourself those difficult questions to determine whether or not you are simply following the version of God you enjoy or whether you are truly conforming your life to meet His desires & example. Below are a few articles that can help you during your prayer time this week. Read through one or more to help remind yourself the steps to take in determining whether you are listening to God's voice, your own, or someone else's.

    Audio 20140402_Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch26th2017 March 26, 2017
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    Here are a couple of articles that go over the miracles Jesus performed during His ministry. It is easy to take the glory of Jesus for granted but it’s important for us to remember that He truly does have power over His creation. When we remember that He is in control, I believe it makes us more likely to look to God in prayer and ask Him to help us in our lives. What are areas of your life that you’ve given up on changing? God has the power to help. Pray daily this week for one of these specific requests.
    Audio 20170326_Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch19th2017 March 19th, 2017
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    SunSundayMarMarch12th2017 March 12th, 2017
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    SunSundayMarMarch5th2017 March 5th, 2017
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    SunSundayFebFebruary26th2017 February 26th, 2017
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    Audio 20170226SermonREAL.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary19th2017 Overwhelmed: Holding on to Anger
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    One of the big things that happens when we become overwhelmed is that we may be overtaken with resentment. No one is there to help. It’s their fault I feel this way. Last week as we started this series we read a few verses from Psalms 142.

    Psalm 142:3-4
    When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.

    There are many occasions we can sympathize with David as we feel alone and absent of anyone to help pull us out of our problems. However in this particular case, David may have felt alone in that moment and resentful of those not helping, but there were actually 100s of men who had left their families to travel with David for his protection. Sometimes we can resent others however if we'll find a moment of clarity, we realize that we are overreacting. But how about the times when someone has wronged us and never sought our forgiveness? Do they even realize how bad they hurt us? Do they know but just disagree? Do they know but just don't care? Or are we holding on to anger about a situation that the other person has forgotten about and put in the past years ago? It's amazing how long we can carry our hurts around with us and how that not only damages that singular relationship, but it keeps us from feeling joy or contentment in life.

    Today we will look at the need for us to let go of our un-forgiveness and the anger it stores up inside us.

    Below is a brief summary we've put together if you would like more detailed steps in starting the process to deal with un-forgiveness. Inside are also links to multiple articles that can help you explore this topic further.

    Overwhelmed -- Releasing Anger Through Forgiveness.pdf

    Audio 20170226Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary12th2017 Overwhelmed: Running On Empty
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    Being overwhelmed looks different for everyone. The circumstances leading to it are different for everyone. But we all have this in common - at times during our lives we get to a place where we can't seem to hold things together. Whether this feeling last for minutes, days, months, or years, we all get overwhelmed.

    Over 25% of Americans are currently suffering from some type of elevated anxiety or depressive condition. That means in this room there would be between 35-40 people.
    11% of teenagers have a depressive disorder by the age of 18.
    30% of college students report feeling depressed to a level that affects their ability to function in school.
    It generally takes 10-20 weeks of therapy to help a person overcome a serious issue.
    Over 50% of Americans with major depression don’t seek help or treatment.

    As we get into this new series we will look at the things which cause these problems, the situations we stay in that keep us from moving forward, and how to make some simple yet powerful steps to live in the joy that a Christian faith can bring us.

    On our first Sunday of the series we mentioned two different books we would recommend for anyone wanting to go further into this topic:

    "Simplify" by Bill Hybels (click here to preview or purchase)
    This is our primary suggestion for extra reading during this study. Bill Hybels does a wonderful job addressing many of the reasons we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed.
    "Overwhelmed" by Perry Noble (click here to preview or purchase)
    We were somewhat reluctant to recommend this book for one reason: the author who wrote it in 2014 after dealing with anxiety & depression fell back into serious depression and was dismissed from his church in 2016 for alcohol abuse. However this doesn't invalidate the truths written down here along with some of the personal experiences he shares along the way.

    Audio 20170212Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary5th2017 Purpose Requires Commitment
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    In the story of Nehemiah leading the Jewish people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, they got off to a great start. Everyone was excited about the job in front of them and how great it would be for the entire city & nation. However in just about three weeks when they were halfway completed rebuilding the wall, the people were ready to give up because they were tired, it was difficult, and people in the area were against what they were doing.

    The question I would have asked them is the same one I ask us today: what makes us think that accomplishing anything great is going to be easy? Not filled with setbacks? Not extremely difficult at times or without opposition? Everyone says that we know to expect bad times so why does it seem we're so easily discouraged when they come? Last week we talked about how "Purpose Requires Passion". Today's message deals with the commitment we must have, especially when times are tough, to accomplish God's purpose for our church.

    Audio 20170205Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary29th2017 Purpose Requires Passion
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    Vision is something that comes out of a heartfelt need. It must either be born out of or adopted with passion. Nehemiah grabbed on to a vision that countless other Jews had overlooked. It's one thing to see something that needs done but to adopt that vision as your own is an entirely different matter. Not only did he adopt an idea, but he was willing to lead the plan to accomplish it. Vision must be accompanied with passion & commitment otherwise it like so many other great aspirations will remain unfilled.

    Over the next two weeks we are going to use the story of Nehemiah to look at how we as a church family must have both passion & commitment to carry out God's purpose for Pathway in our community.

    Audio 20170129Sermon.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary22nd2017 Going Public: Temptation
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Today as we wrap up this series about Jesus “Going Public”, we are going to look at what follows this moment of great recognition. What follows this moment where something spiritually great happens. And it’s also what takes place in our own lives often when we are making steps to honor God – TEMPTATION. Today’s story looks at Jesus finishing His presentation to the public by going it alone in the desert. But he was truly never alone.

    Matthew 4: 1-11
    Audio 01-22-2017.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary15th2017 Going Public: Identification
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    This week we take a look at the moment when Jesus truly steps onto the scene. He’s 30 years old as we’re told in Luke chapter 3. That’s the age a man was considered an adult and also the age at which a priest could begin officially serving in a full role. In the first Bible verses we read about the life of Jesus as an adult, we see Him coming for baptism from John. So why did Jesus get baptized? He didn't need to symbolicly repent of any sins like John the Baptist was asking of the crowd. Jesus had no sin. Jesus had no need of a savior. So why?

    When Jesus was baptized, He identified himself with those of us, which is all of us, who do have sins for which we need forgiveness. For which we need a sacrifice. For which we need a perfect Savior. Jesus entered those waters having no sin in His life, but He did so because He was accepting the responsibility of carrying our sins to the cross. He identified Himself with us. Then God the Father identified Himself with his Son. The the Holy Spirit confirmed the special event by identifying Himself with Jesus as well, God the Son here to save us from our sins.

    Matthew 3: 13-17
    Audio 1-15-2016.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary8th2017 Going Public: Called to Boldness
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    In our series about the life of Christ, we take an early stop to instead look at the life of John the Baptist. He was called by God to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies about preparing the way for the Messiah. John’s message was to “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” It wasn’t a call to religion but a call to a restored life. Now as to who John was, I think a lot of people get a misconception of him because of how he was described. In Matthew 3, verse 4, it says his clothes were made from camel hair, he wore a leather belt and he ate locusts and wild honey. Some people talk about how this was a wild appearance and that he was like some weird guy you see standing on a street corner screaming out things about God. But we find out a little more as we look at his life and the impact he had on the world. Audio 01-08-2017.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary1st2017 Going Public: A New Start
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    In today's message we look at the story of a 12-year old Jesus staying behind at the temple as His family traveled back home to Nazareth. After one day of travel, Mary and Joseph realized Jesus wasn't with the group. Today's story looks at the moment when Jesus quit simply being their son and made the first public recognition of who He was. His earthly parents seemed to simply go about their daily life, forgetting that they were in the presence of God. They were worrying about their journey rather than thinking about God's plan. Did they miss signs about Jesus coming into His own or was it all a surprise? But why were they surprised? 

    It was time for Jesus to start paying more attention to God's plan instead of just being Jesus of Nazareth. It was time for Mary and Joseph to understand that His path was going to take them all out of their regular family routine and into God's new routine. They all needed to be about their heavenly father's business.
    Audio 01-01-2017.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember11th2016 The Journey: Anxious Diversions
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    After Mary & Joseph initially were greeted with surprise confirmation about the deity of their son Jesus through both Simeon and Anna, it wasn’t long before they had to flee to Egypt to protect His life. Would their life ever be normal? Should they just run from the responsibility to carry this message in order to have a normal life? We need to remember that life isn’t really ever normal. Our decision has to be whether to make the story of Jesus a priority under every set of circumstances.
    Audio 12-11-2016.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember4th2016 The Journey: the First Long Step
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    Mary and Joseph had to come to grips with making those first decisions to follow God’s plan even though they didn’t know where it would lead. It’s often that first step that is the hardest for us. How do we begin a path to follow God? What will we have to change? Give up? Start new? But once we take the first step, the rest get easier.
    Luke 1: 6-45

    Matthew 1: 18-24

    John 1: 16-18
    Audio 12-04-2016.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember27th2016 A God Focused Home
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    As we've wrapped up our Family By Design series, today's message drives home the point of how little time is spent in learning about God, even if you or your children attend every possible worship service or Bible study offered to them. It is our responsibility to be in charge of our home's spiritual development. Audio 11-27-2016.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober16th2016 October 16th, 2016
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    SunSundayOctOctober9th2016 October 9th, 2016
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    SunSundayOctOctober2nd2016 October 2nd, 2016
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    SunSundaySepSeptember25th2016 September 25th, 2016
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    SunSundaySepSeptember18th2016 September 18th, 2016
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    SunSundaySepSeptember11th2016 Connected
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    We all want to be a part of something that brings us hope, joy, excitement.

    Watch social media after a Razorback win. We all share. We all want to join in the celebration. Then watch social media after a loss. Fewer people may be posting but still many of us do. Why? Because we want someone else to carry the gut wrenching pain with us. Whatever the situation is, we don’t want to feel isolated, not as a whole.

    Part of the solution to our isolation is solved by the personal relationship God offers to every believer. While placing our faith in Christ is all it takes to be accepted as child of God for an eternity, we still desire and need relationships with people during our lifetime. God set it up this way. He created us to crave relationships with others. Through this new series we will look at why we need to connect, how we are to care for each other, how we help each other grow, and many other aspects of our connected lives.

    Hebrews 4: 14-16
    Ephesians 2: 4-18
    Audio 09-11-2016.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust21st2016 Identity: Our Weakness
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    Audio 08-21-2016.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust14th2016 Identity: Our Past
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    SunSundayAugAugust7th2016 August 7th, 2016
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    SunSundayJulJuly31st2016 July 31, 2016
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    SunSundayJulJuly24th2016 July 24th, 2016
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    SunSundayJulJuly17th2016 July 17th, 2016
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    SunSundayJulJuly3rd2016 July 3rd, 2016
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    SunSundayJunJune26th2016 June 26th, 2016
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    SunSundayJunJune19th2016 June 19th, 2016
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    SunSundayJunJune12th2016 June 12th, 2016
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    SunSundayMayMay29th2016 May 29th, 2016
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    SunSundayMayMay8th2016 May 8, 2016
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    SunSundayAprApril17th2016 April 17th, 2016
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    SunSundayAprApril10th2016 April 10th, 2016
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    Audio 04-10-2016.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril3rd2016 Overcoming Our Humanity: Sorrow
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    A complete sermon description and links dealing with grief, sorrow, and depression will be online Monday, April 4th.
    SunSundayMarMarch27th2016 Jesus' Humanity vs. Divinity
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    On this Easter Sunday we rightfully spend time remembering the past. We look back at the suffering Jesus went through. We appreciate the sacrifice He made. And we celebrate the fact that by His own power Jesus rose from the grave to show that only He had power of sin & death. But I also like to take a look at what that means for us in our lives today.

    Jesus didn’t just die to give us an opportunity to defeat hell. He died to help us overcome the weaknesses of our humanity in this life. He lived as a human to show us that He can understand our difficulties. He lives today to give us hope that He is ready to show us mercy and provide strength. In today's message we will see how even though Jesus was both fully human and fully God while on earth, He gave up the privileges of His divinity in order to live within His humanity. He lived this way to give us hope. His strength even through His sacrifice can give us the strength we need every day.

    As well as listening to the message, we will soon be posting links to this page with some resource articles to help you better understand or simply reinforce what you know about Jesus' life here on earth.
    Audio 03-27-2016.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch20th2016 Exodus: Blind Faith
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Now that we're to the end of our series on Fear, Faith & Deliverance, we find the Jewish people at the end of the escape out of Egypt. But even though God had demonstrated His power through the 10 plagues, as soon as they came up against a seemingly impossible obstacle they completely lost faith in God's promise to lead them to freedom. So the question we need to answer for ourselves in this message is this: when we fall into difficult moments of our life will we have blind faith in God or will our fears cause our faith to disappear? Audio 03-20-2016.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch13th2016 Exodus: Death by Defiance
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    In the story of the Exodus of Israel one of the most puzzling scenes is how the Pharaoh would continue to defy God even when the Lord's power is constantly shown to be much stronger than they can stand against. At times however, we fall into the same trap. When either a punishment from God or the consequences of our wrong decisions affect us, we begin by saying we can ride this situation out. When it gets too much, we then ask for God to intervene. But as soon as He does and we feel some relief, then we say we don't need Him anymore. When the punishment or consequences continue we may even admit to our own sin but at the first sign of relief, we become defiant in our behavior or lifestyle again.Sometimes people will follow this to its conclusion which can be more painful than any individual can bear. That is what we see in the life and actions of Pharaoh. Audio 03-13-2016.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch6th2016 Exodus: Displaced Faith
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    As we get further into the story of Moses' answering God's call to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, we will see how both he and the people of Israel were so quick to lose faith in God's plan. Our human weaknesses are great but they are nothing God can't overcome. Our situation may be bleak but it's nothing God can't fix. We just have to decide whether or not we will allow our own doubts to become greater than our faith in God. Audio 03-06-2016.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary28th2016 Exodus: The Place of Comfort Becomes Our Trap
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    As we begin a new series in Exodus we will have a series of messages on Faith, Fear & Deliverance. Today starts with a lot of backstory and history. Check back to this blog post after Easter and I hope to have had enough time to put more resources together for anyone interested in knowing more about this period of Israel's history.

    In today's message we will see how God provided protection and growth during the Jewish people's stay in Egypt, even though the eventual state they lived was slavery. They grew from only 70 people to over 2,000,000 in just around 400 years. They were now ready to go back home and take the promised land of Israel. In this story we will see that sometimes our place of comfort can become our trap. Where God may have wanted us to be for a time or rest and healing isn't where He wants us to stay. The way He may have provided for us in the past may not be what we need to depend upon for the future.
    Audio 02-28-16.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary21st2016 Duties of a Citizen
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    Philippians 3: 17-21

    In today's message we will see how our mindset often determines our actions. God has said that if we are a child of God then our home is no longer this world. We are simply passing through. Our home, our citizenship, is in heaven. So who do we act more like: a citizen of heaven or someone more concerned with the things of this life?
    Audio 02-21-2016.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary14th2016 Love Is... Displaying Love
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    The sermon audio and full description will be up this week, but in today's sermon I will reference "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It's a best-selling book that has helped many couples discover the best ways to show love towards each other and to also realize the expectations you have of others.

    If you would like to start down that path without first reading the book, they have developed a website that uses a quick survey to identify your "love language". Do this on your own for a better personal understanding or with your significant other to strengthen your ability to effectively display love.
    Audio 02-14-2016.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary7th2016 Love Is.... Defining Love
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    In today's culture the concept of "love" has been used in so many different ways that many people don't really know what love truly is. This is the first of a 2-part series looking at love. Today we're going to talk about Defining Love and on February 14th we will talk about Displaying Love. We've pasted a number of articles below so during the week you can further explore not on the definitions of love but how they are lived out in our everyday lives.

    Different Types of Love Found in the Bible

    Different Types Of Love From The Bible: A Christian Study

    Unconditional Love Does Not Equal Unconditional Acceptance (parenting)

    Unconditional Love Doesn't Always Include Unconditional Acceptance (culture)

    Christian Love

    What Is Love

    What does it mean that God is love?
    What is agape love?
    What is phileo love?
    What is storge love?
    What is eros love?
    Audio 02-07-16.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary31st2016 Strength to Resist
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    One of the most difficult things we have to come to terms with is that no matter how hard we try to remove sin from our life, the struggle against temptation never goes away. However the fact that we constantly fight the urge to sin does not give us any reason to give into it. Many times we use the excuse "Well that's just who I am". The problem is that completely goes against what God has told us that when we trust in Christ our old life is gone and a new life begins. The only reason we stay the way we were before is because we refuse to give our entire selves over to God. We can't allow our passions to override our faith & knowledge of what God wants for us.

    Ephesians 4:17-24
    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Ephesians 4:25-32
    2 Corinthians 5:20-21
    Audio 01-31-2016.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary24th2016 Solid Faith
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    Often our culture determines whether or not a belief is valued simply trusting in our emotions or giving validity to something based on whether people passionately believe in it. We must realize that truth has to be based on something that doesn’t change. So many people today allow their view of scripture to be changed based on personal experience. It is hard to accept God's Word. It speaks about sinful desires we don't want to admit. It goes against what is accepted in many segments of our culture. But if we don't have something solid on which to base our faith then we truly have nothing. Our relationship with the church helps us create a stronger faith and find support in times when that faith is tested.

    ​Ephesians 4: 11-16
    Ephesians 4: 14-15
    Matthew 26: 36-39
    Luke 22: 42-44
    2 Timothy 3: 14-17
    Ephesians 4: 16
    Audio 01-24-2016.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary17th2016 Unity from Grace
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    As we continue our walk through Ephesians we get into the verses that talk about finding unity through the grace of Jesus. No one is a stranger in God's family. No one deserves to be there more than anyone else. However human nature can still cause divisions among us. This is a problem that the early church dealt with as well. In the Jewish faith, cultural division had been institutionalized. Even at the temple, non-Jewish converts to Judaism were separated from the inner court by a wall. It was short enough to see over but the penalty to cross it was death. Seriously, it was death. 19th century archaeologists even uncovered some of the ancient signs with this warning. So it's no surprise that the early church has difficulties living out the fact that God said we are all ONE in Christ. We have to overcome the same problem.

    Ephesians 2: 11-18
    Acts 21: 27-29
    Ephesians 2: 19-22
    Ephesians 3: 6, 10-12
    Audio 01-17-2016.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary10th2016 Strength Through Grace
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    As the new year begins, our church family will be looking at the book of Ephesians to hear a message that is broad and very applicable for today. It's not address specific issues in their church from 2000 years ago or dealing with similar things. Instead the book of Ephesians gives practical advice on how all Christians need to accept the grace of Christ and find their daily strength through Him.

