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Don't miss out...

Posted on Jun 2, 2017 11:08:29 AM by Hans Rasmussen in upcoming events

Don't you just hate it when you miss out on something cool?  I know I do!  We have some great events and opportunities this week that we don't want anyone to miss out on.  See below for details.

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Happy Mother's Day (for tired moms)!

Posted on May 11, 2017 9:14:35 AM by Rob Ferry in moms, in motherhood, in tired

Dear Tired Mom,

I think I know your secret—you probably feel guilty this time of year.

Why?

You are likely well aware—and possibly overly aware—of your mom faults, flaws, and failures. And Satan likes to make sure that you are often reminded, with accusation and condemnation, of all the ways you have fallen short. His plan is to keep you discouraged and dismayed. Since he first showed up to your mom, Eve, his plan has always been to try and get you and your sisters to try and be someone you can never be and do things you can never do, such as be always perfect, never weary, all-knowing, and everywhere present—like God.

Since you are probably worn out and just flat-out weary, you are even more susceptible to this. It’s no secret why Satan waited until Jesus was exhausted to show up with his temptation. When the kids are little, between the feedings, sickness, teething, and bodily fluids flying around like some sort of unsanitary water park—not to mention the blood-curdling, soul-rattling, sleep-ending kid nightmares—you’re lucky to get virtually any sleep and you’re sure to get weary physically. When the kids are bigger, they require so much help with homework and navigating friendships and the drama of school that you get weary emotionally. Then there’s the schedule juggling required to plan out activities, a task that usually results in adding part-time cab driver to your resume. Toss on that pile any health problems, a troubled marriage, extended family drama, and/or a job, and mom gives up hope of thriving in favor of surviving.

While the flowers, cards, and encouragement are nice for Mother’s Day, they can also have the curious reverse effect of making you feel unworthy and undeserving. The odds are you have in your mind some sort of Amazing Mom that is more of a mythical superhero than a realistic comparison to yourself. She’s usually a collection of bigger-than-life and better-than-reality snapshots. Grab a few Bible verses, starting with Proverbs 31, about the perfect wife and mom who sews her own clothes with a smile on her face while simultaneously canning and memorizing Leviticus in Hebrew; add in the one mom on earth who gets up before the sun to hit the gym every day, along with the woman who is more organized than the Holy Spirit, her friend who runs a family budget with more precision than a Fortune 500 CFO, along with the mom whose kids always look like they just stepped off the set of a catalog photo shoot, and the mom whose spotless home lacks any forensic evidence that human beings or a pet have actually ever entered it; and top it off with a few additional guilty burdens picked up from women’s magazines and women’s books in the “You Don’t Measure Up, Sister” section at your local Christian store and pretty soon even in your resurrected perfected eternal state you’ll still fall short.

I could be off base. Despite my occasional weight gain, I’ve never been pregnant. After all, I’m no mom. But I pastor a lot of moms. And I love them. I see motherhood from the outside rather than the inside. And as I listen to Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, hardworking moms, I wonder if what they don’t need for Mother’s Day is a bit of grace.

Mom, you are probably doing a much better job than you think you are, even if your kid recently went to school wearing a swimsuit and cowboy boots with gum in their hair and part of a crayon in their ear carrying a lunch consisting of exactly four puddings and two Cokes. And, the other moms probably aren’t doing the amazing job you think they are. I know them, too. Trust me, they are not faring any better, even if they fake it better. Jesus loves your kids more than you do, and he’s sent the Holy Spirit to help you to be their mom and to help them be God’s kids. Be encouraged. Satan is a liar, and being a mom is not just a hard job, it’s an impossible job. God has grace for you, you have grace for your kids, you have grace for other moms, and you need to have some for yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Marriage Retreat Weather Update

Posted on Apr 28, 2017 10:22:46 PM by Rob Ferry in weather

Dear Marriage Retreat Attendees:
 
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.  Proverbs 16:9
 
There are many things we can control, but the weather is NOT one of them!
 
I wanted to write here this Friday evening and let you know that, despite the spring snow storm, the Marriage Retreat is ’still on’.  We believe around 65% of our attendees have already arrived in Vail.
 
For those of you who plan to drive here tomorrow morning, please leave PLENTY of time to arrive and exercise caution in driving.
 
We realize some people are more comfortable than others driving in wintery conditions.  Please use your own personal wisdom and discretion in deciding whether or not to make the trip to Vail; your safety is most important!  You may wish to consult www.noaa.gov for weather reports and www.cotrip.org for road conditions as the storm progresses.
 
Our program will begin as scheduled at 10 AM, but if you are driving in the morning, don’t rush to get here; take your time and just jump in when you arrive. 
 
