Blog

To see the city of Orlando redeemed by the power of the gospel for the glory of God.

Praying According to I AM

"praying the I AM statements" 

"praying the I AM statements" 

Jesus leaves us with no questions as to who he is in the Gospel of John as we read the I AM statements. Something that can be easily overlooked is not only did Jesus want us to know who he is with confidence, but he wants us to know how we are to relate to him in light of who he is.

After Jesus says that he is the way, the truth, and the life in John 14.7 he says

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14.11-14

Jesus links our belief in him to the work of doing greater works than the miracles that were already demonstrated. Namely the greatest miracle one can receive which is salvation because of his finished work of the cross. Belief then leads us to ask of Him in accordance with his character and he will provide. He wants us to ask because he wants to give. He wants to give so that the Father might be glorified in the Son.

Let’s get real practical with what this looks like.

Jesus says “I am the bread of life”.  John 6.35

  • Provider

  • Sustainer

  • He Satisfies

How can you thank Jesus for what he has given you? Where can you ask Jesus to be this for you? What needs do you have that you can ask of him? Where do you look to be satisfied in things that do not? Where do you need his bread to sustain you?

Jesus says “I am the light of the world”. John 8.12

  • Reveals

  • Dispels Darkness

  • Illuminates the way to follow him

Where can you praise God for revealing himself to you? Who do you know that needs Christ revealed to them? What Spiritual Warfare are you going through? How can we pray for the darkness of our city and even in our church?

Jesus says “I am the door of the sheep”. John 10.9

  • Protector

  • Guard

  • Shelter

Where do you need God’s protection? Where are you dependent on God to open the right doors for you? What relationship do you need God’s guidance with to preserve and protect you?

Jesus says “I am the good shepherd”. John 10.11

  • Leader

  • Pastor

  • Friend

Where do you need his leadership in your life? Where are you trying to lead that you can confess to him? Who do you know that needs his leadership and in what specific ways? How can our church be more dependent upon his leadership? How can you pray for your spiritual leadership? Where do you seek to know the good shepherd more intimately?

Jesus says “I am the resurrection and the life”. John 11.25

  • Healer

  • Giver of Life

  • Giver of Joy

Will you ask Jesus to be your good doctor who brings healing to your heart? What physical ailments do you or others have that you can pray for? Who needs the life of Christ that you can pray for? Where do you experience sadness or depression and ask for joy in Christ? What fears do you have?

Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life”. John 14.7

  • The Only Way

  • Absolute Truth

  • Life worth living

What doubts do you have that you can share with Jesus? What lies have you believed that need to be repented of? Where do you struggle to live out the truth? Who are the people in your life that you trust to be honest with you, and pray for them?

Jesus says “I am the true vine”. John 15.1

  • Grace

  • Grows Us

  • Prunes us

What area of your life do you need to see God’s grace? Where can you thank God for the grace he has given you? How can you pray that God would grow and prune you? How can you ask God to help your cooperate with his growth and pruning? How can you ask God’s help to grow in the spiritual disciplines? Where do you need God’s help to bear fruit?

While prayer does not need to be a complicated formula it is important to know that God want’s your prayers, he wants your communion with him. Praying is less about seeking what God provides, but more about seeking God himself. He is the great gift of prayer.

Tips:

  • Avoid ME centered prayers. Utilize ACTS adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication to help with this.

  • Pray for your church, pastors, community group members, and leaders in this

  • Use this as a guide to pray for the lost and use your to lead them to Christ.

What do you want for Christmas? Advent 2016

What do you want for Christmas? It was a question I was asked as a child by my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and by so many. As a child Christmas became a time of expectation and longing, but it was for the things under the tree. What kid would not look forward to Christmas every year if it was filled with the newest toy, gaming system, and not to mention the best of food and all that candy? But is that what Christmas is really all about? 

Christmas good tidings should be enjoyed, but the sole focus of the holiday is about 1 gift. The gift that far surpasses all others and best gift ever given came as a babe in the manger who would be the Savior of the world. Before Christ’s coming the world was promised through God’s Word the Messiah, one who would set sinners free. Those who awaited his coming lived with hope upon God’s promise. 

Isaiah 9.7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; 

and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 

and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, 

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Today I am learning that the joy of the Christmas season is best experienced by our joy in Christ. We celebrate with food, family, friends, and cheer, but we do so knowing that we can celebrate only because the gift of the manger was given at the cross. The babe in the manger is the crucified King. He gives good tidings of great joy because he laid down his life so that we might live. 

Advent is about making this the primary focus of our hearts. God teaches his church how to long through his first coming for his second. Christmas points forward to the second coming of Christ where he will set the world right. Revelation 22.3 tells us “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.” Advent is not a fairytale that we falsely hope in, but a true gift that is sealed by God’s own blood. We invite you and yours to join us this Advent season at CrossPointe Downtown. Together we worship Jesus, and make Him the focus of our hearts this Christmas season.