    We do not have audio from the first message in this series but it is a study on the saving grace offered to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. Read through the scripture below to see the offer of forgiveness given to the world. We can have strength in our life because we know that what we do for God doesn’t determine whether or not He accepts us. Some may use that as an excuse not to serve Him but for me it is empowering. I can serve without fear. I can follow without guilt. I can work out of love for Him.

    Ephesians 1: 15-20
    2 Timothy 2:1
    Ephesians 2: 1-7
    Romans 3: 10, 20, 23
    Ephesians 2: 8-10
    SunSundayDecDecember13th2015 The First Coming: Redefining Purpose
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    While most people in the world view power and social standing as achievements, Jesus came into the world with a different purpose. Instead of a ruling king we received a servant to mankind. Instead of benefiting from strength, Jesus used His power to help others. His life was a lesson in humility and an example for us to follow.

    Romans 12:2-3
    Genesis 3:4-5
    Philippians 2:1-5
    Luke 2:1,3-12
    Philippians 2:3-11
    Audio 12-13-2015.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember6th2015 The First Coming: Redefining Life
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    As we begin the Christmas season we will see how the life of Christ redefined the way we are to look at life -- both the lives of others and the life we are given.

    Mark 2:13-17
    Mark 8:34-38
    Luke 19:10
    Audio 12-06-2015.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember1st2015 Freedom: From Addiction
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    The sermon audio will be uploaded soon but we wanted to immediately provide you with information that you can use for yourself or to help someone else struggling with an addictive behavior. Whether it's something people typically associate with addiction (alcohol, narcotics, pornography, etc...) or some other sinful behavior you can seem to put behind you, these steps provide a path for you to let God take control of the needed changes in your life.

    The Twelve Steps of Life Recovery*
    (from the Life Recovery Journey)
    1. We admitted we were powerless over our problems and that our lives had become unmanageable.
    2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    3. We made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God.
    4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
    8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
    11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.
    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    * The Twelve Steps used in the "Life Recovery Journey" have been adapted with permission from The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    These twelve steps each have a scriptural foundation that can be further explored through one of the following resources.

    Video Devotionals for Each Step

    The Life Recovery Bible

    Life Recovery Bible for Teens

    The Life Recovery Journey

    The Life Recovery Workbook

    The Twelve Laws of Life Recovery

    The Twelve Gifts of Life Recovery

    If you have sucessfully left a sinful action in your past but can't seem to move forward in the healing process or if you are still coping with hurt put on you by the actions of others, this workbook is something that can walk you through Biblical principles of allowing God to heal you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Healing is a Choice

    Audio 11-01-15.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober18th2015 Freedom: From Worry
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Matthew 6:34 tells us, "So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

    I wish that we could all simply worry about today but most of us worry about the future, the present, and even the past. How worthless is it for us to worry about things in the past that we certainly can't change? How fruitless is it for us to worry about things in the future that we can't change or have very little chance of even occurring? But many of us still worry about countless things.

    43% of adults suffer from health problems due to worry and stress. Worry has been linked to many illnesses or conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and more. Worry robs many people of the sleep they desperately need which in turn causes more illness or makes them less effective in their daily life - both of which increase stress. Worry can become an obsession and a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we worry about something, the less able we are to handle it. The more we spend time worrying, the less time we spend preparing. The more we focus on our worry, the less we focus on our faith in God to handle any situation.

    Today's sermon from Matthew chapter 6 will help us get a better understanding of why we worry and how we can rely on God to take this life-draining activity away from us.
    Audio 10-18-15.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober11th2015 Freedom: In Fulfillment
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    If you've come to this sermon post looking for the resources we recommend to help you discover what areas of life might be fulfilling because they match up with how God has created you, they are described below. A description of the sermon will follow.

    One of the resources that I recommend reading is Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado. In addition to it being an excellent book, it also contains a "Sweet Spot Discovery Guide" at the back of the book that takes you through a number of steps to help find the place in your life where what you do (uniqueness) + why you do it (glory to God) + where you do it (everyday life) intersect. Click HERE for a link to purchase the book.

    For a more in depth evaluation of how to match your skills / interests / personality with a career, you can visit for more information. The MAPP (Motivational Appraisal of Personal Potential) career assessment has been used by millions of people to help find what types of occupation you are suited for. Nothing can take the place of seeking God's direction for your life, but tools such as these can help you better examine how He made you.

    The sermon "Freedom in Fulfillment" tackles the issue of unhappiness that many people face every day.
    • Unhappiness on the job affects ¼ of the American work force
    • ¼ of employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives
    • 43% of employees feel anger toward employers, often for being overworked
    • 70% of us wake up daily without enthusiasm or passion for what we do
    • Most suicides occur on Wednesdays and most heart attacks on Monday morning
    Our main problem lies in that we often seek our fulfillment in our careers instead of God. While you may not necessarily be matched up with a career or place in life that is also in tune with how God has created you, even in less than desirable circumstances you can still find happiness by serving God through where you are now. It's not wrong to look for a change in your future, but you shouldn't feel that you are unable to make a difference where you are now. God can use you anywhere and you will only find happiness when you allow Him to work through you.
    Audio 10-11-15.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober4th2015 Freedom: From Busyness
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    All of us have certain things that we struggle with but most everyone deals with a lack of time to accomplish everything we want to do each week. This problem of being too busy doesn't just make us lose sleep or time with our families, it can keep us from nurturing a strong relationship with God and from serving Him. Today's sermon will help us identify a few areas where we can start to make changes in our life as we look at two examples from Christ on how to set priorities.

    If you'd like an extra resource to help you address this area, we suggest the book "Crazy Busy" by Kevin DeYoung. You can can that book HERE.

    Luke 10: 38-42
    Mark 1: 29-39
    Colossians 3: 1-2
    Audio 10-4.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember20th2015 Culture: Effective Engagement
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    Audio 9-20-15.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember6th2015 Culture: A Case Study - Homosexuality
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    Audio 9-6-15.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust30th2015 Culture: Devolving Mentality
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    Audio 8-30-15.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust23rd2015 Culture: Defining Faith
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    As we really start to look at the seemingly endless conflict between our society's culture and our Christian culture, we first need to define what the words used in these arguments really mean. Today's sermon will seek to define words/concepts such as tolerance, acceptance, judgment, and love. Until we can agree upon what these mean both in our culture and in scripture, it's difficult to move forward with any cultural discussion. Audio 8-23-15.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust16th2015 Culture: Tension
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Why does is seem that our social culture and our church culture are suddenly in complete conflict? How are we supposed to live out our faith with conviction while at the same time living in a way that allows us to connect with our community? Join us this Fall at Pathway Baptist Church as see what it means being called out while living within our culture.

    • August 16 - Tension: the constant pull from opposing cultures
    • August 23 - Defining Faith: taking a look at how we define love / acceptance / judgment / disciple
    • August 30 - Devolving Mentality: how we've taken what the church is supposed to be and turned it into something counterfeit
    • September 6 - A Case Study: using the current tension over homosexuality to explore the conflict between cultures
    • September 13 - Cultural Mission: what should our church culture look like

    Below you can listen to the introduction to this series given on August 16th. Join us as we begin our discussion of "Culture" on August 23rd

    Audio 8-16-15.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust9th2015 Basics:
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    SunSundayAugAugust2nd2015 Basics: The Bible
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Come back on Monday for more article links and the sermon audio.  Here are a few to get you started.
    Audio 8-2-15.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly19th2015 Basics: Baptism
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    SunSundayJulJuly12th2015 Basics: Salvation
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    SunSundayJunJune28th2015 6-28
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    SunSundayJunJune21st2015 6-21
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    SunSundayJunJune14th2015 6-14
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    SunSundayJunJune7th2015 Job - Our View of God
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    We will have the sermon audio and more notes / articles up soon, but here are some initial things to look at as you start into the story of Job or if you take our "Next Step" from June 7th and read the book of Ecclesiastes.

    One quick commentary / survey on the book of Ecclesiastes

    Why Does God Allow Suffering?
    Audio 6-7-15.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay17th2015 Family Dynamics: Practical Advice
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    The audio file for today's sermon was incomplete so instead we are giving you more notes than normal to pass along what was shared in the final message of our "Family Dynamics" series.

    In today's message I want to show you that there while there are some resources on parenting that are worthless, a lot of the research done on the family from a completely secular viewpoint comes to the same conclusions that we can already glean from scripture.  Truth is truth whether we find it by faith in the Bible or when researcher accurately looks at the world around them and is brought to the same conclusion.  The key is that we always need to evaluate what we find outside of scripture to make sure it doesn't conflict with God's Word. So for today's sermon I wanted to take a simple article on parenting tips to use to show how God's Word also gives us advice for how to strengthen all our family relationships.

    Proverbs 3:5-6

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart;  do not depend on your own understanding.
    Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

    he article I drew from was recommended by someone through a resource at the University of Arkansas Health and Consumer Sciences department.

    Ten Things You Can Do As A Parent

    1.      Get Happy Yourself

    a.      Don’t let our problems defeat us. If we allow failure or struggles to lead us to hopelessness, we will settle in to a cycle of depression. Our kids pick up on that. We need to show them that with God’s help we can overcome obstacles. We need to give them hope that just as God is our strength, He will be theirs as well.

    b.      Psalms 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.”

    c.       Philippians 4:8

    2.      Teach Them To Build Relationships

    a.      John 13: 34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    b.      Philippians 2: 1-4, “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

    3.      Expect Effort, Not Perfection - Philippians 3:12-14

    a.      12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

    4.      Teach Optimism

    a.      Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”

    5.      Teach Emotional Intelligence

    a.      Galatians 5: 16-17, 24-25  “16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.  24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

    6.      Form Happiness Habits

    a.      Set goals to increase social support and social pressure (accountability)

    b.      Hebrews 12: 1-2, 12-13 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”  “12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”

    7.      Teach Self-Discipline

    a.      Proverbs 12:1 “To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.

    b.      Proverbs 15:32 - He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

    More Playtime

    Rig Their Environment For Happiness

    Eat Dinner Together

    Proverbs 3:5-6
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart;  do not depend on your own understanding.
    Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
    SunSundayMayMay10th2015 Family Dynamics: Dedicating Our Families to God
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Heroes in stories always have to risk their lives and often go through trials or loss…. No different for parents. If we want the job of being someone’s hero, that’s the price to pay.

    Audio 5-10-15.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay3rd2015 Family Dynamics: Enduring Connections
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    We have turned the parenting relationship upside down and are more concerned with being their friend than giving them structure.  In these cases we can find parents who are striving for acceptance from their children actually putting the kids feelings above the importance of the husband / wife relationship.  While a good parent should be willing to give their lives to protect their children, they should not sacrifice the health of their marriage to please their children.  What it tells our children and everyone around us is that God’s picture of marriage – how Jesus provided for and cared for His church – it’s important but it can be superseded if we feel something is more important.  Today’s message looks at creating enduring connections in a way that provides long term health for our families.

    Here are some online resources I came across while researching today's sermon:

    Audio 5-3-15.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril26th2015 Family Dynamics: Unbalanced
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    If you're looking for the Pathway Parenting Survey that goes with this series, click the link below. It will only take you 10 minutes to complete and will hopefully get your thoughts focused on areas we can all improve when it comes to parenting.

    So far in this series we've focused on the marriage relationship. While we will still look at marriage some today, our series is shifting to look at the relationships between parents & children. In our culture today we have shifted toward a very child-centric view of parenting. This hurts our families in two ways:

    First, if we don't have a balance between encouragement & comforting verses instruction & discipline, then our children aren't getting the full picture of the relationship God intended us to model, that is His love for us as His children. When we focus too much on one side of our parental responsibility, we are distorting the view of God that we're supposed to be teaching our children through the way we parent them. We either show them a God that gives in to them no matter how they act or what they want, or we show them a God that is solely discipline without compassion or encouragement. Neither is a true picture of God.

    Second, if we don't have balance between the husband/wife relationship and the parent/child relationship, we again give them a distorted view of God. No matter how much we love and how much we are willing to sacrifice for our children, our primary relationship focus must remain our marriage. Again, the picture of God we are to show through marriage is one of love, commitment, sacrifice, and honoring each other. If we allow our children to steal that position of adoration away from our spouse we are teaching our children that God's commitment to His followers stays strong unless an easier or more rewarding relationship presents itself. Also, many marriages fail because the husband/wife relationship is neglected in order to put an unbalanced focus on the children.

    Today's sermon covers these broad topics along with other issues of balance in our parent/child and husband/wife family dynamics. In addition to listening to this message if you missed last Sunday, take our quick "Pathway Parenting Survey" at the top of this post or read through some of the articles below to help you better evaluate your parenting balance.

    Survey Results - American Views of Parenting Characteristics

    Articles on How We Must Be a Parent, Not Just a Friend

    Articles on Putting Your Marriage First and Obtaining Balance With Parenting / Marriage
    Audio 4-26-15.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril19th2015 Family Dynamics: Conquering Conflict
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    The one thing you are guaranteed in life is that the whoever you are close to is who you are going to fight with the most.  It’s that simple.  People you’re not around that much it’s not worth the fight, you just walk away.  The same issues we have with a friend or co-worker that we then have with our family are amplified because we can’t walk away.  Or at least we’re not supposed to.  Or even if someone does walk away from family, it is much harder and causes more problems.

    So how can we actually enjoy our family if those are the people we have the most conflict with?  Since we are going to have conflict the key is that we need to learn to resolve it. In order to do that, we have to first focus on ourself before we can try to address the other person.

    Audio 4-19-15.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril5th2015 Family Dynamics: Becoming Family
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    You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family

    The brothers of Jesus (James, Joses, Simon and Judas are all named in Matthew 13:55, and no not that Judas), had grown up with the very son of God living under the same roof:

    • Some of them would have been old enough to remember their older brother Jesus, at the age of 12, going to the Temple and teaching the religious leaders (Luke 2:39-52).
    • They were also likely invited guests at the same wedding when Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1-11).
    • Some of them would likely have been present, or at least would have been aware of when their older brother turned the tables in the temple, and how this act carried with it the bold messianic statement that the temple was ‘my father’s house’.
    • They would also have known that Jesus healed an official’s son (John 4:46-54), healed the man on the sabbath at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-17), fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:1-14) and walked on water (John 6:16-21).

    In John’s gospel, all of these events took place before John’s statement that, ‘…not even his brothers believed in him.” 

    Being physical family with someone doesn't make you automatically believe them or connect with them in a meaningful way. You have to develop that relationship. In today's sermon we'll see that God’s view of family is much broader than the definition of blood lines.  It’s by the definition of Jesus’ blood sacrifice.  The offer to become a part of God's family is available to everyone but we have to make the decision to trust in Jesus as savior.

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    SunSundayMarMarch29th2015 3-29-15 family worship sunday
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    SunSundayMarMarch22nd2015 Vision Part 3
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    SunSundayFebFebruary22nd2015 Jonah part 3
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    SunSundayFebFebruary15th2015 Jonah part 2
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    SunSundayFebFebruary8th2015 Jonah part 1
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    SunSundayFebFebruary1st2015 David: A King's Heart Part 5
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    SunSundayJanJanuary25th2015 David: A King's Heart Part 4
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    SunSundayJanJanuary18th2015 David: A King's Heart Part 3
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    SunSundayJanJanuary11th2015 David: A King's Heart Part 2
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    SunSundayJanJanuary4th2015 David: A King's Heart Part 1
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    SunSundaySepSeptember28th2014 The Power of God: Failing Faith
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    SunSundaySepSeptember21st2014 Choosing Confidence
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    SunSundaySepSeptember14th2014 Grace: Humble Compassion
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    SunSundaySepSeptember7th2014 Grace: Mercy
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    SunSundayAugAugust31st2014 Grace: Patience
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    SunSundayAugAugust24th2014 Grace: He Listens
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    SunSundayAugAugust17th2014 Grace: Freedom
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    SunSundayJulJuly20th2014 7-20
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    SunSundayJulJuly13th2014 7-13
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    SunSundayJunJune29th2014 6-29
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    SunSundayJunJune22nd2014 6-22
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    SunSundayJunJune15th2014 6-15
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    SunSundayJunJune1st2014 Unmaking of a King - Obsession
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel Psalms 0 comments Add comment
    Today as we continue our study about King Saul losing his grip on his kingdom, we’re going to look at the subject of Obsession.

    Just like in the case we see with Saul, anyone can allow some great frustration or some huge desire to cloud their judgment.  As soon as we quit looking at things objectively, as soon as we only view things with raw emotion rather than considering what God wants from our lives, we can spin out of control.  That’s what we’re about to see from Saul.  Considering that he has already thrown spears from the supper table to try and kill anyone who disagrees with him, to say that today’s passage of scripture is when he spins out of control is definitely saying something.  But when we become obsessed with anything that isn’t what God wants out of our lives, things can change for the worse at a very rapid pace.

    1 Samuel 22: 11-19
    1 Samuel 23: 1-28
    Psalms 73: 1-26

    Our "NEXT STEPS" from today's sermon encouraged you to find ways to help you keep your focus on God.  Below are a few steps to take if you're struggling with keeping your focus on what is beneficial to your life.
    1. SET A STRUCTURED TIME FOR PRAYER → Very few people are able to do anything consistently when it isn't planned.  If you want to hear what God wants for you, you must first listen.  If you want things from God, you much ask.  If you want a better relationship with God, you must talk.  All these can only be done through prayer.  And if you don't set aside time for prayer, you most likely won't take time for it.
    2. IDENTIFY ACTIONS THAT DOMINATE YOUR FOCUS → Like we said in the sermon, not all things that dominate our focus are inherently bad (work, sports, hobbies, time off, etc...) although we do often become obsessed with sinful things as well.  Whether good or bad, anything that takes our focus off of God or the more important things of life must be controlled.  If you can't figure what these actions are that dominate your focus, ask someone close to you.  Just be ready for them to give an honest answer!
    3. SET TIME FOR SPIRITUAL ACTIVITIES → Just like with prayer, we need to set priorities on things such as worship, Bible study (personal & with others), service opportunities, or other spiritually beneficial activities.  Once we have identified what we allow to dominate our lives, we can compare that with our dedication to even the simplest forms of spiritual obedience.  That contrast will help us make the right choices.
    4. FIND A WAY TO STAY ACCOUNTABLE → Without a way to measure success, we will quickly lost sight of our goals.  Pick one of the ways below to help stay accountable.  While the preferred method is the first one, at least find one method you will stick with.
    • Ask someone to keep you accountable. When we are fighting a battle alone it is easy to give up.  When we are fighting side by side with someone else, we are more motivated to continue the fight.  Even if it's just a 3 minute phone call with prayer or just an email, find someone to weekly ask about your dedication to focus more on what God wants from your life.  You may not always be able to say it has gone well, but then your partner can help encourage you to pick up the pace.  Not having any accountability all but assures failure.
    • Keep a journal.  The downfall to this method is that if you're not staying dedicated to steps 1-3, do you really think you'll be dedicated to keeping a journal?  If you want to try this, set a weekly reminder on a calendar.  Do it on Sunday, either before or after church.  Sit down and write about how you did with your prayer, managing the activities that dominate your time, and setting aside time for spiritual activities.  Be honest, even if you don't like the answers.  Each week, read through the previous weeks to see your progression.
    • Instead of 1-on-1 accountability, ask a group of people you already meet with (small group Bible study, etc...) to talk about this each week.  This method won't be as personal since you won't go into as much depth as 1-on-1 partners, but it can help you stay motivated.
    Audio 6-1-14.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay25th2014 Unmaking of a King - Loyalty
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment
    Last week we picked started a new series called the Un-making of a King.  It’s a continuation of our study through 1 Samuel.  This series picks up right after David kills Goliath.  Soon after, as David keeps winning victory after victory on the battlefield, the people of Israel begin to sing his praises.  This causes jealousy, paranoia, and rage to burst out of King Saul and he half-heartedly tries to take David’s life by throwing a spear at him.  This week we see that it goes from a half-hearted attempt to a full blown assassination plot.