Sleep well and stay warm and be safe,
Rob
 
PS -  Hotel room cancellation policy:  There are no refunds offered for already-booked rooms UNLESS Vail Pass is closed for 3-4 hours.  At that point, the hotel begins to work with our event to consider some type of possible refund.  
 

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How Should I Celebrate Holy Week?

Posted on Apr 10, 2017 10:12:35 AM by Rob Ferry in Passion week, in Good Friday

We have no mandate from Jesus or his apostles to mark these days for particular observance. Paul, for one, would be quite happy for us to partake, or not. “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5).

Clearly, the celebration should not be pressed upon the conscience of others. “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath” (Colossians 2:16).

Opportunity, Not Obligation

Celebrating Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity. It is a chance to walk with the church, throughout time and throughout the world, as she walks with her Bridegroom through the most important week in the history of the world. It is a chance to focus our minds on, and seek to intensify our affections for, the most important and timeless of realities.

While not mandating the observance, or even suggesting it, the New Testament does give us indirect reason, if we’re looking for it. The final eight of Matthew’s 28 chapters are given to this one week, along with the last six of Mark’s sixteen and the final six of Luke’s 24.

“Celebrating Holy Week is not an obligation, but it is an opportunity.”

Most significant, though, is John. Ten of the Gospel’s 21 chapters — essentially half — deal with the final week of our Lord’s life, his betrayal, his trials, his crucifixion, and his triumphant resurrection. Even Acts, which then narrates the life of the early church, returns to the events of Holy Week with frequency (see, for instance, Acts 1:15–19; 2:22–36; 3:11–26; 4:8–12, 24–28, among others).

Indeed, it could even be said that all the Old Testament anticipates this week, and the rest of the New Testament reflects it in theology and practical living.

Seize the Week

Without any arm-twisting or conscience-pressing, I would encourage you to consider how you might make the most of this week. These are some of the darkest and brightest days in the history of the world, and they are rich with soul-sustaining food and life-clarifying vision.

In the chaos of our increasingly fast-paced and hectic society, Holy Week is a reminder to pause and ponder, to carefully mark each day and not let this greatest of all weeks fly by us like every other.

Perhaps pick a time each day — alone or with family or housemates — to slow down and savor what was happening during the Passion week some two thousands years ago. Consider reading through a Holy Week devotional — or even better, one (or a couple) of the Passion narratives from the Gospels:

Matthew 21–28

Mark 11–16

Luke 19–24

John 12–21

Block out some moments. Find a comfortable place to sit. Seek to quiet your soul, and pray that God would meet you in the events and significance of this week. And spend some time in prayer after you read and turn the truth Godward in adoration of Christ. Receive this week with thanksgiving, and make it holy by the word of God and prayer (1 Timothy 4:5).

You may want to make it memorable by choosing a new place or some other special flair. Our church's Good Friday service presents another opportunity.

A Prayer for Passion Week

If you’d like a specific biblical text to serve as a prayer charter for this week, here’s what I’m asking for myself and my family: that God would make the prayer of Ephesians 3:16–19 increasingly true of us this Holy Week —

that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Jesus’s step-by-step journey to Golgotha is a glowing revelation of the extent of his love. He loved us “to the uttermost” (John 13:1) in going all the way to the cross for us, with every bruise, every puncture, and throb and stab of pain. And it is during Holy Week that we see most profoundly how deep the Father’s love for us. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

May God make this to be for you a week of being newly grounded in the love of Christ, so plainly on display from the resolve of Palm Sunday, to the ultimate sacrifice of Good Friday, to the triumph of Easter Sunday. And may you freshly know the love of Christ, in all its breadth and length and height and depth — and wonder upon wonder, be filled with all the fullness of God.

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Our Obligation to a Lost World

Posted on Apr 3, 2017 2:43:01 PM by Rob Ferry in Special Missions, in unreached

Paul's book of Romans is not merely the best exposition in the Bible on Grace versus the Law, but it is at its heart very much a missionary support letter before he leaves for Spain.

Read in this light, Paul pleas that we all must GIVE TO or GO TO those who have not yet heard the gospel, however, whenever, and wherever God leads. I use the word must in light of Romans 1:14, where Paul speaks of his eagerness to preach the gospel:

I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.

Did you hear that? Paul said he is obligated to preach the gospel to all peoples. Literally, he owes the gospel to all peoples — to Greeks, to barbarians, and to the people of Rome. What a remarkable statement. Apparently, Paul’s ownership of the gospel creates an obligation with the gospel. Because he knows this good news of what God has done in Christ, he must spread this good news of what God has done in Christ. 

This is what I’m praying might become a reality in our hearts: that you and I might realize that we must do everything we can to get the gospel to people who’ve never heard it. That we would realize that our ownership of the gospel creates an obligation with the gospel. That we would see that saved people this side of heaven owe the gospel to lost people (and peoples) this side of hell. 

Saved people this side of heaven owe the gospel to lost people (and peoples) this side of hell.