Week 1 (11/27) -Waiting: Hope

Week 2 (12/4) - Receiving: Love

Week 3 (12/11) - Proclaiming: Joy

Week 4 (12/ 18) - Longing: Peace

Week 5 (12/ 21) - Fulfillment: Christ (Special Wednesday 6pm Service) 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Pastor Ryan 

Let the bible read you

Chances are if you are reading this you have read the bible at some point in your life either alone, with others, or maybe even at church. It is easy to say think about reading your bible, but getting to the place where you find the time, space, and right frame of mind to actually do it is a different story. Why is this? Probably because we have all had these experiences in reading the bible personally and it is just kind of ho hum, mediocre, or maybe just ok. We hear the value of it, we want the transformation of our souls of what we believe it will produce, but day after day that bible sits on our nightstand collecting dust.

Sound familiar? I know it is for me, I have had lots of good intentions for bible reading and countless times I have felt the wind from my sails being sucked away when those times are just kind of eh.

What is the problem? I am finding that the problem with bible reading is not so much reading the bible but an internal heart issue that I need to submit to God. The crazy thing is that if you want to get to the heart of the problem you have to actually go to God’s word in order to find the cure. Here is what we know about the Bible from the Bible according to Paul from 2 Timothy 3.16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

All Scripture is God breathed

This means that it is pure, true, and without defect. The source of the word of God is God, and he is perfect and because he is perfect and without error, so is his word. This means that the problem with reading the bible is not with the bible with us, this is why I believe that we should not read the bible but allow the bible to read us. What does this mean? It means we place our lives under the authority of the word of God that is breathed out by God. It means that we subject our lives to the true words of scripture and we depend upon God in prayer for this as a means of our transformation. God’s word trains us, it rebukes us, and it corrects, and conforms us into the image of Jesus making us holy, as he is holy.

When we take the problem of our heart and place it under the submission of God’s word we see from God that we are actually forgiven. How do we know that? Well, God’s word tells us, and it also tells us of the freedom that God gives for our everyday life. Go ahead see for it yourself it is right there in Ephesians 1.7-10 and also Romans 3.23-24 and in a whole lot more places in the bible.

However, the argument I want to make today is that making it a habit of your heart to allow the word of God to read you will change your life. It takes time, it may seem rigorous, and it may even feel boring. But when a heart is submitted to the word of God based on the forgiveness we received in Christ Jesus the word is ALWAYS at work.

How do I begin to allow the bible to read me?

Step 1: Pray, God Help Me! Notice that the first step is prayer, because even in our bible reading we are acknowledging that we are dependent upon God to experience a work of his grace.

Step 2: Choose a book of the bible to study. However tempting it may be to just pick up the bible and pick a passage blindly, don’t do it! You need a plan of action, and a plan that gives you the opportunity to read passages in their entirety for your growth.

Step 3: Create a habit. If you want bible reading to penetrate your heart you need to make it a habit of the heart. This needs to be a regular occurrence in your life. I really believe making it a daily habit is best, but I also realize that starting there is difficult. What if you carved out 30 minutes a day for 3 days during the week? The Holy Spirit will work to rearrange your hearts desires so that this is not only something you have to do, but want to do.

Step 4: Use a plan. Reading the bible verse by verse for a 30-minute chunk of time can seam daunting, but this is where we allow the bible to read us. There is a tried and true tool that allows for us take our lives and submit them to God’s word in order for it to read our lives.

·      Observation: What does it say?

·      Interpretation: What does it mean? How does this passage point me to Jesus?

·      Application: How can I live out, or walk in obedience to the truth of God’s word?

Step 5: Read with others. Personal bible reading is important, but make sure you neglect reading God’s word with others. This is why at CrossPointe we have community groups where we can learn and discuss and allow what we have read in God’s word together to impact our lives as a church body.

Finally, I want to ask the question what is the goal? Every good beginning should have a good end in mind. What is the end? It’s helpful to know that Bible reading is just a means to the end. This means that when we allow the bible to read us it leads us to beyond simply the reading of the bible and into worship. Bible reading fans the flames of our love of God, it causes us to be confronted with our sin and empowers us by grace to walk in obedience. The bible melts our hard hearts and it does so by ushering us to the feet of Jesus who died so that we might live.

We go to the Bible because the bible points us to Jesus and reveals to us that he is the word of God and life unto our souls (John 1.1-18).

Here is more on the plan: http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/tools-for-studying-the-bible/

Lake Eola Prayer Vigil

image.jpg

This evening my family went to be present to weep alongside of those who weep. The 49 names of those killed a week ago were remembered with tears and with longing that things would change. 

I believe that the city of Orlando needs love, but only the love Christ can give. I believe that Orlando has never been more in need of the Gospel than it is right now. 

Psalm 37.7-11

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace. 

Prayer by Pastor Josiah Ravish  

Pastor Josiah wrote this prayer for our worship gathering this morning. Would you join us in praying this prayer?  

"Dear heavenly Father, as we sit in the wake of this horrendous act of evil a week ago, we cannot help but feel frantic and afraid. How long until “the wicked are no more?” How long is “just a little while?” We long for your return when your glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea and you make all things right. There, we will not cry, or fear, or hurt. You will be the one to wipe our tears and embrace us against your chest.