    In the middle of Saul’s attempts to kill David, we see a couple of great examples as to how loyalty makes the difference between success or failure.  First how those loyal to King Saul begin to leave him and how those who love David show their loyalty by saving his life.  When we look at the subject of loyalty we can spend a day talking about how people sometimes betray us.  However today is a sermon about what true loyalty looks like and the basis for true loyalty.

    1 Samuel 19: 1-24
    1 Samuel 20: 1-42
    Proverbs 3: 1-4
    Audio 5-25.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay18th2014 Unmaking of a King - Jealousy
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Today's sermon begins a new series called "Unmaking of a King".  While the sermon deals with issues of jealousy and how it can destroy someone's life, it goes over some of the verses that people use to say that David and Jonathan were in a homosexual relationship.  This sermon doesn't spend much time on that subject although we did show all the passages people use to make that claim in order to let you see how much of a stretch it is for someone to make that assertion.  If you would like to hear a sermon that deals more directly with the subject of homosexuality & the Bible, listen to this sermon from February 10th, 2013.

    To hear the specific discussion about David & Jonathan, listen to today's sermon audio by clicking the Download button below.  Past the initial subject of David & Jonathan's friendship, the main point of this sermon is to introduce the series of sermons that deals with the unmaking of King Saul.  In turn, we see the rise of David as a leader.  This series picks up immediately after David slays the Philistine giant Goliath, becomes the leader of Saul's army, and is now a household name in all of Israel.  While King Saul is pleased with David at first, as David becomes even more loved than Saul, the king's jealousy makes him begin to lash out in anger.

    1 Samuel 18: 1-30
    James 3:16
    James 4: 1-3
    Audio 5-18.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay11th2014 5-11
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Sermon information soon to come Audio 5-11.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay4th2014 5-4
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    SunSundayAprApril27th2014 Proven - We Have Love
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    The resurrection proves God’s love.  The work and life of Christ all led to that day.  So many times He foreshadowed it.  So many things He did pointed to that sacrifice.  And you have to think about the many times He was serving others, knowing the part they would play.  Would they be the believers who after the death of Christ were hiding for fear of their lives or were they the crowd who enjoyed the free meal and motivational speech but joined in to loudly chant for His crucifixion?  But we know by reading all of scripture from Genesis through the Gospels, that everything pointed to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  No matter how out of control things seemed, His love for us pushed Him forward.  No matter what opposition came before Jesus, God knew the outcome and the sacrifice of His Son would happen in order that we might be saved.

    But at times this knowledge actually causes us to question God.  If He knew all of this would happen, why not stop it from the beginning?  Why would God allow the suffering of His Son and plan everything to lead towards that event?  With those questions in mind, why would this same loving God allow the suffering in our lives if He’s fully in control there as well?  If the resurrection truly proves His love for us, then why are there so many days where we feel that He has turned His back on our situation or the suffering of others?

    This sermon was delivered hours before a natural disaster in our state claimed the lives of 15 people and displaced hundreds others.  There is never a time on this earth that we can't ask the questions "why does God allow bad things to happen to good people" or "does God not care about the suffering we're going through".  However we will see from scripture that His love is always present.  He doesn't mind us asking those tough questions because He is ready to answer.

    Ephesians 2: 4-7
    Ephesians 2: 8-10
    Ephesians 2:7
    Hebrews 2: 14-18
    Matthew 26: 36-39
    Isaiah 53: 10-11
    Isaiah 53: 3-6
    John 11: 25-26
    Audio Pathway_2014_04_27.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril20th2014 Proven - We Have Hope
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    You can download the sermon below.  Also, check back later for passages to read about the promises we have in Christ from His resurrection.

    Until then, check out this video by the author of "The Case for Easter".
    Audio Pathway_2014_04_20.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril13th2014 An Unlikely Hero - Setting the Terms
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2014_04_13.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch30th2014 An Unlikely Hero - A Servant's Heart
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2014_03_30.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch23rd2014 Family Worship Sunday - Finding Our Strength
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2014_03_23.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch9th2014 I Am A Church Member - I Will Serve
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2014_03_09.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary23rd2014 I Am A Church Member - I Will Unify As we began this series last week, we started off with a sermon about the church called “The Body”.  We are commanded by the scripture to be Christ’s body here on earth.  In short, the church is a local group of believers that have joined together to carry out the commands of God here on earth.  It is where we find support.  Where we find love.  Where we hold each other accountable, both to the teachings of God and in our daily walk with Christ.  It’s where we can bring others to find a place where the love of God is supposed to be acted out in the flesh.  That’s why it’s called the Body of Christ.

    But did you notice how I said the love of God is “supposed” to be acted out in the flesh?  I said it that way because that’s not always the case.  Sadly, when a lot of people think about what church is, conflict is one thing that comes to mind.  Whether large or small, a lack of unity in churches is a reality that must be managed effectively if we’re going to do anything for the cause of Christ.  Today’s sermon is called “I Will Unify”.
    Audio Pathway_2014_02_23.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary16th2014 I Am A Church Member - The Body

    This week we’re starting a new series, both in our sermons and in our small groups.  It is based off of the book “I Am a Church Member” by Thom Rainer.  This book, our sermons, and small groups are going to take a look at what it means to be part of a church.  A lot of times you’ll hear us talk about our “church membership” and our “church family”.  Just because you’re not a member at Pathway doesn’t mean this series isn’t for you.  If this is the place you worship and connect with others, then you’re a part of our church family.  This series will help all of us find what it takes to make this church everything God wants it to be.

    Today we’re going to talk about what a church is and how that relates to the way we view the importance of being involved in a church.  In the end when you find out that a church is made up of people, we then realize how we participate in that church makes a huge difference.  If we’re to be the body of Christ we must act together in a way that resembles how Jesus would act if He were still physically here on earth.

    Audio Pathway_2014_02_16.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary9th2014 Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf -- As Long As We Both Shall Live
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Too often when you hear about marriage the topic is simply how to make it last.  Our focus will be to talk not only about how to make a marriage last but how to enjoy it.  We may say “as long as we both shall live” but is our marriage, or are we ourselves, truly alive?  We want to find both how to make marriage work and enjoy every step of the way.

    Do 50% of marriages end in divorce?  Statistics don’t measure every marriage, just the numbers from the previous year.  In America there are around 2 million marriages each year.  There are close to 1,000,000 divorces.  The actually number of marriages that last is closer to 2/3 than 1/2.  

    But new studies give some interesting takes on the current view of marriage.  If you want to go political, red states have a higher divorce rate than blue states.  Part of that is due to the fact that religious affiliation often correlates between those.  Red states typically have a higher percentage of practicing Christians.  Do you want to know what religious group has the highest divorce rate?  Baptists.  29% of Baptists are divorced.  Only 21% of atheists are divorced.  We see this for a couple of reasons.  First off, our faith teaches us that the only physical relationship that God approves of is in marriage.  So instead of living together without being married, practicing Christians are more likely to get married.  This higher marriage rate also leads to a higher divorce rate where couples that live together outside of marriage are not counted when they break up.  While this all makes sense statistically, it shouldn’t make sense spiritually.  We have a higher marriage rate because of our faith, so why aren’t we better equipped to stay married?

    It happens fast:  Average marriage that ends in divorce is 8 years.
    The average age of a first divorce is 30 for women and 32 for men, although for people getting married now, it’s dipping down into a person’s 20s.

    If you wait until later in life to get married, you have a lower chance of divorce.  But what does that usually mean?  I know many committed Christians who wait until later in life to marry and don't enter inappropriate relationships before they are married.  However, it often means that people live with multiple partners before you decide to get married.  Living together prior to getting married can increase the chance of getting divorced by as much as 40 percent.  They don’t trumpet that in the statistics.  So does that model equal happiness?  For those statistics to add up you find that if you live with someone and then marry them you’re more likely to divorce.  However if you live with 1 or multiple partners before getting married, but don’t live with the person you eventually do marry, it increases your chances.  I can’t tell you why, I can only read the statistics.  But I can tell you that the pain and frustration that comes from all of the live-in relationships that fail are not that much different than a broken marriage.  So that’s not a model we want.

    And we don’t simply want to stay in a marriage that is without love or joy.  Of the 60+% of marriages that last, how many of those are truly happy?  So here are the questions I want to answer today:  Where do you start?  How do you make it last?  How do you make it a marriage that you both enjoy?

    Genesis 2: 18-24
    Matthew 19: 4-6

    If your parents are happily married, your risk of divorce decreases by 14 percent.  It does help to have a picture of what a successful marriage looks like.  But only by 14 percent.  I would have thought that would have been higher.  I want something to increase my chances of staying happy more than just 14%.  So what is it?  The first key to staying happily married is this →

    #1:  Commitment if More Important that Experience:  

    You must determine What you’re willing to do in order to stay married.  If you take time to read the interview article of couples married for longer than 50 years, most have at least one thing in common.  They never considered quitting - they always kept working to make their marriage better.  It isn't enough to have two people that are commited to not getting divorced.  It needs more.  You must have two people committed to Ephesians 5:21 that says, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

    #2:  View Your Relationship as a Foundation, Not Just Another Building Block

    Acts 4: 10-12

    The bible tells us that Jesus is the cornerstone for our entire life.  It is by Him that we measure and build everything else.  In a similar way, our marriage must be the cornerstone by which we plan all other relationships.

    In life the average person changes jobs 11 times.  Changes careers 3 times.  Only 28% expect to have the same career through their life.  When it comes to other family and friends, they are also temporary.  Our parents may raise us but we will spend much more time living apart from them.  And in Genesis it made it clear to leave our parents and join to our spouse.  We don’t quit caring for them or showing respect, we simply place our marriage first.  The same goes with our children.  It is our responsibility to care & nurture them but we will only have them for a limited time.  We can’t allow our children to dominate the direction of our marriage.  It is unhealthy for you and for your kids.  Our marriage relationship will hopefully outlast them all by 2 or 3 fold.  It is much better for all of our other relationships if we first focus on having a strong marriage.  It makes the rest easier and more fulfilling.

    #3:  View the Other Person as a Gift, Not an Obstacle

    Proverbs 19:14

    It’s interesting to see how the writer in Proverbs states that all of the material things we can gain, everything physical in this world came from the world, but a good marriage relationship is from God.  How often have we looked at a marriage as being in the way of these less meaningful things as opposed to the gift that it truly is?

    Here are interviews the sermon referenced that talked to couples who had been married for over 50 years.  It's interesting to hear their take on what kept them together.  There are links to other resources as well.
    Audio Pathway_2014_02_09.mp3
    SatSaturdayFebFebruary8th2014 Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf -- A Song That Isn't Wrong
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    We are still putting together notes from the Saturday Seminar we had on February 8th.  Dr. Spann is sending us the presentation slides he used that shared results from surveys he has conducted on marriages.  It deals with issues around affection, sexual activity, and levels of happiness within marriage.  We will also share some of our notes from the seminar as well.

    Here is a link to the 2-page handout he covered at the seminar.

    If you would like to thank Dr. Spann for the seminar or ask him a question, he can be reached at 
    SunSundayFebFebruary2nd2014 Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf -- Winning the Wars
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    When you have two people in a dating or marriage relationship, no matter how much they have in common or how much in love they are, conflict is inevitable.  We are imperfect people.  We have different ways of looking at things.  We have different emotions, hopes, desires, personalities, and just about everything else you can name.  Because conflict is inevitable and since it robs many relationships of their joy, we need to look at ways to manage conflict in a way that strengthens our relationships instead of destroying them.  Download this sermon below.  You can also read through the 6 steps talked about in Sunday's sermon along with other resources.

    Ephesians 5:21

    Galatians 5: 13-18

    Steps to Resolving Conflict in Your Relationships 

    Step One:  Determine how your differences make you view situations unequally  

    Both small & large differences between the two individuals guarantee conflict.  Try to evaluate this situation from both points of view taking into account why you have differing points of view or reactions to a situation.
    Step Two: Determine where your own selfishness or pride may be in the way

    Selfishness is a character flaw which every person has.  It’s in our nature.  Sometimes we allow it or pride (which is an extension of selfishness) to keep us from self examination.  Cool off, be introspective, and find where it may be involved in this situation.  It rarely isn’t at least to some degree, even if it’s just in the way we react or in the way we want to confront someone.
    ​Philippians 2: 2-4

    Step Three: Resolving conflict requires confrontation

    The word ‘confrontation’ always seems like something bad, but when done with the intent to better a relationship, it can be a very good thing.  The worst thing we can do with actual hurt is to ignore it.  If we value a relationship then we should care enough to fix any problems.
    ​Matthew 5: 23-34
    Ephesians 4: 25-26

    Step Four: Resolving conflict requires a loving approach

    Conflict is easy constructive or destructive – there is no real middle ground.  To help make sure you do your part to make it strengthen your relationship, ask a few questions.  Plus, always remember your should confront out of love, tempered by grace, and with a patient spirit.  What is your motivation?  How is your attitude?  Is the right time and place?  Am I ready to listen?  Am I ready to admit any of my own faults?  Am I ready to focus on this situation and not bring up 20 others?  Can I keep from attacking them?  Am I ready to accept what they say?  Now you may not be able to positively answer all of these, but you should at least consider them to help you approach them in a loving manner.
    Matthew 5:9

    Step Five: You must be open to the idea of forgiveness

    If you aren’t open to the idea of forgiving someone then is there any potential benefit to confronting them?  Yes, you may get the situation out in the open which is needed, but was there a way to address it that would have made forgiveness possible?  Waiting for a better time, spending more time ‘cooling off’, spending more time in prayer or reflection on the issue…?  Albeit most conflict happens before we truly have time to go through all the steps, but we must accept that not only does God want us to forgive, no conflict an truly be settled until we do forgive.  That includes situations where they ask for it and those they don’t.  In the end forgiveness is between us and God.  The other person is just the circumstance.  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

    Step Six: Resolving conflict requires returning a blessing for an insult.

    One of the most difficult things to do when we find ourselves in an argument is to not become defensive.  Even if we know we are the ones at fault, our natural tendency to defend ourselves at all cost kicks in.  First off, if we’re bringing up a hurt in order to resolve it, we need to anticipate they might (or will) become defensive.  We probably would in their shoes.  Second, we need to anticipate their defensiveness might include attacks directed at us which naturally will make us lash out.  If we’re not ready to be the “bigger person”, which includes not pointing out how much of the bigger person we are, then maybe we need to wait to start the conflict.  1 Peter 3:8-9 says, “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” 

    In Conclusion

    Steps and recommendations such as the ones above sound great but are seldom followed as written.  Our lives are never as predictable and planned out as this or any method of conflict resolution.  However the more we try to remember these principles, the more often our hurts or arguments can be managed in a way that is more productive than destructive.  And before we purposefully initiate conflict, it is completely up to us as to whether or not it will be done out of love.

    * adapted from 6 Steps for Resolving Conflict in Marriage by Dennis Rainey

    Here are some other resources for you to look through:

    Audio Pathway_2014_02_02.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary26th2014 Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf -- What True Love Is
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Our society has so many different views of love.  The Bible even talks about different kinds of love.  But the love God wants us to have in our relationships is the kind that mirrors His love for us.  While we can't ever do that completely, the strive for this unconditional, sacrificial love is what gives us a chance for truly great relationships.  In this sermon we'll not only talk about love's different definitions, but what it looks like acted out in every day life.  Listen to the sermon by clicking on the "Download" link below.  We've again given you different resources if you want to study more on this topic.

    Three articles that talk about the 3 (main) words in Greek that were used to describe love.

    “Does Your Spouse See Jesus in You?” → make sure to click the “Next Article in the Series” arrows to read the full article, especially “Sacrificial Love”.

    “Learn to Speak Your Spouse’s Love Language” by Gary Chapman

    “How to Love Like Jesus”

    Here are a few links to multiple articles from  The third link is their article page for the category “Marriage”
    Audio Pathway_2014_01_26.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary19th2014 Mr. & Mrs. Betterhalf -- Foundational Expectations
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Marriages often start off on the wrong foot because couples don’t agree which direction their feet should go.  If you each expect to travel a different path than the other expects, then it’s no wonder you end up separated on your journey.  The sermon focuses on what God tells us marriage can offer and what things that only He can provide.  We also looked at the difference between decisions that have to be made, desires that we want our of our relationships, and when these turn into expectations.  When something is an expectation then we're not appreciative when our spouse, friend, or someone else meets that expectation.  It leaves no room for appreciation, love, or grace.

    You can download or listen to the sermon at the bottom of this post.  Below are some books that we recommend for relationships, especially dealing with the subject of "expectations".

    For those looking to start a relationship or to go back and re-evaluate the decisions you should have discussed before entering your current relationship:
    Preparing for Marriage: Discover God's Plan for a Lifetime of Love

    For those in a marriage where unmet expectations are causing conflict:
    As Long as We Both Shall Live: Experiencing the Marriage You've Always Wanted

    For any relationship at any stage, we recommend the "Boundaries" series of books by Henry Cloud:

    Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

    Boundaries in Marriage

    Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships

    Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children
    Audio Pathway_2014_01_19.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember22nd2013 The Gifts of Christmas - Humility
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Luke 0 comments Add comment
    There are a lot of words that you hear around Christmas – peace, hope, love, joy, giving, gifts, presents, wish list, unwrapping, elation, disappointment, guilt trip on parents for not getting what the kids wanted, removal of gifts just opened due to bad attitudes…. and did I mention peace?  In all honesty, Christmas may be a time when we do think about others but we’re usually wanting something out of this season too.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing but we need to make sure we don’t miss out on one of the greatest gifts that God gave us through the message of Christmas:  HUMILITY.