So why does the Book of Romans tell us we must go to the unreached? Here, briefly stated, are four reasons:

1. Because their knowledge of God is only enough to damn them to hell forever.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

2. Because the gospel of God is powerful enough to save them for heaven.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

3. Because the plan of God warrants the sacrifices of his people.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Romans 10:13–14)

4. Because the Son of God deserves the praises of all peoples.

. . . to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations . . . (Romans 1:5)

We can’t keep this gospel to ourselves. It is the greatest news in all the world: People can be made right with God, forever, through faith in Jesus Christ. Everybody has got to hear this. They must hear this! After all, that’s why Paul is writing the book of Romans in the first place. In Romans 15:20 he says,

And thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation.

Paul wanted the church at Rome to help him get to Spain (givers) so he (as a go-er) could preach the gospel to the unreached there (Romans 15:24). He’s saying (really shouting) in the Book of Romans, “I owe, we owe, Christ to the nations, so let’s give and go and make him known!”

We must do this. This is not an option.

This is an obligation.

Application:  This missions season, how much can you give?  What more can you do?  What can you do differently than in previous years?  How can you be more creative to be more sacrificial? How can you make this year your best year yet for giving to missions? What can you sell, sacrifice for lost souls?

GIVE now by texting MISSIONS to 80077!

For additional study, listen to this lesson:  Paul's Missionary Appeal in Romans: Give or Go!

 

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Defusing the Worry Bomb

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 10:09:58 AM by Rob Ferry in worry, in stress, in news, in social media

I read a story last week about workplace productivity in decline after the election. Employees are struggling to stay focused on their work. Why?

Anxiety. The American Psychological Association conducts regular polls to track stress levels and causes. The most recent poll found a majority of us are worried about the future of the country.

But this post isn’t about politics. It’s about productivity.

When we’re anxious and stressed, we become vigilant. When it comes to current events, that means checking the news and social media constantly. But instead of allaying our fears, we find more information to feed our anxiety.

The good news is that you don’t have to get trapped in this vicious distraction cycle. 

One way to keep anxiety from sabotaging your work is to defuse the worry bomb.

I used to be a news junkie, from TV to bookmarks set on my internet browser to multiple news apps on my phone. Nowadays I never watch TV news, and I’ve recently begun only reading online news about once a week. Why? Instead of keeping me informed, I find the news media distorts my perspective and creates false worries.

Financial media is especially prone to this. It seems like whatever’s happening in the economy, somebody will find reason for panic.

Take it for a spin:  This year our church is fasting and praying on the first day of every month to experience both a deeper hunger for God and the power of corporate prayer and fasting.  In February I chose to fast from news and social media.  The reduction in distraction and stress, after just 24 hours, was remarkable!  If you are a news junkie, I invite you to try this out and see how you benefit.

We can control not only the news and social media we consume, but also the perspective we bring to it. That means we can confidently tune out most of the drama and get back to the things that matter most.

Question:  What would your life look like if you were able to dial down the news and social media drama and stay focused on the work that matters most?

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Are Basketball Brackets Worth The Madness?

Posted on Mar 13, 2017 9:40:04 AM by Rob Ferry in betting, in gambling, in money, in wagering

 

Selection Sunday is the day the teams competing in the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament are revealed. As the coverage starts, some teams are relaxed while others are anxiously awaiting the announcement. 

As soon as all 68 teams have been selected, players celebrate and cry while millions of people across the country begin filling out their tournament bracket

The all-consuming conversation on TV and around the workplace becomes who will be this year’s Cinderella story? Will Butler emerge again? Can Gonzaga make its first Final Four? Will a 16-seed finally beat a 1-seed? 

It’s called March Madness because for one month everyone seems to be mad about basketball. And for some, at least, the madness is driven by both a love of the sport and a vested interest in seeing who wins. 

We All Love Picking a Winner

From legal betting to illegal office pools, the NCAA tournament draws in people who have not watched a basketball game all year. According to the American Gaming Association, Americans gambled $9.2 billion on March Madness in 2015. 

Any game we play for money is gambling, whether it’s a round of poker or a baby pool. But for those of us who love Jesus and basketball, this time of year, more than many others, begs the question: Is gambling a sin? 

You will not find the word “gambling” in the Bible, but there are three questions we can ask to help us determine if putting money on a bracket is a wise thing to do. 

1. Why am I gambling?

For some, the thrill of the competition is what makes gambling fun. A friendly wager can provide a reason to follow the game or the adrenaline of competition. But for others, the desire to gamble is rooted in a love of money.  

If we’re gambling to get out of debt or to get rich, we’re putting our hope in the wrong place. 

More money will not fix our problems or fulfill us. Only a relationship with Jesus can fulfill the longing in our hearts and bring us peace.