We ask to experience that embrace today. On this Father’s Day, especially bless those who mourn the loss of their son, daughter, father, mother, relative or friend. Give them peace in the deepest recesses of their souls even at the absence of understanding.

Teach your church courage in the face of fear and give us wisdom to demonstrate love and practice justice. Keep us vigilant until you come again knowing that our works are never in vain; Your gospel WILL prevail! In the triumphant name of Jesus we pray, Amen."

image.jpg

#loveOrlando

How can we love Orlando? 

CrossPointe Downtown is located 3 miles from where 50 people were killed early Sunday morning. It was an event that awaked us that tragedy is always nearby. Our church meets in the downtown YMCA where I volunteer as a chaplain, that afternoon I came in on shift Sunday afternoon and realized that devastation of this even was one that impacted some of the membership at the downtown YMCA. I had the opportunity to pray with YMCA leadership and members as we mourned the news together. 

As time passes and the dust begins to settle the question I ask myself is this: How can we love Orlando? My aim in asking this question is not posturing or conflict, but to equip our church downtown to be faithfully loving and faithfully serving in the Orlando community. 

This Sunday preached on 1 John 4.7-12 and how appropriate that our church could behold God’s word together for this scripture. In the heart of this passage for the church  we see that because we are loved by God we are to be a loving people. 

Love Proclaimed

1 John 4.7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

How can we know about the love of God, unless God tells us about the love of God? God’s love is revealed to us through his word. We see from this scripture that God is love meaning that love is an attribute of God and the attributes of his goodness, mercy, and grace flow from his love. Even God’s wrath flows from his love, because God is the one who is the source and definition of love. The only way we can understand true love is to understand the true God. If we understand the true God who is love, then we will be a loving people thus validating that we are born of God. To love God means that you love others, if you do not love others it means that you do not really love God. The two always go together, you can not say you love God and not love those around you. If this is the case then you do not love God. 

To adequately love Orlando means that we proclaim the God of love whom we find proclaimed in he Bible and that God is not silent on his love, that God is not silent on sin, that God is not silent on hurt, but it is through those things that he wants us to acknowledge our need for his love. 

Love Proven

1 John 4.9-10
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us ad sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God’s love is not simply spoken of in his word but it is proven on the cross. The cross shows us the lengths that God will go to make his love known to us. Not only that, but the cross shows us that the only way to know the love of God is to see it through God’s Son Jesus Christ. Most people will give a hearty amen when it comes to the statement “God is Love”, but here is where Christianity differs. God is love, and his love can only be known through his Son. Why is this? Because in order for God to be loving to people who have turned their back on him, who did not want any part of him, who would rather live life on their own terms that to follow a good and righteous God, he had to make a way. What this means for me is that Jesus had to die for my sin problem because it was deserving of death. God could reveal his love no other way, because God could not be just and allow sin to go unpunished. This is why Jesus is our “propitiation” he is our sin bearing substitute. Unlike a substitute teacher who may not be as good as the real thing, the reason why needed a substitute is because we would never be as good as we needed to be to receive God’s love. This is why we need Jesus, he lived a perfect and sinless life which made him the perfect sacrifice to take away sin. 

Some people would say that God is unloving because of this, but I believe they do not see that this is the most loving display of grace ever known. God gave his only Son. C.S. Lewis tells us “The Son of God became a man, so that men might become sons of God”. God gave at great cost to himself! In a world of self-love that is totally self-seeking, God showed a love that was self-sacrificing. “For God so love that he gave”, love is completely and totally giving, meaning that love is forgiving. We see the forgiving love of God at the cross and recognize that this is the only way to receive the eternal love of God, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is Christ who proves God’s love on the cross. 

We must show Orlando that God's love is proven on the cross of Christ. To show this is to be loving as God has shown us. We can have true love no other way! 

Love Perfected

1 John 4.11-12 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

To the beloved child of God bought by the blood of the precious Savior, how much does God love you? Look to the cross and you need not look any further. He loves you so much that he died that you might live. Now, how much should you love others? Well, the cross shows us that our love must be demonstrated in the same way. We must love so much it hurts, we must forgive with-out asking for someone to pay for it. God chose not to reveal himself through angels, but sinners saved by grace. We are a walking demonstration of who God is, because he abides in us. Not only that but his love is perfected in us, meaning that as we show the perfect love of God, people will see the perfect love of God in us. We cannot make God’s love anymore perfect than it is already, but we sure can show people that we have a love that is perfect. While we are flawed and sinful human beings, we know a love with out flaws and imperfections. This is the love that compels our desire from with-in to love others. This is a love that pushes us out of our comfort zone to put our love into deeds and demonstrate God’s love with tangible acts of kindness that knows no bounds. 

How can we love Orlando? I believe the love of God will well up in you and the Holy Spirit will give you opportunities to love in ordinary and extraordinary ways. But the best way to love Orlando is to love like God loves. A God who wants the world to see of his love through Christ Jesus. Every corner of our city needs that love, a perfect love. 

  • note that I adapted the 3 points of love from Warren Wiersbe