    Humility isn’t a concept we often think about with the Christmas story but don’t worry, our society doesn’t think about it very much any time of the year.  There’s actually a neat online site that measures the number of times a word is used in literature all the way back to 1800.  When you search the word “humility” you find it was at the height of its use back in the 1820’s.  From that point until today, it has decreased by 75%.  But honestly that doesn’t surprise me very much.  Thinking less about ourselves isn’t common.  Viewing our own needs as less important than other things isn’t a natural human trait.  But God tells us it’s necessary.

    Romans 11:18
    Philippians 2: 3-11
    Luke 2: 4-20
    2 Corinthians 8:9
    SunSundayDecDecember15th2013 The Gifts of Christmas - Promises Because of the ice & snow last weekend we had to cut our Christmas series short, but for the next two weeks we’re going to talk about the birth of Jesus Christ.  There are many great things about this time of year.  The greatest of these is that the name of the holiday “Christmas” forces people to at least hear about our Savior.  There are some things about the holiday we may complain about, but there’s no better time to get people talking about Jesus.

    One of the things many people, especially my 8-year old son, think about at Christmastime is the giving of gifts.  We all have things we want and sometimes it can become an expectation.  But the greatest gifts we can receive this year come from God.  Today we’re going to focus on the gift of God’s Promises to us. We’re not going to cover all of these in this sermon, but click the link below to see 44 different prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, many of those by His birth alone.

    44 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus Christ

    Isaiah 7:14
    Micah 5:2
    Isaiah 11:1
    Daniel 9: 25-26
    Isaiah 53: 3-5
    John 14: 1-3
    John 3: 14-16
    Audio Pathway_2013_12_15.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember24th2013 Rejected Deity: Grateful Obedience
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment
    We’re coming to the end of our series “Rejected Deity” out of 1 Samuel.  We started off by seeing how no matter what we’ve done, no matter how far we’ve gotten away from God, He is always standing there, arms open, asking us to come home.  Everything God has done has been to provide a way for us to come back to Him.  Next, after the people of Israel made things right with God, we saw that when God’s leaders give a bad example of following Him, people look to worldly solutions to their problems.  For Israel, it was a matter of their priests & judges misbehaving.  But for us today, the scripture says that we are God’s leaders.  If you’re a Christian that believes even the basic fundamentals of faith the way we do, then you are part of less than 4% of the world’s population.  So when we misbehave, it has the same affect: it pushes people away from God to find answers from the world.  

    Well the solution the people of Israel wanted was to have their own king.  Even though this was a rejection of God, He allowed them to have a king but told them that a king would eventually be a bad thing for them.  In comes Saul.  He was selected to be king and at his own coronation, the prophet Samuel told the people of Israel that a human kingship at this time represented their rejection of God.  So Saul ran and hid.  Not only did he not feel qualified to be king, but who would want the job that represents Israel’s rejection of God?  But even though Saul was put into a bad situation, God said it was up to Saul whether or not he brought God honor and glory.  The same is true with us.  No matter what we’ve done to put ourselves in a bad situation, no matter what others have done to put us there, or even if we were born into a rough start – in the end it is up to us whether or not we choose to follow God and serve Him.  And at first we saw that following God is exactly what Saul did.  But then he was faced with a tough decision.  

    Last week we saw that he and his army were in a bad match-up against the Philistines.  They were so outnumbered that his soldiers began running away, hiding in caves, and some abandoning the war altogether.  He needed to do something to restore their faith but what he chose to do was actually an act of disobedience to God.  Now Saul wasn’t trying to openly defy God.  He was actually trying to worship God.  But because of his bad situation, he compromised what God said was right in order to try and do a good thing.  Sometimes it’s the same way with us.  We’re not trying to openly defy God, we just make small compromises that we think aren’t that big of a deal just to get us past the rough spot we’re in.  But it never works out.  Just as Saul was finishing up, Samuel arrived.  He told Saul that because of His disobedience, God would not allow his descendants to rule as king.  God still won the battle for the Israelites at that time, but Saul lost his ultimate war.  And that brings us to today.

    God’s punishment doesn’t always come quickly.  And just because God told Saul that his descendants wouldn’t rule as king, that didn’t mean God was going to remove Saul as king today.  What happened to Saul was still dependent on whether or not he chose to follow God.  So after Israel defeated the Philistines and drove them back to their homelands, now God was calling on Saul to settle an old judgment on the Amalekites.  But what we’ll see from Saul, when we aren’t content with what God has told us to do or what he has given us, then our lack of thankfulness can lead to our demise.

    1 Samuel 15: 1-3
    Exodus 17: 15-16
    Exodus 17:14
    Deuteronomy 25: 17-19
    1 Samuel 15: 7-22
    1 Samuel 15: 28-31
    James 1: 16-17
    1 Samuel 15:22
    Audio Pathway_2013_11_24.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember17th2013 Rejected Deity: Best of a Bad Situation
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment
    As we continue our series called Rejected Deity, we jump forward a few years into the reign of King Saul.  Last week he began his rule by defying destiny.  Although Israel was destined to suffer because of their rejection of God for a human king, Saul still had every opportunity to be loyal to God and be a blessing rather than a curse.  In one of his first acts as king we saw him step out on faith and rescue the city of Jabesh out of the control of the Ammonites.  Saul brought joy to Israel and honor to God.  But the test of a person’s character doesn’t come when they succeed or times are good, it is truly tested when they face failure.

    In today’s sermon we see what Saul does when he’s faced with a battle that has an ever increasing chance of defeat.  We see what happens when help doesn’t arrive on the timeline he expects.  We see what happens when the people around him start to melt away in fear.  At times in our lives we are often faced with “no win” situations.  So what do we do?  It’s often said that we have to make the best of a bad situation, but what about if that means compromising something we know to be wrong?  Today we’ll see the Biblical teaching reinforced that whenever we do wrong to make the best of a bad situation, we may win the battle but lose the war.

    1 Samuel 12: 13-15
    1 Samuel 12: 20-25
    1 Samuel 13: 1-9
    1 Samuel 13: 8-14
    James 4:17
    Psalms 119: 1-4
    Audio Pathway_2013_11_17.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember10th2013 Rejected Deity: Defying Destiny
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment

    Last week we read the story of Israel rejecting God’s rule, partially because of immoral behavior from Israel’s spiritual leaders.  This week we will see Saul chosen as king.  But how would you like to be chosen as king after what we learned in 1 Samuel chapter 8?  Samuel told Israel that eventually an earthly king will exercise his rights.  That means he’ll take their possessions as his own and tax their earnings, land, food, and cattle.  He’ll force men & boys to fight in his army and force women to serve in his palace.  Some he’ll take as his slaves.  And God won’t step in to stop the king that Israel asked for in His place.  So who would want to answer that Help Wanted ad?  But even though Israel was destined to suffer because of their choice it didn’t mean that Saul was destined to be that type of king.  Saul started with every opportunity to be a king, a man, that honored God and served Him well, even though his was placed in a bad situation.  We have that same opportunity.  No matter what situation we’ve been born into, pushed into, or found ourselves in, we get to choose whether or not to give into “destiny” or to defy it.

    On Veteran’s Day our story opening story of defying destiny is very appropriate.  If you don’t know of the Doolittle Raiders, it’s a tale of changing momentum in WWII.  Months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, these pilots staged an unlikely raid on Japan itself.  While most didn’t expect success or much of a survival rate, out of 80 men on the crew, 3 died in the attack, 3 were caught and executed, and 1 more died in a Japanese prison.  But even more amazing than the survival of 73 crewman were the results:  even though they didn’t destroy much in the way of sensitive targets, it changed morale both in Japan and the US and it forced the Japanese to recall their aircraft carrier force back home from being in the Indian Ocean.  These men were destined to fail but they defied destiny.  Your life is never out of your hands.  You always have a choice on what to do next. 

    1 Samuel 9: 15-17
    1 Samuel 10: 1-27
    1 Samuel 11: 11-15
    Psalms 138: 6-8 

    Online Stories About the Doolittle Raiders

    SunSundayNovNovember3rd2013 Rejected Deity: Dual Betrayal
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment

    As we continue our series called Rejected Deity, last week we began with a very hopeful message from God:  “Time to Come Home”.  No matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve run away, God always has his arms open for us to come home to Him.  Not only is that message to us, but it was His continual message to the nation of Israel.  His promise to them was always the same.  If they followed God, He would bless and protect them.  But today and for the next few weeks we will look at the story of how Israel rejected God’s leadership which led to the reign of King Saul. 

    I’ll explain why I’m calling this message “Dual Betrayal” but we start by seeing how immoral leadership by so-called spiritual leaders can lead to a rejection of God.  One of the main reasons people give for rejecting Christianity are Christians that behave badly.  Then when you look at how Christian leaders are viewed, you see a double standard.  We’ve all seen the stories of Christian leaders who fall, or even just basic moral leaders who fall.  If you don’t embrace morality, then people defend your sins, however if you ever try to stand up for morality then you get knocked down over and over again after you slip up.  But Christians can’t complain about that.  Less than 4% of the world’s population agree with what we believe about the most basic doctrines of who Jesus was and what it takes to get to heaven.  That means we are His leaders here on earth.  The most basic Christian is a worldwide ambassador for Jesus.  We need to realize how important our responsibility is as we see the Israelites reject God for an earthly king.

    1 Samuel 8: 1-22
    Matthew 7: 1-2
    1 Corinthians 8:9
    1 Timothy 4:12
    Hebrews 13:5
    Audio Pathway_11_03_2013.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober27th2013 Rejected Deity: Time to Come Home
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel 0 comments Add comment

    This week we’re picking back up in our study through 1 Samuel with a 5-week series called Rejected Deity.  Through November we’re going to learn some great life lessons about how to handle responsibility when others around us are making bad decisions, what happens when we choose to make the best of a bad situation by compromising our principles, and how a series of bad judgments can lead us to completely turning away from God.  But before we see how God’s people can sometimes turn away from Him, we start in 1 Samuel chapter 7 with God’s continuing message:  Come Home.  No matter what we’ve done, no matter how ridiculous we may feel about coming back to God in the middle of our mess, He is always waiting.

    Before we jump in, I want to refresh you or for those who weren’t here for our Samson series last year, I want to give you a little history behind what we’re reading.  If you just pick up in 1 Samuel you miss a huge portion of the story.

    Background leading up to 1 Samuel 7:

    • For a period of a couple hundred years between the death of Joshua and the reign of king Saul, God raised up a series of Judges to keep Israel from being completely overrun.
    • But because of their disobedience, God allowed other countries to invade and conquer portions of their land.
    • The Philistines inhabited the area of Gaza.  At this time in history they pushed into Israel and took over the inheritance of Dan along with some of Judah and Benjamin.  Dan moved to the north.
    • The confusing thing about the Old Testament is that we expect the books of the Bible and the stories in them to be in chronological order, but that isn’t always the case.  If we want to find out what happened between the birth of Samson and the time when our story picks up in Judges 14, we first need to look at 1 Samuel chapters 4-6.  You see that the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines and then returned to Israel because of God’s punishment on them.

    1 Samuel 7: 1-14
    1 Corinthians 7: 8-11
    Isaiah 40: 29-31

    SunSundayOctOctober6th2013 The Life of Worship
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Chronicles 0 comments Add comment
    Today we’re passing the halfway point of our 4-week series on worship.  As I began the first sermon, we didn’t start with talking about us.  Because worship isn’t about us.  True worship IS about God.  If our worship is more about us then we’re really not worshipping.  So we started with a sermon called “The God We Worship” and looked at what the Bible says about our need to find out who He is and what He has asked from His people.  In reading the story of how Israel abandoned God just a short time after he miraculously brought them out of Egypt, we saw how quickly we can lose sight of who God is and what He’s done.  So we all have to answer the question, “Are We Worshipping the God Who Is, or the God You Want Him to Be?”  

    Last week we talked about “The Way We Worship”.  What you see from any verse on worship is that is involves an act on our part but it is focused completely on God.  Our problem is that most conversations we have on worship assume that God will be glorified no matter what we do so the main issue is to find out what works best for us.  I’m not saying that isn’t important, I’m just saying that we often get it backwards.  When we do look to see what type of public worship service God approved of, all we see is that it must be from the heart.  When we try to say one way of worship is greater than another, we are putting restrictions on the heart that God didn’t make.  If the Spirit of God is working on you to worship Him in a certain way and you suppress that because of what’s “allowed”, then you are telling God’s Spirit ‘no’.  And He’ll move on.  As a church we have to be open to the Holy Spirit and not close ourselves off from what He’s doing within our people.

    1 Chronicles 16:29
    Isaiah 29: 13-14
    Romans 12: 1-2
    1 Peter 2: 9-10
    Audio Pathway_10_06_2013.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember29th2013 The Way We Worship
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_09_29_2013.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember22nd2013 The God We Worship
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_09_22_2013.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember8th2013 Connect Through Small Groups
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Acts 0 comments Add comment
    Each year at this time we have “Small Group Sunday” at Pathway.  It’s a point in the year when new groups are started and existing groups all begin a new series.  That makes it a perfect time for people to try one out.  We focus on small groups so much because that is the best way for people at Pathway to connect with each other.

    In today’s sermon we have to start in Acts chapter 2.  The entire New Testament framework for small group ministry is found in the actions of the early days of the church in Jerusalem.  But we don’t stop there.  Throughout all of the New Testament we hear God call us to find certain aspects of our faith by our relationships with other Christians.  We can find encouragement, acceptance, instruction, sharing our burdens, confessing our sins, and mutual prayer through small groups.  And as we fulfill these commands and reap the benefits God has promised, we will show the world a true picture of Christianity.

    Acts 2: 42-47
    Acts 2: 41
    Romans 15: 5, 7, 14
    Galatians 6:2
    James 5:16
    1 John 4:12
    Acts 2: 47
    Audio Pathway_09_08_2013.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember1st2013 Connect With Your Family
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    In our Connect series we’ve come to the Sunday that we’re going to discuss connecting with our families.  Now all of the other sermons in this series are more about making new connections or utilizing our connections in a different way.  But when we talk about families, those connections are already made.  In some circumstances you can break them, but even then, connections with family (or ex-family) members never fully go away.  They are just broken.  And many of our current relationships with family are somewhat broken or at the very least, not taken care of very well.

    This sermon is going to focus on two family connections:  those in a marriage, and those between parents & children.  And the good thing is that all of lessons we learn from these relationships also translate into every other family relationship we have.  And if some of the things we’re talking about don’t seem to matter to you at this point and time, look at it this way.  If you’re a teenager and I’m talking about marriage, think about how you can encourage your parents or step-parents to strengthen their relationship.  If you’re unmarried but would like to be one day, begin mentally preparing yourself now to start out your relationship on a solid footing.  And if you’re no longer married and at a stage of life that it’s behind you, find ways to help strengthen others that can learn from your wisdom.

    When it comes to children, again if you’re a teenager or soon to be one, try to see how your parents’ desire to care for you comes from God.  Listen to how important it is for them to be involved in your life.  If you have kids or that might be in your future, take from these stories the importance of investing in these relationships.  What you invest, good or bad, will return to you.

    As you listen to this sermon, it will become very evident as to what the scripture says is necessary (outside of faith in God) for healthy relationships:  TIME.  Here are just a few facts to get us started:
    • Families spend just eight hours a week together on average
    • Weekend is best with two hours & twenty minutes devoted to the family each day
    • During the week the amount of time shrinks to just 36 minutes on average each day
    But we can’t just start spending meaningless time together, it must be time well spent.

    Ephesians 5: 31-33
    Song of Solomon 8: 6-7
    Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
    Ephesians 5: 28-29
    Ephesians 4: 26-27
    Ephesians 6: 1-4
    1 Kings 1:6
    Matthew 22: 37-39
    Audio Pathway_09_01_2013.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust25th2013 Connect With Your Circle
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Acts 0 comments Add comment
    As we continue our 6-week series on Connecting with each other we’re going to focus on how we use our circle, our network of friends / family / co-workers / etc… for the cause of Christ.  And at the same time, how it strengthens us.

    In the first passage we will read, Paul tells the church at Corinth that he has become “all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some”.  When you think about people in your ‘circle’, that includes everyone you come in contact with.  Yes, your close friends and family are at the center but what about that person at the convenience store who you might not know their name, but you both know who each other are and greet each other when you stop in.  As we go through the sermon today, I want you to start by realizing that you never know on any given day whether it will be the person at the center of your circle or someone on the fringe that God will give you an opportunity to affect for eternity.  With that lack of certainty, all we do know for certain is that we need to be ready to be all things to all people all of the time.

    1 Corinthians 9:19-23
    Acts 9: 13-18
    Acts 9: 19-22
    Acts 9: 23
    Acts 11: 25-26
    Acts 13: 2-3
    1 Corinthians 9:19, 23
    Audio Pathway_08_25_2013.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust18th2013 Connect Through Prayer
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Ephesians Luke 0 comments Add comment
    Today we continue our 6-week series on Connecting with each other.  How to find community in Christ.  How to get woven into the fabric of our family & church and then how to invite others to do the same – not simply through an outward act of evangelism but in the way we live out our lives together as part of God’s family.  We started by talking about connecting through volunteering.  We’re going to look at Connecting with our circle of friends, in small groups, with our family, and in serving our community.  But today we’re going to talk about what genuine prayer really does for us and those around us.

    Something I say all the time is “Prayer is not thinking, prayer is praying.”  Often when we tell others we are praying for them, all we really do is just think about them for a second.  Do we take it past that moment of thought?  Do we believe that’s all that is necessary?  True prayer is when we stop to mentally, emotionally, and spiritually connect with God.  And when we pray for others, we are lifting up their needs to God.  When you do that, you will find that prayer will also connect you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to their needs as well.  Prayer truly draws us closer to each other as we lift up each other to God.

    Ephesians 6: 18-20
    Luke 11: 9-13
    James 2: 15-17
    1 John 1: 5-10
    Audio Pathway_08_18_2013.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust11th2013 Connect Through Volunteering Today we’re starting our 6-week series on Connecting with each other.  How to find community in Christ.  How to get woven into the fabric of our family & church and then how to invite others to do the same – not simply through an outward act of evangelism but in the way we live out our lives together as part of God’s family.  We’re going to look at Connecting through prayer, in small groups, with our family, and in serving our community.  But with today being our focus on volunteering, we’re going to talk about how serving each other within a church connects us to our church family.

    Our opening passage of scripture (1 Peter 2: 1-5, 9-10) talks about how all Christians are now part of the priesthood.  You and I are priests of God.  Back in the Old Testament, a priest was a very special person.
    • They were “go-betweens” for men and God
    • They led in worship and taught from the Scriptures
    • They wore special robes that distinguished them from other worshippers
    • Only they could handle the holy things of God (incense, sacrifices, the furniture of the tabernacle – anything related to worship)
    • They had a distinctive initiation before entering their office
    • And not just everyone could become a Priest - you had to born of the tribe of Levi
    So now that we are all priests, what is the role of a church staff?  What is the role of every member?  How should this change affect the way we view our individual role within the church and within Christianity in general?

    1 Peter 2: 1-5, 9-10
    Ephesians 4: 11-16
    1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
    Audio Pathway_08_11_2013.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly14th2013 Speaking God's Truth
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_07_14_2013.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly7th2013 Learning to Trust God
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_07_07_2013.mp3
    SunSundayJunJune30th2013 Base Camp: Our Relationship with Others
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_06_30_2013.mp3
    SunSundayJunJune23rd2013 Base Camp: Our Relationship with God
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_06_23_2013.mp3
    SunSundayJunJune16th2013 Base Camp: Baptistm
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_06_16_2013.mp3
    SunSundayJunJune9th2013 Base Camp: Salvation
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_06_09.mp3
    SunSundayJunJune2nd2013 Family Worship Sunday: Standing Out in a Crowd
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_06_02.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay19th2013 Hearing the Voice of God Part II
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_05_19.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay12th2013 Hearing the Voice of God Part I
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_05_12.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay5th2013 Following Reason
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_05_05.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril28th2013 Following Foolishness
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_04_28.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril21st2013 Clearing the Way: Modify
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2013_04_21.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril7th2013 Clearing the Way: Released
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Colossians 0 comments Add comment
    Last week as we looked at EMPTIED, we saw how we not only need to empty ourselves of 
    the things in our life that keep us from having a close relationship with God, but we need 
    to empty ourselves of any ideas that Jesus is anything less than completely God.  Now that 
    we’ve hopefully emptied ourselves of the things which keep us from having a relationship with 
    God, we need to be released from any human rules and rituals that we elevate to the level of 
    scripture.  In other words, if it’s not in the Bible, then it’s not a command by God.

    Comfortable actions can be useful to remind us of our faith, but our faith must be more than 
    those actions.  Also, just because something “feels” right to us, if it’s not required by God then 
    we can’t expect or require other people to follow the same traditions as we do.  This sermon 
    tries to look at this with a few practical examples to hopefully help us distinguish between what 
    may be a good thing to do, what is neutral, and what is actually commanded by God.

    Colossians 2: 6-23
    Audio Pathway_2013_04_07.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch31st2013 Clearing the Way: Emptied “Clearing the Way” is going to be a 4-week study through the letter Paul wrote to the 
    Colossians.  They were a church he had never visited but he was excited to hear about their 
    faith in Christ.  At the same time, he was encouraging them to let their faith become more than 
    just belief but to allow God to do great things through their everyday lives.  But first they had to 
    clear away the questions, the human rules, past mistakes, and anything else that was holding 
    them back.

    Today we’re going to look at being EMPTIED but before we start talking about the things in our 
    life that need to be emptied, being Easter Sunday I want us to celebrate what God emptied for 

    One of the biggest lies people tell about Jesus isn’t that He wasn’t real – it’s that He’s not really 
    God.  But they don’t say Jesus isn’t really God, they just try to throw doubts about what that 
    means.  They try to make Jesus more like us and less like God on the throne.  If they succeed, 
    then they’ve convinced people that Jesus is something less than God, not worthy of faith, and 
    unable to truly change their lives.

    Colossians 1: 15-23
    John 20: 19-21
    Romans 8: 5-6
    Audio Pathway_2013_03_31.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch24th2013 Broken
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Isaiah Matthew Romans 0 comments Add comment

    Too often our problem is that we don’t want to admit we’re broken.  We are separated from God because of what we’ve done but if we don’t accept that fact, then we’ll never do what’s necessary to fix the problem.  It’s like having something we’ve broken and tried to fix sitting there, waiting to see if someone ever finds out.  We think we’ve got everyone fooled but if they come near it, if they pick it up, we hold our breath waiting to see if they notice.  Because we know eventually, surely someone will notice.  It’s that mindset that deep down knows they need to come out and accept the truth but our desire to make everyone think we’re OK keeps us from admitting what’s inside.


    Jesus had this problem when He began preaching to the religious elite of His day.  And while we may not call ourselves religious elite, if you aren’t admitting to God that you need Him to make you whole, then you have something in common with the Pharisees.  When Jesus preached, you could practically hear them thinking that what Jesus said didn’t apply to them.  They were the exception to the sermons about sinful people.  They were the ones living good enough to make God happy.  But Jesus wanted them to see that only perfection makes God happy and none of them were perfect.


    Isaiah 59: 1-2

    Matthew 23: 27-28

    Romans 5: 6-9

    Audio Pathway_2013_03_24.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch17th2013 Hot Button Issues: Outwardly Effective
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    ** No Audio Available **

    In this last sermon in our series "Hot Button Issues", I try to give some advice on how to openly share your beliefs in a way that is effective.  While in no way comprehensive, we cover 4 brief points to remember to help you get started living out your faith in public.

    FIRST:  You must know what you believe.  Firmly, open but ready, having answered yourself the questions or doubts that will be thrown at you.

    1 Peter 3: 13-17

    One of the main reasons we don’t do most things in life that we want to do is that we don’t feel ready to take on the challenge ahead of us.  Maybe at one point you thought about a different career but you didn’t want to invest the time or money to go that direction.  Maybe you want to run a 5K but can’t make yourself start walking 1 mile a day to build up to it.  Maybe there’s a new hobby or skill that you think would be fun to learn but it just seems like it would take too much time to ever get good enough for you to enjoy it.  But don’t necessarily beat yourself up over any of these things because everything I mentioned is optional.  We all have to make decisions about whether or not it’s worth our time & effort to become good at something.  If won’t feel like it is, then we pass and go on to something else.  But when it comes to being a witness for God, He didn’t give us an option.  It’s a COMMAND.  And our problem is that if we aren’t prepared, if we haven’t taken the little steps to slowly build up our knowledge, our faith, our ability to effectively share God’s Word, then we’re probably going to be so worried about failure that we’ll never take a stand.

    (v. 14)  If you know what you’re doing and you know what you’re doing is right, then you’ll be prepared when people stand against you.  Not necessarily prepared to “win” the argument, but ready to take on the negative reactions without losing your composure.

    (v. 15-16)  When you’re ready to take a stand without losing your composure, you can be strong and still have gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience and disarming their attacks that you’re just a mean, closed-minded person.  They’ll still make those accusations, but if you presented God’s truth in the right way, everyone looking on will see they are speaking maliciously against your good behavior.

    (v. 17)  Would you rather have someone who hates God love you, or for a God that loves are you willing to take a stand?

    SECOND:  You mustn’t take criticism or disagreement personal.  

    John 15: 18-21

    See it for what it is: if you’re standing for truth and someone disagrees, it’s because they don’t want to accept the truth.  They may not know the reasons they don’t want to accept the truth but it boils down to conviction.  If you respond to them with anger in the same way they defensively respond to you, you won’t do any good.

    One of the biggest problems we can face is if we take all the criticism and anger directed towards our Biblically correct, moral position as a personal attack.  In the passage we read earlier from 1 Peter 3 it said to do things with gentleness and respect but as you very well know, if you tell people the truth from the Bible sometimes they come back hard.  Are you supposed to give up ground?  Are you supposed to wither away?  Well, that depends.

    1.    Know who you’re dealing with and know how you can approach them before you start.
    2.    Second, If you’re going up against someone who likes to fight and you’re not ready to push back without letting it feel personal, then you need to step back.
    3.    Third, when the back and forth goes on long enough, you need to make sure you don’t lose sight of what you’re doing and start acting in a way that crosses the line
    4.    Fourth, even if both of you know that you are having an honest back-and-forth, do it in a way or in a form where people on the outside won’t get you’re playing confused with fighting.  They won’t always come up to you, blow a whistle, and ask.

    THIRD:  Just as you need to be aware that people aren’t really mad at you but at what you stand for, you need to understand that your goal may not always be to disprove their argument but possibly to reach past their argument to the core problem: a desire to accept sin  -- because of guilt, misplaced compassion, or just plain desire itself.

    When Jesus was answering the questions from Nicodemus, He gave one of the best known scriptures because it simply states what Christianity is about, but most of the time we don’t go much past John 3:16 to see why Christ had to come into the world and why they hated Him.

    John 3: 16-21

    The core problem: a desire to accept sin
    •    because of guilt – no one likes having their mistakes out in the open
    •    misplaced compassion – we don’t enjoy confronting sins of people we love
    •    just plain desire itself. – and sometimes we just like sin more than being in the Light

    Any of these reasons can push us to either accept sin or at least to remain silent.  But the purpose isn’t to simply combat sin, it is to get people to realize that because of sin there is a void in their heart that can only be filled by accepting Jesus as Savior.  Now I’m not saying that a person can have saving faith in Christ and still truly believe some of these un-Biblical issues, but I think it’s a hard combination to see in action.  But don’t make assumptions either way.  Get to answers by asking questions and sometimes that means stepping around the ones they’re asking.  When I’m talking to someone about the big two, homosexuality or abortion, I generally try to take it back to a question of whether or not they believe the Bible is completely true.  If not, then my defense is easy.

    We get scared of being labeled a bigot, sexist, closed minded, unloving, hateful, spiteful, hypocritical, Bible thumping Christian, or any other series of adjectives you can think of.  But we need to turn the argument to one of two choices:  those who fully accept the Bible and those who don’t.  Don’t allow someone to get you to debate individual passages of scripture until you get them to admit whether or not they fully accept the Bible as truth – as fact – as God inspired not something man-made.  Once you settle that, then you’re struggle becomes easier.  They reject your basis of faith – NOT YOU!!!  And you’re calling out their lack of trust in the Bible, not just their positions on a singular topic.

    Debating Homosexuality:  Is Romans chapter 1 saying that all homosexuality is wrong and does 1 Corinthians 6 say the same or is there an argument that it’s talking about something else?  For the record, they both say that homosexuality is a sin but before you start that debate, get them to admit whether they believe the parts of the Bible that say Jesus is the only way to heaven.

    Debating Abortion:  Does Psalm 139 show that God sees us as a living person while still in the mother’s womb or can we just not wrap our mind around His omnipresence?  Does Exodus 21 still carry weight in saying that harming an unborn child is wrong?  Before you fight those questions, get them to admit whether or not they believe in the resurrection of the saints and the physical return of Christ.

    FOURTH:  The only thing that will truly change someone is Jesus.  It may be necessary to challenge someone in the arena of ideas in order to get them to question their beliefs.  But if all we do is win a battle for a single moral issue but that person hasn’t accepted Christ, we haven’t finished our work.  Only Jesus can completely change someone and we have to find a way through these “battles” to let His love be shown.  When you can do that, you’re truly Outwardly Effective.

    2 Peter 3: 3-4, 9

    People will reject our beliefs, attack our integrity, and twist scripture to fit their personal desires.  What we have to realize is that the reason God is taking His time is that His patience is allowing those who attack Him to have a chance to hear the gospel and place their faith in Him.  God is giving us time to reach them.  It’s not a question of why He’s taking His time, the question is whether or not we’re doing the work to become OUTWARDLY EFFECTIVE with God’s truth.


    Again, like I've said with the multiple resources I've posted the last few weeks, know that I don't agree with everything found on any of the sites I've linked to.  I do however agree with most things, especially their material dealing with current social issues of which we've been discussing.  When it comes to basic theology, be VERY careful when you're going online for answers.  But do use these sites as a place to hear different ideas on the "Hot Button Issues" we've covered.
    SunSundayMarMarch10th2013 Hot Button Issues: Abortion
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    I am still working to compile and narrow down my list of recommended resources on the topic of abortion, but I wanted to put a few things up immediately so you'd have them directly after the sermon was preached.

    Full video clip of Dr. Voddie Baucham on his personal ties to abortion

    New Beginnings -- a local organization helping those with unexpected pregnancies:  providing free testing, limited ultrasounds, counseling, abortion alternatives, and educational information

    Article on ministering to women struggling with post abortion trauma

    These are the three I wanted up immediately, but there are going to be many more resources and articles that give detailed information, statistics, and resources on abortion.
    Audio Pathway_2013_03_10.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch3rd2013 Hot Button Issues: Politics & Religion
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Peter Mark Romans 0 comments Add comment
    I know most of you have heard the old saying “I’ll talk about anything except religion or politics”, but I guess I’ve never been one to abide by such sayings.  That’s because today we’re going to talk about both.  As we look at how churches and Christians today should be or not be involved in political matters, we’ll look at the history of our country as it pertains to religion, address when it’s time to act, and the difference between a church role and an individual responsibility regarding faith and politics.

    The sermon is not yet available for download but will be soon this coming week.

    You can also browse through the links below to find different resources pertaining to this subject and specifically the origins of the “separation of church and state”.  As with other links I’ve provided in the past few weeks, I want to make clear that I don’t agree with everything put out by any of the sources listed and I don’t even agree with everything listed in the articles linked below when it comes to the writers’ opinions.  However the facts are important to know and opinions, even when contradictory, allow you to hear multiple sides of an argument that isn’t defined by scripture but one where abiding by scriptural guidelines is important.  I have many books and other resources on these topics that you can borrow, but I tried to find web-based articles that cover the same material to make it easier to share historical facts and current opinion.

    Romans 13: 1-5
    1 Peter 3: 15-16
    Mark 12: 28-31

    A few articles giving complimentary but somewhat opposing views as to the importance of Christians being involved in political matters.

    Articles on the religious history of colonial America (Puritans, Pilgrims, colonial “state” religions, and church in the capitol building)

    Articles on the “Separation of Church and State”

    Other varied (and unsubstantiated) sources with a lot of information

    Audio Pathway_2013_03_03.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary17th2013 Hot Button Issues: Social Media As we continue our “Hot Button Issues” series, today we’re going to look at the benefits and dangers of social media.  Now you’re not going to hear a sermon saying to ban TV, video games, the internet, or social media.  Actually you may have received the email about this sermon series which was then immediately Tweeted out.  You might have then gotten a notification on Facebook if you’re a fan of our church page because I posted info about this sermon series there as well.  If you didn’t get hit by social media, you can always go straight to our website for full details on anything we do.  So our church if a big proponent of getting connected through social media and using it to inform people.  But we also see some downfalls if you don’t guard yourself.

    The key thought I want for us to remember through this sermon is Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  Even things that can be used to do great, productive things can in turn be detrimental to our lives.  Today’s sermon will look at both sides and hopefully help us make the right choices on what ways & how much to let it be a part of our daily routine.  Look below for different articles and resources on this topic.

    James 3:10
    Proverbs 4:23
    Ephesians 5: 1-17
    1 Peter 3: 15-16
    John 15: 9-12

    “Connect” video clip shown before sermon:
    • A GREAT article with pros & cons of social media.  It’s not a spiritually based argument, but it shows both sides and how little the difference is between the two.
    • Article on how social media can make quick connections within a church but if left there, can mask the lack of true personal connectivity needed within a church family.
    • Ariticle in PDF form that talks about how to manage social media in a way that benefits instead of hurting your marriage.

    Links from Focus on the Family that deal with social media and other forms of media:
    Audio Pathway_2013_02_17.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary10th2013 Hot Button Issues: Homosexuality

    Today we start a new series I’m calling “Hot Button Issues”.  These are topics that I’ve prayed about preaching on for a while and many of you have asked questions about.  But I wanted to wait until I felt they could be taught apart from the normal political or cultural discussions that arise.  The four topics we'll cover are:

    • Homosexuality in Relationships & Marriage
    • Social Media's Benefits & Traps
    • Abortion - A Biblical Perspective
    • Effective Public Christianity

    As we discuss homosexuality today, know that there is no way to approach this subject without talking on things that make people uncomfortable.  While this is something that has become very political in our society, our intent today is to focus on the Biblical aspects of dealing with homosexuality.  While not a complete talk on the subject, today I want us to focus on three things:

    1. Understanding a clear picture on how the Bible speaks about homosexuality

    2. Accept the fact that in the New Testament, homosexuality is also called a sin but at the same time, it lumps it in with things from adultery to gossip and greed.  Homosexuality is singled out because it is called unnatural and we can much more easily dismiss the "natural" sins we are personally tempted with.  That, and the fact that there are cultural battles over legal acceptance.  But in God's eyes, it is another sin that must be dealt with just like ALL of the others.

    3. As Christians we lose the battle discussing homosexuality because we focus on the act rather than the cause for its acceptance.  The acceptance of homosexuality and any other sin comes from the fact that we don't have a clear picture of who God is or we don't like the view of God as He has revealed it to us through His Word.

    1 John 4:8

    As we mentioned on Sunday, for this topic we wanted to give you some extra resources to look at to help give you a more full picture about some of the things we discussed.  The following links do not come close to covering this topic, but they are some that I thought might be helpful as you prayerfully consider this subject.  For a disclaimer, I have not vetted every individual or organization from which these links are provided or connected to.  If I had, I would imagine that I would find some doctrinal differences or personal issues in their lives that I don't agree with.  I am simply providing some extra information for you to consider as you read both scripture and other comments about homosexuality.

    Scriptures on Homosexuality:
    Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Genesis 19:4-8, Jude 7

    A good overview of the traditional, Biblical view on the topic

    Article about T.D. Jakes interview on Oprah and the negative reaction by media outlets
    • I think this shows that even the most gracious comments about homosexuality, unless they are that it is acceptable, will be used to paint someone as hateful or a bigot.
    Article discussing the transition from promoting homosexuality in Christianity to opposing it
    • The author of the above article is founder of Genesis Counseling which is seen by some as being radical since one of their stated goals is to help people that want to fight homosexual tendencies (along with infidelity, pornography, etc...).  I can't comment on them as a whole, but wanted to make you aware of the writer's connections.  Many Christian leaders speak well of the organization and they have appeared on Focus on the Family.
    Blog post by a man who has trusted in Christ and struggles with homosexual desires
    • Personal blog of same man who has had a recent, public episode as he continually fights temptation
    • I've included this because I think it sheds light on how difficult this is for someone that has homosexual desires but also accepts the Biblical teaching that homosexuality is sin.  You will see a raw, honest portrayal of this battle as he has become a target for those who believe differently.  And you will see how he has admitted the recent episode is all his fault and a result of his desires to commit sin.

    A very liberal interpretation of the Bible concerning homosexuality

    • I give the above link because I am never concerned with letting people see both sides of an issue.  With that said, I want to be clear that I think the material linked above ("A very liberal interpretation...") is both incorrect and often intentionally misleading.  Major points are completely ignored in order to make their case that they believe homosexuality is acceptable in the sight of God.  I simply provided this link because it lets you see the arguments they will make.  If you have any questions, please contact me at
    Audio Pathway_2013_02_10.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary3rd2013 NEXT: Open Window
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged James Joshua 0 comments Add comment

    So we’re coming to the end of a series I call “NEXT” that hopefully helped us realize some of the things we need to do to move our lives forward, not just for ourselves but also for the glory of God.  We started by seeing how the first thing we must learn to get past is our human tendency to hold onto our mistakes.  We looked at how God’s forgiveness is for everyone and that all a person has to do is ask for it.  And once we do, we must allow Christ to not only forgive us, but to help us move forward. 

    Then we talked about keeping our focus on who God wants us to be instead of shifting around through every new situation in life.  Because if we’re not focused on following God’s plan then we can keep shifting our destination and end up going nowhere.  A couple of weeks ago we looked at how we make decisions by reading the story of David & Goliath.  David acted on principle and it made others uncomfortable.  He didn’t try to be anyone else – David simply used who God had made him to be in order to accomplish what only God could do.  And that’s what we should want to be about this morning.  Taking who God has made us and letting Him do with us what only He can.  So here’s the final step.  Here’s the secret to what’s NEXT for you…

    Answer this:  What makes the difference between a person who sees real change in their life verses someone that seems to never get over that barrier, get past that blockade that has been in their way for years?  A lot of the time it simply comes down to making a bold choice.

    In the story of Rahab we’re going to see a person that had to make a quick decision.  She could either go with the easy choice which would bring her immediate safety and possibly riches but deep inside she knew that it wouldn’t last forever.  Or she could make a dangerous choice that could lead to instant turmoil but was the only chance she had for lasting security.  In her life and in ours, we often have few, brief moments of decision that shape our future.  As you listen to the scripture today, realize that God is asking you to make this one of those moments.  He’s calling you to look for the open window He has provided.  It may be a tough decision for today but if God is providing the way, it’s the only chance you have at lasting peace.

    Joshua 2: 1-21

    James 1: 5-8

    Audio Pathway_2013_02_03.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary20th2013 NEXT: Reality Check

    This week, as we’ve hopefully decided to keep focused on God’s will and then let the details of life fall into place, I want us to examine some of those choices we’ve made in the past to help us see the areas where we might need to change the way we make decisions about our life.  You know the saying, “Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it”, well the same goes true for success.  When you’ve made choices that led you where you wanted life to go, do you remember why you made that correct choice?  If you want to move on to what is NEXT in your life, you first need to evaluate the way you make those decisions.

    In the life of David from the book of 1 Samuel, we are going to see some suggestion as to how we can start making the right decisions.  At the time he was faced with the choice to fight Goliath, we find that David didn’t make everyone around him happy.  While looking at his choices we can’t answer every circumstance that comes our way, but his story will show us three things to keep in mind:

    I.  David acted on principle and it made others uncomfortable.  Sometimes the right choice for us is one that people around us would rather we left alone.

    II.  Everyone doubted David because no one knew how God had been preparing him to accomplish this task.  If you know God is working on your heart to move in a certain direction, don’t let people who can’t see His will or your heart determine whether or not you follow Him.

    III.  When people were trying to help David after his decision, they attempted to change him into someone he wasn’t.  God made you who you are so He certainly knows what you’re capable of.  You don’t have to become like someone else to serve God.

    Joshua 24:15

    Proverbs 26:11

    1 Samuel 17: 17-50

    Audio Pathway_2013_01_20.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary13th2013 NEXT: Compass Shift

    **No Audio Available**

    Last week we began a new series called “NEXT”.  As we enter a new year, it gives people a time for a mental re-start.  You’re not really that different than you were a few weeks ago, but if you decide to be different from today forward, you can change your life.  And the start of a new year sometimes gives us that hope, that determination to make those changes.  In our first sermon we dealt with the main obstacle that can get in our way… and I called it “The problem of ME”.  We want to move forward with our lives but WE are often also the ones holding ourselves back.  We looked at how God’s forgiveness is for everyone and that all a person has to do is ask for it.  All we must do to have a home in heaven is place our faith in Him.  And once we do, we must allow Christ to not only forgive us but to help us move forward.  Jesus wants to move past our mistakes so He can take our life and do something great with it.  But if we hold on to the idea that we can’t escape our past, WE become what holds us back from grabbing on to what’s NEXT.

    So if you’ve made the commitment to ask God to forgive you, and then you’ve accepted the fact – absolute fact – that when God forgives you He wants you to put it in the past, now you’re asking “So what really is NEXT for me?”  I want to move forward but I don’t know where or how.  If God would only point me in the right direction.

    I think a lot of our problem with direction comes from the fact that our target changes.  Today we want to fix this part of our life.  Tomorrow a different part.  Then our location moves around.  Either we’ve moved closer to God, or usually, circumstances or choices have moved us further away.  Now instead of being 1 degree off center, we’re 10 degrees off.  The changes in our life that would have put us on course last year aren’t adequate for where we’re at now.

    So how do we find direction on what God wants us to do?

    We must first make sure we have a stationary target that we’re aiming for, and the only way to do that is to forget about achieving our individual goals until we’ve begun striving for the ones God has already laid out in front of us.

    Proverbs 3: 5-6

    Romans 12: 1-2

    Matthew 25: 14-30

    Psalm 119: 1-8

    SunSundayJanJanuary6th2013 NEXT: The Problem of “ME”

    As we enter a new year, it gives people a time for a mental re-start.  The first week of January is really no different than the 3rd week of July outside of whether or not you’re wearing shorts or coats, but at the start of anything new, we tend to look for a period of change in our lives.  The next few weeks we’re going to talk about “NEXT”.  What’s next for us, for our family, for our church?  What changes do we need to make to move in the direction we want to go?  What could keep us from achieving our goals in 2013?

    Well, today we start with that last question:  what can get in our way…?  And the problem many of us face is what I call the problem of ME.  Ourselves.  We want to move forward with our lives but WE are also the ones holding us back.  So how do we get past our self-imposed barriers to becoming what God wants us to be in the coming year?

    Well we can talk about goal-setting, determination, and all sorts of positive steps to move forward but it’s the negative we often dwell on.  Let me give you an example by looking at what Paul said about God’s forgiveness.

    1 Timothy 1: 12-16

    Isaiah 43:25

    Hebrews 10: 11-18

    Audio Pathway_2013_01_06.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember23rd2012 A Simple Christmas: Loss of Control
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Luke Philippians 0 comments Add comment

    **No Audio Available**

    On the day before Christmas Eve, we’re finishing up our “Simple Christmas” series talking about Loss of Control.  We’ve looked at the stress that comes from our obligations in life.  We’ve seen how unrealized expectations can rob us of the joy we seek and discourage us from enjoying the present.  We’ve discussed how unresolved conflict, especially among family members, can make us dread Christmas instead of anticipate something special.  Hopefully this series of sermons has helped you resolve to fix some of these issues instead of pushing them into 2013.  But if you’re still struggling today to find a way to enjoy the gift God gave us at Christmas, then hopefully God will speak one truth to you this morning: 

    Jesus gave up control of His life so you could have control in yours.

    This morning’s sermon is going to remind us of three very important facts about God’s gift to mankind:  1)  The Christmas Story Brings Joy and is a Message for Everyone.  2)  The Christmas Story Gives Us the Long Awaited Messiah – Someone to Deliver Us.  3)  The Christmas Story Provides Peace to Those Who Have Faith in God’s Promise.

    JESUS – The one and only true Son of God, born as a helpless child, sent to this world as its Savior

    Luke 2: 1-7

    Philippians 2: 5-11

    Luke 2: 8-15

    SunSundayDecDecember16th2012 A Simple Christmas: Looming Conflict

    Unresolved family conflict can rob us of the joy everyone talks about having at Christmastime.  But it can also rob us of the joy we should have through our relationships all year long. 

    Why are two of the biggest movie weeks on Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays?  Because we’re not used to being cooped up with everyone for that much time.  I’m not saying we’ll ever be ready for 5 days at home with kids bouncing off the walls, but are we ready to spend time with our loved ones at all?

    Christ came as a baby so one day He could forgive our sins.  It’s a shame that we have trouble celebrating this holiday at times because we haven’t sought the forgiveness or extended forgiveness to others.

    If we centered our families or holidays around the message of Christ:  His birth, His sacrifice, forgiveness and love for others – then we’d probably actually enjoy the holiday after His namesake.  I’m not saying we all need to recite the Christmas Story at every stop, but if we made sure to love God by worshipping Him in our home and then made sure to love others by seeking & offering forgiveness, that would simplify Christmas by getting us back to a simple message of Christianity.

    Colossians 3: 12-14

    Ephesians 4: 29-32

    Matthew 5: 23-24

    Luke 17: 3-5

    Audio Pathway_2012_12_16.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember9th2012 A Simple Christmas: Unchecked List

    Can you ever remember a time when you REALLY wanted a certain gift but you didn’t receive it?  It could have been anything from a toy to a diamond ring.  And what the desired gift was doesn’t really matter but the fact that it was the ONE thing you wanted more than anything else.  And even though you probably already had and then received many other wonderful things, you were disappointed that your biggest wish wasn’t fulfilled.

    A lot of people hit this time of year and instead of being excited, they get frustrated (or depressed) because last year they had said 2012 would be the time that their family problems were fixed.  2012 would be the time they weren’t financially strapped or lacking in time to enjoy life.  This year would be when they were able to make their life into what they wanted it to be.  And then you get to the last few weeks of 2012 and realize your wish list is going to have some empty check boxes on it.  Instead of taking joy in what God has given us, we complicate Christmas because of our unfulfilled wishes.

    God’s remedy is threefold:  first we can find joy & peace in the greatest gift coupled with an amazing promise of everlasting life.  Second, we can find fulfillment if we make sure we have strong, God-centered relationships with those closest to us.  Third, we can know that even though some of our wishes remain unfilled, God still cares and wants us to keep asking in faith.

    Mark 3: 1-6

    John 6: 10-15

    Romans 5: 1-5

    Proverbs 17:17

    1 Peter 5: 6-7

    Hebrews 4: 14-16

    Audio Pathway_2012_12_09.mp3
    SunSundayDecDecember2nd2012 A Simple Christmas: Over Obligated
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Luke 0 comments Add comment

    Joseph had an obligation to be counted in the census, plus a responsibility to care for his wife.  Sometimes when we read a story in the Bible we forget that these were people struggling to get through life just as we are today.  Just because they were bringing the Son of God into the world, Joseph & Mary didn’t somehow escape the difficulties that come with childbirth, raising a family, providing for your home, or the social problems they faced with the assumptions people had about Mary’s pregnancy.

    We feel stressed at Christmas because of our obligations, but our responsibility is to care for our family and share Christ with others.  No matter how tired or stressed we are as we meet our obligations, we can take joy in fulfilling our responsibilities as long as we don’t dwell on the stress of our obligations.

    Luke 2: 1-7

    Audio Pathway_2012_12_02.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember25th2012 A Gift From Jesus
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Romans 0 comments Add comment

    This sermon was part of our Family Worship Sunday.  All of the children stayed in the worship service and we had a short object lesson with them about sin & forgiveness.  God created mankind perfect but we stained His creation with sin.  Nothing we can do will take that penalty away but Christ offered a way by grace through faith, to wash our sin stained life as white as snow.  And the great thing about this gift from Christ is that no matter what we or anyone else does, His grace erases the penalty of sin from that moment on.

    That’s where our sermon audio picks up.  One of the most difficult things people have with the message of salvation is that it goes against every human tendency we have.  The Bible calls the grace of God a gift but we’ve been told that nothing in life is free.  The Bible says that all we have to do is have faith in the sacrifice of Christ, but our human experience tells us that we should have to do something in order to earn God’s gift.  Today you’ll have to make the choice whether you want to view salvation as something you work for or something God gives you.  Once you make that decision, the Bible is clear as to what God’s response will be.

    Romans 4: 1-8

    Audio Pathway_2012_11_25.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember18th2012 Missing Out on Thankfulness
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Luke Mark 0 comments Add comment

    At a time of year when we’re supposed to be thankful for what we have, many of us are weighed down by stressful lives and we miss out on the great things God has put in front of us.  I think about the frustration I feel as a parent when my young son seems to take for granted all of the things he has.  Not just toys & possessions, but the life he is able to lead because of what my wife and I provide for him.  Now he’s all boy, so clothes, toys, and pretty much everything he touches is in danger of being destroyed.  But every once in a while when I catch him being unappreciative of his things and tearing them up for no reason, I’ll take away another toy as well to try and teach him the importance of valuing his possessions.  I wonder if God sometimes looks down at us with the same frustration, wondering if we’ll ever truly understand how great He has blessed us even in the middle of our troubles.

    Today we’ll look at the story of when Jesus returned to Nazareth.  He was the “golden boy” returned home to a hero’s welcome.  It was shortly after He resisted the temptation by the devil in the desert and Jesus had already performed miracles in the nearby towns.  They were ready to welcome their celebrity rabbi but not so ready to receive the Messiah.  The people of Nazareth were about to receive the greatest gift in the world but didn’t appreciate what God would give them.

    Luke 4: 14-30

    Mark 6: 4-6

    Audio Pathway_2012_11_18.mp3
    SunSundayNovNovember4th2012 The Choice of One

    Today’s sermon is somewhat of a recap of the past associational year.  But past numbers & figures, we’re going to talk about how each person listening can make a difference in the year ahead.  Too often in life, we don’t accomplish our goals because we don’t know where to start.  Or sometimes we see the road ahead and it seems too difficult, so we just give up before taking the first step.  Instead of giving in before the race even starts, we’ll see how making one small choice to move forward will help us serve God in a great way.  Don’t get concerned about finishing the race, just take the first step.  A few of the things we’ll talk about are:

    I.       Engage 1 person about their faith or attending something to do with God (Worship Service / Small Group / Church Event / Community Outreach)

    II.     If you aren’t tithing, give 1% until you see that you can give more

    III.    If you aren’t volunteering, serve 1 hour per month until you can take on more

    IV.    Love 1 person by investing in their life until God leads you to love more

    V.     If you aren’t sure how to change your life, pray for 1 thing a day until God shows you He will answer more

    2 Corinthians 5: 6-10

    Romans 10: 13-15

    2 Corinthians 9: 6-8

    1 Peter 4: 9-10

    Philippians 2: 3-4

    Audio Pathway_2012_11_04.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober21st2012 Samson: Starting Over
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Judges 0 comments Add comment

    ** AUDIO MISSING – Will provide transcript soon **

    Today we’re going to finish up our series on Samson called “Potential Wrapped in Humanity”.  We saw that Samson was going to be set apart for God from the time he entered this world, but no matter what his upbringing or the situation he was placed into, eventually Samson had to choose whether or not to follow God.  As we get into chapter 14 we started to see his humanity overshadow some of that potential.  But even through his mistakes, God was able to begin delivering Israel from the control of the Philistines.  Last week we saw that when Samson relied on God’s power, he was able to defeat any enemy.  But when Samson began taking the credit, God removed His supernatural protection and Samson’s body almost collapsed under the strain of being on his own.  The strength we can receive from God is usually tied directly to our reliance on Him.  Once Samson cried out to God, he was restored and for the next 20 years was judge over this part of Israel

    As we finish up today in Judges chapter 16, we see the final events of Samson’s life.  We’re not sure of much that went on during his 20 years of being a judge, but we do know the Philistines were kept from pushing further into Israel.  What thousands of Israelites were unable to accomplish because of their lack of faith in God, one man was able to do through God’s power.  And that, even though he had many personal flaws.  The difference was he still held onto his faith and we must remember that God can use faith compared to the size of a small seed to move mountains.  In the end however, our continued disobedience can result in God removing His protection over us.  Why?  Because as James said, faith without works is dead.  That doesn’t mean your faith in God is gone or you’re not a child of God, it simply means that when our lives stray so far from our words, eventually God has to do something to get our attention.  Sometimes God acts and other times as in this case, God simply removes Himself from the situation when His people have removed God’s influence from their actions.  And once Samson falls, he has to make the choice to stay defeated or to start over with his reliance on God.

    Judges 16: 1-31

    2 Corinthians 5:17

    1 John 1: 6-9

    SunSundayOctOctober14th2012 Samson: Misplaced Assurance
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Judges 0 comments Add comment

    This sermon continues our series on Samson called “Potential Wrapped in Humanity”.  We saw that Samson was going to be set apart for God from the time he entered this world, but no matter what his upbringing or the situation he was placed into, eventually Samson had to choose whether or not to follow God.  Last week as we get into chapter 14 we started to see his humanity overshadow some of that potential.  But even through his mistakes, God was able to begin delivering Israel from the control of the Philistines.  But today we see that the Israelites didn’t really appreciate the risk.  And in the life of Samson, he didn’t appreciate the source of his power.  You have both the nation God is delivering and the person God is using, both missing the fact that if they simply had faith in God, the LORD would fight every battle for them.


    ·      The Philistines inhabited the area of Gaza.  At this time in history they pushed into Israel and took over the inheritance of Dan along with some of Judah and Benjamin.  Dan moved to the north.

    ·      Right before we see Samson come on the scene, there was a huge Philistine victory over the Israelites, the Ark of the Covenant was captured (but later returned), and for the next 20 years the Israelites accepted Philistine rule over the area.

    ·      Last week we saw in Judges 14 where Samson decided to marry a Philistine woman, broke the Mosaic law, broke his Nazarite vow just to eat some honey, picked a fight at his wedding feast, and killed 30 men out of anger once he lost his own bet.  And then he left his wife and went back home since she was the reason he lost his bet.

    ·      So what we have is a man with physical strength from God but his ego, pride, and decision making abilities were all too human.

    As you get towards the end of the sermon we will use scripture from Jeremiah 9.  In the middle of a passage warning Israel of their coming destruction, God tells them the attitude they should have, the attitude that would please Him and keep all of the bad from happening.  But Israel had too much pride.  God was begging them to simply admit that He was God.  God is only asking us the same questions today:  are we ready to rely on Him so God can fight the battles for us?

    Judges 15: 1-20

    Jeremiah 9: 23-24

    Acts 4:12

    Audio Pathway_2012_10_14.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober7th2012 Samson: Confident Mistakes
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Samuel Judges 0 comments Add comment

    ** AUDIO MISSING – Will provide transcript soon **

    Last week we began our series on Samson called “Potential Wrapped in Humanity”.  Samson is one of the more well known Old Testament characters even though his recorded life consists of only 4 chapters and half a dozen short stories.  But it’s his overwhelming power that makes him noticeable.  And it’s his utter failure and redemption that makes him memorable.  In chapter 13 we saw the announcement around his birth and studied up on the Nazarite vow.  We saw that Samson was going to be set apart for God from the time he entered this world, but no matter what his upbringing or the situation he was placed into, eventually Samson had to choose whether or not to follow God.  Today as we get into chapters 14 & 15 we start to see his humanity overshadow some of that potential. 

    To understand the culture Samson was raised in you need to know a little bit of historical background:

    ·      For a period of a couple hundred years between the death of Joshua and the reign of king Saul, God raised up a series of Judges to keep Israel from being completely overrun.

    ·      But because of their disobedience, God allowed other countries to invade and conquer portions of their land.

    ·      The Philistines inhabited the area of Gaza.  At this time in history they pushed into Israel and took over the inheritance of Dan along with some of Judah and Benjamin.  Dan moved to the north.

    ·      The confusing thing about the Old Testament is that we expect the books of the Bible and the stories in them to be in chronological order, but that isn’t always the case.  If we want to find out what happened between the birth of Samson and the time when our story picks up in Judges 14, we first need to look at 1 Samuel chapter 4.

    ·      The high priest Eli died

    ·      Samuel had already been recognized as one who had authority but now is the only spiritual leader

    ·      For 7 months the Philistines had the ark but it caused death and outbreaks of tumors on the inhabitants of any city it resided in.  They took it back to Israel with an offering in tow.

    ·      For the next 20 years, the tribes of Israel accepted the rule of the Philistines over the SW portions of their land until Samuel leads them to defeat the Philistines in 1 Samuel, chapter 7.  It was around the time of the Philistines defeating Israel and capturing the ark that Samson’s adult life of a one-man insurrection begins.  And after his death and after he weakens their rule, the Israelites are able to rise up against them and drive them out.

    Now with quite a bit of history concerning the state of Israel at the time of Samson, we need to take a look at his choices along his life as a one-man insurrection.  In reading Judges, chapter 14, we’re going to see a few stories that illustrate the pride & arrogance of a man that was still used greatly by God.  Outside of Him telling us it’s so that God is glorified rather than man, we can’t completely understand why God chooses to use us – sinful, flawed people – to accomplish His will.  What we do know is that even when we make bad choices in life, God can still make good come from them.  Sometimes the good comes because of our repentance and sometimes completely in spite of ourselves.  The final question for each of us today is whether or not we want God to work through us in obedience or in spite of our sin.

    1 Samuel 4: 3-11

    Judges 14: 1-14

    Judges 14: 17-20

    SunSundaySepSeptember30th2012 Samson: It's Our Choice

    This summer we went through a series of character studies from the book of Judges.  We skipped over chapters 13-16 because I wanted to do a series on Samson by himself.  Samson is one of the more well known Old Testament characters even though his recorded life consists of only 4 chapters and half a dozen short stories.  But it’s his overwhelming power that makes him noticeable.  And it’s his utter failure and redemption that makes him memorable.  But we’re not going to get into all of those details today.  This morning I want to look at his potential – the fact that God gave Samson a special opportunity to serve Him from his birth.  As we see the miracle concerning the birth of Samson and the vow that was made by his parents, keep in mind that although Samson was set up for success, it was still his choice as to whether or not he would honor God.

    In our world and in our own lives, you often see people use their past situation to explain where their life is at today.  If we were set up for success and fail, then we might blame the pressures of high expectations on our failures.  If we were born into a life and family with little in the way of positive factors for success then we can write off our deficiencies on the cards we were dealt.  But at some point in life we need to wake up to the realization that we are the ones responsible for the choices we make, and while our past does influence our life in many ways, we are now the ones who must answer to God for whether or not we decide to honor Him.

    Judges 13: 1-5

    Numbers 6: 1-8

    Numbers 6:18

    Judges 13: 19-25

    Ezekiel 18:20

    1 John 1: 8-10

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_30.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember23rd2012 Renaissance: Changing Our View
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Jonah Luke 0 comments Add comment

    As we wrap up our series “Renaissance,” I want us to take a look at how we view others.  In the end, no matter what we know about the Bible, no matter how prepared we are to serve, no matter how focused we are as a church, if we don’t see people the way God sees people then we aren’t going to be motivated to reach them.

    Today we’re going to look at two stories:  one is the story of Jonah and the other is of Jesus as He rides into Jerusalem for the last time.  One story exposes how our humanity can get in the way of our need to care for the salvation of others and the other story details the love of God in spite of the rejection & hate our human nature thrust upon Him.  In the end, we have to examine our hearts to see which story best resembles the way we see our community.

    Jonah 3: 1-10

    Jonah 4: 1-5, 11

    Luke 19: 36-44

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_23.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember16th2012 Renaissance: Following Daily
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Luke 0 comments Add comment

    In the process of going through our lives in such a hurry, we often miss the little things of life that are really important.  That’s kind of what this series has been about.  As a church, we need to take a pause long enough to evaluate what we’re doing and what we’re here for.

    As kids many of us had someone older than us that we followed around.  Most of the time we were probably just a pest to them but we lived for those moments every once in a while when they acted like they wanted us around and made us feel important.  They were “cool” in our eyes and embodied everything we wanted to be.  Then as we got older and our lives changed, or our impression of them changed, we started following after other things.  Often we can look back at some of those so-called role models and be extremely thankful we veered off the path of becoming like them.

    At times we go through the same things with our spirituality.  We really want to follow Christ and be more like Him.  When we grow up spiritually we want to be just like Jesus.  Then as we start down that road our lives change, until maybe He goes in a direction we don’t want to go anymore.  Until our desires or our plans change for our life.  Then we just don’t follow Him as much.

    In this sermon we’re going to look at a few passages where people said they wanted to follow Christ and some of His responses to them were what we would call harsh.  But if someone really wants to be known as a follower of Christ, it takes much more than a vocal pledge.  Here are three of the situations we’ll look at when it comes to our decision to follow Christ:

    1.     Sometimes God calls but the responsibilities of life keep us from acting

    2.     Sometimes we want to follow for what we think we’ll gain

    3.     Sometimes we profess our desire but we’re just not ready to commit yet

    Luke 9: 23-27

    Luke 9: 57-62

    John 8:12

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_16.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember9th2012 Renaissance: Going Deeper
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Acts 0 comments Add comment

    In communication, when we come into contact with a new person that we want to have a relationship with we often spend a lot of time with them in what one of my college teachers called a “Period of Discovery”.  You unleash a barrage of stories at each other giving a picture of who you both are, but the stories we usually tell at this point are only the ones that make us look funny, smart, or charming.  Your intent with that individual is to share as much as possible that has the effect of making them say “I want to talk to them again”.  But the limit is drawn at the point where their knowledge of your life makes you feel vulnerable or defensive.  It seems like we’re sharing almost everything but down deep you realize that you’re holding back the most personal parts of yourself.

    When we look at going deeper in our relationship with God, we can get to know Him very quickly.  The only question is whether or not you’re finding out who God is from His Word or just from what other people tell you about God.  Once you do discover who God is, we start unloading.  We are so excited to have this new relationship with the creator of this world that we start opening up but even with God, we get to a point that we hold things back.  And the funny thing is that we KNOW that God knows the things we’re holding back from Him.  We simply don’t want to tell God about our vulnerabilities because we don’t want to hear it come out of our mouths.

    Today we’re going to look at how God has designed us to first become vulnerable to Him and then how He desires all of us to become more vulnerable with each other.  If we truly want to have genuine relationships in this life, we must first start with opening up to God and then each other.

    Acts 2: 42-47

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_09.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember2nd2012 Renaissance: Turning Points

    So we’ve started looking at our lives within a church family from the standpoint of how a church should shape what they do and how they should be measured.  But what does that mean for us as an individual?  How do the choices we make affect God’s plan for His churches?  Today we’re going to see in the picture of Christ’s baptism how He has given us the chance to make decisions in our life, to have a turning point from where we are now to where we need to be.

    One of the biggest points you’ll hear in this sermon is how BAPTISM = IDENTIFICATION.  We are baptized in the name of Christ to identify ourselves with Him, but why was Christ baptized?  When Jesus said He was being baptized to “fulfill all righteousness”, what did He mean?  The Mosaic Law didn’t require baptism so it had nothing to do with their views of righteousness.  John’s baptism of repentance held no personal meaning for Christ as He had nothing to repent of.  But Jesus didn’t come for His own needs but to sacrifice Himself for our need of a salvation from the penalty of sin.  Jesus Christ was baptized to identify Himself with sinners – with US.  The love we feel from understanding Jesus did something simply to identify with each one of us should cause a turning point in our lives where we are willing to begin identifying with Him.

    Matthew 3: 1-2, 11

    Mark 10:38

    Matthew 3: 13-17

    2 Corinthians 5:17

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_02.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust26th2012 Renaissance: Love Is The Measure

    For the next several weeks we're going to look at how many false ideas about what the church is supposed to be have created something that Christ never intended.  Last week we focused on how one idea should shape everything we do.  We have been called in so He can send us back out.  Today we’re going to see how LOVE should motivate everything we do.  Love is the measure by which we should evaluate ourselves.

    Our only problem is that true LOVE for others isn’t natural.  From the time we’re born we become selfish.  You can see it in the life of small children and sadly some people seem to never get past that stage of life.  But as we grow older we hopefully have examples to help us mature.  We experience love from others which teaches us how to love in return.  And to truly understand love, God gave us the only perfect example in what His Son did for us.  When a person accepts Christ as Savior, only then can they begin to fully understand what love means.

    So what does this struggle to understand love mean for our church?  In 1 Corinthians 13 we see a picture of what love is, but just as important, a picture of how God views us when we don’t have love.  Too many times we evaluate our church’s worth by ACCURACY and ACTIVITY but God measures us by LOVE.  Without love, the scripture tells us that all of the accuracy & activity in the world is worth nothing.

    1 Corinthians 13: 1-7

    1 John 2: 5-6

    John 21:17

    Audio Pathway_2012_08_26.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust19th2012 Renaissance: Called In To Be Sent Out
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged John Matthew 0 comments Add comment

    This is the first sermon in a series called "Renaissance".  The standard definition of renaissance is “a rebirth or revival” and is usually talking about this revival taking place in an area of culture or learning.  For anyone who took art history or even Western Civilization, you’ve studied an entire period of Europe’s history called the Renaissance.  This period during the 14th through the 16th centuries saw a time when people had endured the dark ages and the millions of deaths from 13th century plagues.  And as with many cases in history and in life, when they left these dark periods behind them, the people grasped onto something more hopeful.  They recaptured some of the beauty from art & literature form the classical age.  They didn’t just embrace the past but progressed further.  You saw new ideas in government, an increased passion in the sciences and a renewed emphasis on overall learning.  The culture sought after what inspired them.

    For the next several weeks we're going to look at how many false ideas about what the church is supposed to be have created something that Christ never intended.  We’re not creating something new.  Actually, nothing I can preach is really new.  And surely the purpose of the church and God’s plan for us aren’t new either.  But sometimes we can forget how vibrant & beautiful God’s plan for us can be.  It’s at those times that we need a Renaissance.  We need to run away from the dark & dreary past as we grab on to the truly beautiful purpose that God has for us through His church.

    Today we are going to focus on how one idea should shape everything we do.  We have been called in so He can send us back out.  What about worshipping God as the reason we’re here?  How about learning about God’s Word?  Does taking care of healing emotional, physical, & spiritual needs take a back seat?  When you look at the scripture what you will find is that if you do all of these things well, they will simultaneously have the impact of bringing other people in.  And if it doesn’t, then we’re not serving God in the way He desires for our lives or our church.

    Matthew 4: 12-13, 17-22

    John 1: 35-45

    Matthew 28: 18-20

    Audio Pathway_2012_08_19.mp3
    SunSundayAugAugust12th2012 Preparing to Hear From Jesus
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2012_08_12.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly29th2012 Blessed: Compelled to Share
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Mark Romans 0 comments Add comment

    This sermon wraps up our “Blessed” series.  The Bible shows us how to live with not only contentment, but joy in realizing all that God has done for us.  God has prepared each one of us to serve Him in ways that will bring Him honor and glory.  We’ve looked at the scripture to encourage us to make wise choices with our possessions so we might be able to make loving choices with what God has blessed us with.  And this week we end our series looking at where all things should lead – to Christians sharing our faith with others. 

    When we realize that God has blessed us much more than we deserve, when we have much more than we could ask for – no amount of good living, great giving, or anything else should pacify us to where we don’t feel Compelled to Share.

    So what is the biggest example we can see where people around us tell others about something specific?  Marketing.  The best way to market in the past was to put up billboards, run commercials or ads, direct mail, or other mass-marketing techniques.  While this is still used and useful, the most effective form of advertising has always been friend-to-friend.  Whether it’s emailing your friends about a product, telling someone your experiences face-to-face over lunch, liking something on Facebook, or other personal ways to share something with others, we all “market” what we like or enjoy in some form or fashion.  It’s just that in today’s society, technology has made that much easier, broader, and lucrative.  But even if you just look to a toddler nursery and notice how a neglected toy becomes every child’s desire as soon as they see 1 person playing with it, you will realize a basic truth:  seeing other people enjoy something makes us want to have it.  And we’re all much more likely to trust a friend on whether something is a ‘must have’ over an advertisement.

    So if this is an essential truth in every other part of life, why do we leave telling others about Christ up to mostly mass-marketing techniques?  Wouldn’t people be more likely to accept an invitation to church or a small group Bible study, wouldn’t they be more attentive to a discussion about the love of God, wouldn’t they be more likely to respond to the pleas of a friend instead of someone they don’t know?

    Mark 5: 1-5

    Romans 10: 8-15

    Audio Pathway_2012_7_29.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly22nd2012 Blessed: Investment Portfolio

    We started the series “Blessed” looking at how many live with a perception of “half-empty” instead of realizing what God has given us.  Last week we talked about how God wants us to give Him back a return in what He has given us in the way of our gifts of service.  Today we’re finally getting to the sermon that everyone always expects when you hear that our sermon series is going to be about stewardship.  But although the subject of money is very important, realizing how we’re blessed in every way and how we can serve God are just as important.  But we can’t leave it there. 

    Jesus preached about money almost as much as any other topic in His ministry.  Why?  Because as you all know, money can be a source of blessing or just as likely, something that causes hardship.  But it’s not the money – it’s how we view its importance.  That’s why today we’re going to talk about our Investment Portfolio.  Here are a few of the points we’ll cover in today’s sermon.

    “OWE NOTHING”  what does that mean?  Scripture tells us to have freedom of law & conscience.

    Romans 13: 3-8

    Wealth is not wrong, but the scripture tells us to have a clear purpose for our wealth and for our lives.

    Luke 12: 13-21

    We should earn in order to be rich in good deeds – everything else is temporary and joy is fleeting.

    1 Timothy 6: 17-19

    It is a commandment to give.  We should give from the heart.

    2 Corinthians 9: 6-15

    Audio Pathway_2012_7_22.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly15th2012 Blessed: Dividends
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Peter Matthew Romans 0 comments Add comment

    Last week we started the series “Blessed”.  We started with a sermon called “Perception Creates Reality”.  We took a look at what truly being blessed means and tried to strip away the false ideas that lead us to always seeing the glass half empty.  If we live with a perception of “half-empty,” we overload ourselves trying to do things that we believe will make us happy, only to find that when we obtain that desire, there is always something more.  Because if you’re living a life where you are never content or do not at least have the understanding about how blessed we really are, then your obsession with pleasing “you” will keep you from serving God, your family, your friends, your church, and your community. 

    This week we’re moving on to talk about your strengths & skills and your ability to serve others.   Every person is designed with a strength that God has put in you.  He has made you in the way in which He wants you to serve.  The question is, are you ready?  Today’s sermon is called Dividends.  God has invested in you.  It is our responsibility to bring a return on that investment for the glory of God and to further His kingdom.

    Here are a few questions we’ll answer today:  What does God expect, what will He accept, and what will God reject?

    Romans 15: 1-2

    1 Peter 4: 10-11

    Matthew 25: 14-29


    Audio Pathway_2012_7_15.mp3
    SatSaturdayJulJuly14th2012 FEEDBACK: You were bought at a price
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    On Sunday, one of the “NEXT STEPS” was this:

    1 Corinthians 6 says “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”  Email what that means to you.

    Below are some of the responses we received this week on the passage from 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20.  Thanks for everyone’s input on this.  Tomorrow we’re going to continue our series Blessed and talk about how God’s gift to us should change the way we view or lives. 

    1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

    What does being bought with a price mean to me?

    Christ paid a high price for us by dying on the cross for our sins...but in my mind, there is even more to it than that.  To me, the fact that God Himself left a perfect heaven, where everything is beautiful and wonderful; where there is no sin, no death, no pain.... and CHOSE to come down here in the form of man and live life as a human on this earth full of sin, death, pain, sickness, etc... is quite a price to pay, in and of itself.  Add to that, the fact that even though Jesus lived a perfect life here on earth, he willingly suffered a horrible, long, and gruesome death on the cross - all of this in order to pay the ultimate price for us... Amazing. Grace.

    What right do I have to do things selfishly when He gave His life to save me. He commanded me to live a certain way and tell people about Him. He paid my debt, I belong to Him, therefore I should have to do what He tells me to.

    Verse 20 of course cannot be understood without verse 19. This verse lays down the basis for a believer’s conversion. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God is simultaneous with the New Birth. This birth suggests the joining of two entities. This merging of entities takes place when a person becomes willing to conform his/her will to the will of God. God is not willing that any should perish so His will is always receptive to those seeking Him. We cannot expect an all wise and an all powerful God to shape His will to fit our particular whims. Instead we must become willing to conform our will to His standards. That doesn’t mean we will immediately know what His will for us is but it does mean that we must be willing to do His will when we learn what it is. This reshaping of our will is elsewhere called repentance.  Now, I am aware that some Baptists insist that repentance is a work and thus not necessary for salvation. Others say little about it because it makes people uncomfortable. But Jesus thought it was important because He stated that without it all would perish.

    Now, if we are trying to conform our will to His will, how can we continue in the filthy housekeeping of our body that we carried on before we agreed with God to change our will. We should be willing to provide the very best quarters that we can for our heavenly guest, who is God in the Spirit.

    It is possible to write about this verse strictly from a spiritual point of view because our lives here on this earth encompass the spiritual, mental and physical all wrapped up in one body.  I can see that God is sending us the recipe for “the good life” so to speak all in just a few words.  The first ingredient for this good life is to know we have a relationship with God through faith then no matter where we find ourselves, no matter what events happen to us while there and no matter what the future will hold we are “one” with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  What we tend to forget is that by sharing our bodies with our heavenly Father we fail to “keep house”.  He is reminding us that if we respect our Lord and Master we need to provide a proper “Temple” for the dwelling place that is His and ours while we travel this earthy journey.  I pray each day to be a better housekeeper in my temple.

    I think these verses are highlighted in two parts. First, the end of 6:10 "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." showing that we should be different than the rest of the world because we have been made different.  Second, 6:19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body." reflecting back to we should be different than the rest of the world and therefore should behave differently.

    It's too small a phrase for something so massive.  Having rarely to never experienced being "bought" in order to be or do anything honorable with myself, the concept of being bought out of a life that was dishonorable, in order to be honorable was beyond just foreign, it was unimaginable.

    Another way of explaining this is being bought out of slavery, and then having the choice to either stay enslaved or leave the slave auction, and be free.

    Because I have personally made the decision to accept Christ, I am completely free of the burden that once held me back. Christ sacrifice of His perfectly sinless life was more than enough to atone for the sins of the world. Because of this, it is now my duty to live my life for His glory. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)

    To me it means that my life is part of something much greater than myself.  It means that I don't always get to do what I want to do because God has bought the rights to my life with His blood.

    To me, this verse means that who I am is not just not me. Everything in my life now belongs to God, and I gladly give it to Him. I give it gladly for Him because Christ gave His life for me.

    To me this means we do not belong to this world. The one who bought us does not belong to this world and we are His. Because of this we should not live for this world but for the One who bought us. The One who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, so that we do not have to conform to the wicked ways of this world. I am thankful that I am not my own. I belong to Him who is perfect in every way, and in that I have joy.

    One person linked to a YouTube video giving an example of the idea from these verses:

    Another gave a link to a sermon video clip that carries on the idea that no matter what we face, we can rely on God and feel Blessed.

    Thanks again for everyone who took the time to give your thoughts on that scripture from 1 Corinthians 6.  Looking forward to Sunday!

    SunSundayJulJuly8th2012 Blessed: Perception Creates Reality
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Philippians Romans 0 comments Add comment
    This is the first sermon in a series called "Blessed".  For the next 4 weeks we're going to look at how to change our lives by first changing the way we understand what God has done for us and what He expects from us.  Once we start looking at ourselves through God's eyes, we will truly realize how blessed we are and desire to bless others through serving Him.

    As we look at the series “Blessed”, I’m afraid that many of us can become so focused on what we don’t have that if we can’t get everything we want, we choose to destroy what we do have.  Instead of taking joy and finding peace in what God has blessed us with, we obsess and weigh ourself down with the unnecessary pursuit of possessions we don’t need.  Or we become depressed about the characteristics or skills we don’t possess.  We overload ourselves trying to do things that we believe will make us happy, only to find that when we obtain that desire, there is always something more.

    Today’s sermon is called “Perception Creates Reality”.  This isn’t a series to make you feel bad about having things.  On the contrary, the Bible is clear that God wants His children to be blessed.  We’re simply going to take a look at what truly being blessed means and strip away the false ideas that lead us to always seeing the glass half empty.  Because if you’re living a life where you are never content or don't at least have the understanding about how blessed we really are, then you’re obsession with pleasing “you” will keep you from serving God, your family, your friends, your church, your community.

    Romans 15: 1-9

    Philippians 4: 11b - 13

    Romans 5: 1-2
    Audio Pathway_2012_07_08.mp3
    SunSundayJunJune3rd2012 Unknown Commitment
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Genesis 0 comments Add comment

    The last few weeks with Mothers’ Day & Memorial Day, I’ve taken a break from doing a regular series and focused in on a few messages that have been on my heart.  But even though we didn’t have a name to this string of messages, we’ve been working the last few weeks towards this morning when we got to celebrate with a baptism and talk about commitment.  We’ve looked at the issues of forgiveness and how love covers sin.  Last week we talked about sacrifice and why we need to remember both our failures and successes in order to make the right steps forward.  Which leads us to today as we talk about Unknown Commitment.

    It is hard for us to truly commit to anything.  It’s hard enough to get us to commit to something when we know all the facts.  It’s unbelievably difficult to make commitments to do anything when we don’t know the outcome.  And even if we do know the outcome, if we’re unsure of the details or what we must do then we usually choose to stay uncommitted.  Today we’re going to look at the very familiar story of Noah and the flood to help us examine whether or not we’re ready to make commitments to God, trusting Him to make the right choices for our lives.

    Genesis 6: 11-22

    Audio Pathway_2012_06_03.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay27th2012 Why We Remember
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    On Memorial Day weekend our country stops to remember and pay tribute to those Americans who have sacrificed, some giving all, to defend our nation and give us liberty.  We not only have social liberty but more importantly spiritual liberty in the United States because of their choice to defend us.  But we need to do more than just say “thank you”, we need to remember why they chose to fight.  We need to remember what they were fighting for.  We need to know the importance of the ideals they died for.


    In the same way, we have many stories from the Bible where God’s people put up memorials to remind them of the sacrifice made by their nation, but more importantly, the provision of God to get them through a difficult time.  In the passage today we see the reason behind “here I raise mine Ebenezer” that many of you have sang from an old hymn.  This ‘stone of help’ was put up so the Israelites would recall how God made them victorious when they dedicated their lives to following only Him.  And we’ll see how God will do the same for us when we follow Him.  God will give us reason to pay honor and remember how great He has been to all of us.

    Audio Pathway_2012_5_27.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay20th2012 Love Covers Sin
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Today’s sermon deals with something that I’ve personally been dealing with in my life.  Here are the questions that roll around in my own mind:

    ·         I understand how much God has forgiven me, but how can I turn around and show that same measure of forgiveness to other? 

    ·         And what are the practical limitations to my forgiveness?  I’m not God, so can so much be expected?

    ·         What do I do if the person I am to forgive doesn’t ask for forgiveness or doesn’t care if I do?


    The scary thing is that Jesus specifically tells us that if we don’t forgive others, He won’t forgive us.  First off, we’re going to see how this warning isn’t tied to salvation but rather our continual walk with Christ after we’re a child of God and our eternity is secure.  Second, we’ll see how that if we don’t forgive others, not only does it make us miserable inside but it shows God we’re not ready for Him to use us.

    Audio Pathway_2012_5_20.mp3
    SunSundayMayMay13th2012 A Virtuous Woman
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    On Mother’s Day the world stops if only for a second to show thanks for those who loved & took care of us as a child.  My own mother is someone who I can look at not only for personal support and comfort, but as an example of someone who is completely selfless when it comes to taking care of those she loves.  And sometimes even those she doesn’t!  But aside from the personal praise and adoration we can give those we know, what does God say about mothers / wives / women and how they should be remembered?


    Our world is constantly redefining roles for both men, women, and children.  And while the world around us and circumstances do change, the expectations God has for us do not.  As we look at the passage of scripture in Proverbs 31, most often called the story of “The Virtuous Woman”, we’ll see a picture that might scare some.  This example is of a person who accomplishes everything you could imagine.  Being a mother whose kids respect her, a good keeper of the home, a successful and honored business woman, and a wife whose support raises the stature of her husband and family.  Can God really expect all of this from every woman?  What I want us to see today is that God gives us examples of what success can look like.  The question is, what does God expect your story of success to look like?  While that may be different for various people, there are some basic expectations that do apply to every woman.


    Audio Pathway_2012_5_13.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril29th2012 Recharge
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    God wants us to push forward in this life and He has given us an example that can be a constant source of encouragement.  But we’ve all been at this place before.  We make a decision to change our life, we know the “BIG PICTURE” verses that talk about following God – finding joy in Him – and all that other greeting card stuff.  But how do we practically make that happen?

    Let me tell you a secret about practical:  It’s BORING.  Don’t think so?  If you are single or if you can remember back to when you were single – picture this:  Your friends keep trying to fix you up with someone and they’re all excited about this new person they want you to date.  And when the describe him to you they say,   “He’s practical”.    Get’s your heart racing now doesn’t it?  But for those of you who’ve endured exciting, impractical relationships before, practical doesn’t sound half bad.  But is still doesn’t excite you.  But practical is necessary for success. 

    It’s definition is:  Likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances

    So if you want to be successful in your spiritual life, you’re going to have to make some practical choices.  If you want to RECHARGE, you need to plug in to the right source.

    Audio Pathway_2012_4_29.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril15th2012 Re-Evaluate
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Last week we started our “REFRESH” series as we take a look at starting over in life.  Not that everything in our past has been bad, but we want to take advantage of the fact that God gives us the opportunity to not only have a new life in Christ by placing our faith in Him, but also a renewed life when we ask God to forgive us of our sins and put us back on the right path.    But that still sounds like I’m saying this whole idea of being “REFRESHED” or “RENEWED” is somehow just a fix for those who are completely broken.

    Let me ask you a question:  at your job, do you ever have an evaluation?  Sometimes personal, sometimes you all get together as employees and talk about the direction of the company.  I’ve been through both.  When you actually get people to stop and evaluate what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, things get fixed.  So why don’t we do that in our personal lives?  Why not in our families?  How about church?

    The setting for this Psalm consists of God’s disciplinary reproofs in David’s life (vs 8-11).  We are not told when this occurred or of that which the discipline consisted. We see only that David felt the heavy hand of God in his life and was in great emotional and spiritual torment.

    Audio Pathway_2012_4_15.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril8th2012 Refresh
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Today on Easter Sunday as we celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ, we’re beginning a new series called “Refresh”.  God wants everyone to be dead to sin, but more importantly he wants all of mankind to be alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Yes, that starts with a person placing their faith in Jesus.  When we do, the Bible says we are reconciled to God.  That means that we have a debt, one in this case that we can not pay.  Jesus didn’t forgive the debt – He PAID our debt for us.  That’s what His sacrifice means.  And if you’re debt is still unpaid then you can’t call yourself a child of God.

    Past our faith in Him as savior, God wants this new life to mean so much more.  As we go through this series we will see how the gift of God is more than a destination, it is a new start for today.  A new direction for our life.  A clean slate that allows us to live freely in Christ.

    Audio Pathway_2012_4_8.mp3
    SunSundayAprApril1st2012 April 1, 2012
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    Audio Pathway_2012_4_1.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch18th2012 The Light-Do Something
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    We’re finishing this series by looking at Jesus’ final charge to the disciples before His crucifixion.  As they prepare to celebrate, Jesus is preparing them to serve.  When we look at the story of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet, it’s much more than just a story about how we shouldn’t look at ourselves as being above others.  It’s more than understanding how great of a sacrifice God made by sending His son to debase Himself before mankind.  It’s an EXPECTATION that Jesus impressed upon the disciples that we should DO, not just think.  We have to know what God expects out of us but that’s only the first step.  Without actively serving others, our knowledge is useless and our love is hidden.

    Audio Pathway_2012_3_18.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch11th2012 The Light-No Other Name
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    As we take the next 2 weeks to wrap up our series “The Light”, I want to take a quick look at what we’ve seen in Acts 10 & 11.  Not only have we focused on the need to share the gospel but we’ve also looked to define its full purpose.  Everything wraps up in this group of scriptures as we go to the city of Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians.

    Have you ever had a case of mistaken identity?  Did it cause you embarrassment or something worse?  One time I almost got arrested because another guy caused a huge pile-up on the interstate, took off, and when the cops looked up to place blame, all they saw was me.  It took a while to sort through the mess but they found out I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    It’s not very often we run into cases of mistaken identity in our daily lives, but what about Christianity in general?  I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people look at Christianity and see something entirely different than what God intended.  Sometimes this is deserved, and sometimes people view us or other Christians through their experiences with others.  We can be blamed for the actions of a few.  But are we doing anything that would change their mind?  Do we even care?  Should we even care?

    Audio Pathway_2012_3_11.mp3
    SunSundayMarMarch4th2012 The Light-Open Invitation
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    This week as we finish this story of Peter speaking to Cornelius, I want us to examine whether or not we’re giving a true, open invitation to all those who God wants seated as His table.  Because no matter how much we want to believe that our heart is open to everyone, sometimes we allow our own cultural beliefs or stereotypes to get in the way.

    We’re all used to feeling uncomfortable around people different from us and if you’re in the minority of any group, you feel that directed towards you.  But the reality is that through God’s eyes, those people who believe in God are the same and those who don’t believe need to be reached.  You’re either a child of God or someone who needs to be:  that is all.  God sees the inside but we get focused on the outside.  In fact, by focusing simply on how WE feel about others we’re really focusing on ourselves, rather than looking for those who need Christ.

    Audio Pathway_2012_3_4.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary19th2012 The Light-A New Kind of Magic
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    What is “The Light”?  Usually when looking at the Bible we’re using the word ‘light’ to talk about Jesus or the gospel.  It is all about illuminating the mind of every person, showing them their need for a Savior and pointing them towards the only path to heaven: faith in Jesus Christ.  But is the gospel more than just a ticket to heaven – a personal matter – an answer to today’s problems?

    Through the next four messages we’re taking a look at what the purpose of the gospel is all about.  Today we’re going to talk about the story of Simon the Sorcerer and how he tried to buy the power that the apostles had.  For him, the power of God was just a new, better kind of magic.  But the truth of God is much more than that.  And although not for sale, everyone has an equal chance at receiving it.  

    Audio Pathway_2012_2_19.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary12th2012 Daniel-Staying Strong in a Changing World
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Do you ever gets in those times of life where you experience something that absolutely changes you and you become a better person… for about a week and a half.  You know what I’m talking about.  A tough situation that makes you pray more.  An embarrassing situation that makes you more cautious with the way you carry yourself in public.  A dangerous situation that makes you more careful.  A motivational situation that makes you step out and be the person you want to be.  And all of these things last for usually a week or two. 


    There come moments in our lives where we wish we were stronger; were better prepared; were ready for anything.  Situations arise that are out of our control.  We feel like there’s nothing we can do.  And no matter where we look, help is fleeting if present at all.  The last few weeks we’ve seen God work in amazing ways through the book of Daniel.  We’ve seen a successful start to the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  We’ve seen victories in the middle.  As we finish our series today, one last time we’ll see the formula to success over any obstacle, problem, or confrontation.

    Audio Pathway_2012_2_12.mp3
    SunSundayFebFebruary5th2012 Daniel-God Isn't Blind
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    When we put God in His rightful place it automatically puts us in our place. When we raise Him

    up in high regard as He deserves, it automatically lowers us in His presence. But what about

    when we refuse? We saw last week with Nebuchadnezzar that because of all he had witnessed

    concerning God’s power & might, he had no excuse. But what about someone who hadn’t seen

    Daniel interpret his dreams? What about someone who didn’t witness the form of God walking

    with Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego in the fiery furnace? What would God do with a ruler

    who had only heard about Him?

    A lot of people like to use the excuse that since they don’t understand everything in the Bible

    completely or since they haven’t publicly professed their faith in Christ, that somehow absolves

    them from being responsible to God. And if they don’t vocalize that excuse, they sure live that

    way. Of course at times, so do we. So if we turn a blind eye to God will He turn a blind eye on

    what we’re doing with our lives? Today’s sermon will show that a loving God who cares for

    every part of His creation is always interested in what we do.

    Audio Pathway_2012_2_5.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary29th2012 Daniel-Foolish Confidence
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    This week we look at Foolish Confidence. Now you will hear me often say that an abundance of

    humility does not necessarily diminish confidence. It also doesn’t mean we must not have pride

    in what we do. Those words, confidence & pride, can be fully positive or completely negative.

    It all depends on the heart of the person.

    Inflated. Overstated. Undeserved. These are all words that come to mind when I talk about

    Foolish Confidence. We could just call it pride, but in today’s story I think it’s more subtle than

    that. Today we take another look at the life of Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 4 is a public

    proclamation made by Nebuchadnezzar to his kingdom. He had led an amazing life and was

    successful beyond our wildest dreams. Even Daniel, a slave, spoke well of him and didn’t wish

    Nebuchadnezzar any harm. But his fatal flaw was that he didn’t recognize all things are under

    God’s control. Are you viewing God as the most important thing in your life or have you

    become the center of your own universe?

    Audio Pathway_2012_1_29.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary22nd2012 Daniel-No Bending, No Breaking
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Last week we talked about having Bold Conversations because eventually, only the truth

    matters. But we’re usually OK with the truth when it comes from us and is told to someone

    else. How about when we struggle to let God tell us the truth? To let God’s direction for our

    life be the path we follow?

    With many things we see in life, structures are often designed to bend but not break. Whether

    it be a suspension bridge, a skyscraper, or the wings of an airplane, some things are designed to

    have great flexibility but still maintain their overall strength and stability. Is that how we as

    Christians are supposed to act?

    Now I will definitely say that we are to have great compassion, understanding, and forgiveness.

    The greatest gift we both have and can give is love. But does our flexibility and understanding

    towards others mean that we can make bad decisions for the overall good? Out of love, can we

    tell others to do the same? In this sermon we will take a look at our responsibility to God when

    faced with seemingly insurmountable opposition.

    Audio Pathway_2012_1_22.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary15th2012 Daniel-Bold Conversations
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    Have you ever been asked a question you would rather not answer? At least not with the blunt

    truth? If we truly care about people in our life then we can’t be afraid to step up with the truth

    when the opportunity presents itself. As Christians we often seem to be afraid to boldly

    proclaim that we have the truth which answers all of life’s questions. If we truly believe in God

    and that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, and if we truly believe that the Bible is

    God’s Word, then why do respond with reservation instead of telling the world that we have

    absolute truth in our hands?

    In chapter 2, Daniel was faced with difficult questions. But even though he didn’t know the

    answer, he boldly proclaimed that he knew where to find it. God gives us answers to life just as

    true as the ones he spoke to Daniel thousands of years ago. Have confidence and boldness to

    depend on God’s Word.

    Audio Pathway_2012_1_15.mp3
    SunSundayJanJanuary8th2012 Daniel- Revealing Character
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment
    By looking at the life of Daniel we can see how God uses our circumstances in life to build and reveal our character.  We can also see the lasting impact we have on people based on the decisions we make.  God is ready to use us to do amazing things if we are willing to follow His word and make the right choices in order to live a life for Him.   Audio Pathway_2012_1_8.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober23rd2011 Exiled: Part 1
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Ezra 0 comments Add comment
    Ezra 1:1-4 Audio Pathway_2011_10_23.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober16th2011 Going All In: Evangelism
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Acts 0 comments Add comment
    As followers of Christ we have one goal, to spread the gospel.  In this sermon, we will look at taking the rest of the things in your life to work together to spread the love of Christ.  Principles such as stewardship or intentional living can only make an impact if they are lived out along with a burden for lost souls.  Listen in to see what the Bible has to say about evangelism. 

    Acts 8:26
    Audio Pathway_2011_10_16.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober9th2011 Going All In: Stewardship
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Chronicles 0 comments Add comment
    In the next to last sermon in this series, Jeremy talks about stewardship.  In this message we look at how our stewardship is not only affected by our giving, but also how we use all of the things that God gives to us.  

    1 Chronicles 29:11
    Audio Pathway_2011_10_09.mp3
    SunSundayOctOctober2nd2011 Going All In: Unsettled
    byJeremy Flanagan