Hebrews 13:5 warns against putting our hope in money, saying, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’”

2. Can I stop gambling?

This question will help you determine if friendly competition has become a compulsion. If you do not feel you can stop, or if you can’t have fun without a wager, your gambling has become an addiction. 

Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

If you’ve ever known an addict, you know how enslaving addiction can be. Jesus gave us the freedom to do anything, but He does not want us to be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12). 

3. Do others know I am gambling?

If you can’t do what you’re doing out in the open, that’s usually a good sign you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. 

The biggest reason one gentleman I know doesn’t gamble regularly is because his wife is not OK with it. If he were to start gambling on March Madness or college football, he would have to do it in secret. And for him, there is not a prize out there worth losing his marriage over.

Whatever we do in secret will come out. In Luke 8:17, Jesus tells us, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”  

God knows the secrets and desires of our hearts (Psalm 44:21). And eventually, others will, too. 

Bringing Sanity to the Madness

The success of winning a bet is thrilling, but we both know the thrill will not last. The reward for following Jesus, however, will last into eternity. 1 Corinthians 9:25 says, “Everyone who competes goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we [Christians] do it get a crown that will last forever.” 

No matter how much we research teams and seek that magic bracket buster, winning the office pool will not bring the same reward as a life lived for Christ. 

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Pray Something Big Before You Eat

Posted on Mar 7, 2017 5:49:18 AM by Hans Rasmussen in Prayer

What do we pray before we eat together as a family?

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Know Your Enemy

Posted on Feb 27, 2017 9:33:32 AM by Rob Ferry in war, in enemy, in satan

 

So, when’s the last time you felt like you got shot—emotionally, right? You had that recently? Doctor says, “It’s cancer.” Friend says they don’t want to be with you anymore. Spouse says, “I think we’re done.” Shot financially—you lose your job, you’re upside down, something busts, you don’t have money for it. You find yourself in real trouble. You’re shot spiritually—you don’t know why, but you’re discouraged, depressed. It feels like there is a cloud that is encircling you. Your thoughts are foggy, and your hope is fading.

What we tend to do in those moments is look up to God—“God, where are you? I thought you were good. I thought you loved me. I thought you would take care of me. I thought you would provide for me. Why do you hurt me? Why are you opposed to me? Why are you—why are you fighting me?”

You ever felt that? People go all kinds of directions when they find themselves in those moments of getting shot. “Maybe there is no God. Maybe God isn’t good. Maybe God loves other people, but God doesn’t love me. Maybe God isn’t that powerful.”

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

You need to know, I need to know, we need to know that it’s not just us and God. There’s a third variable that we absolutely have to factor into everything, and that’s Satan and demons.

We live in a day when, through psychology, through explanation, through a resistance to the supernatural, people don’t even believe in Satan and demons. We turn them into fictitious cartoon characters and mythical parts of our historical narrative; the stories we tell and the fairy tales we enjoy—we don’t think they’re real. We don’t think that Satan is real; we don’t think that demons are real. And so we tend to, every time we are shot, question or blame God, while Satan laughs and runs away.

This is incredibly important. The world is not the way it should be. Not everything that happens is God’s idea. There is also God’s enemy. And it’s so important that it’s the final word in the book of Ephesians.

Turn to and read Ephesians 6:10–24. This is the last word from God through Paul, and it’s about Satan and demons. Yes, the book does talk about your salvation. It does talk about your friendships. It does talk about your marriage. It does talk about your work life. It does talk about your children. But if you overlook, if you neglect, the existence and the war from Satan and demons, it will infect, affect, destroy everything God is trying to do in your life, in our church.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness—(that’s demons)—against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

It’s very clear. There’s the church, there is God, and then there is a war against God and his people that is waged by Satan and demons. And I want you to know this, Denver Church: when we read this verse, because we come from a hyper-individualistic cultural background, we tend to read this and think that this is to be applied one by one for each of us. And so when we teach this section of Scripture to little boys in Sunday school, they all get dressed up like soldiers. The truth is, we’re all soldiers. But it takes an army to win a war.

This is a word to the whole church—not just individuals in the church but the whole church, laboring, warring, working together. This is a word for us. It’s a word for you, but it’s word for you as part of us. Jesus loves us; Satan hates us. Jesus has plans for us; Satan has plans to oppose us. Jesus, in every way, will bless us; but Satan will, in every way, seek to undermine that blessing. It’s a war!

Do you know that? Most Christians don’t! We live in a therapeutic culture where God is reduced to a life coach who comes along to ask you what you want and to give you tips and tricks to do a better job, to live for your glory, to be what you want, to get what you want, to do what you want! And in that way, it’s absolutely demonic! God does not exist to serve you; you exist to serve him!

IT’S A WAR!

It’s a war! How many of you feel like this life is just an insane war? You know why? It’s an insane war! The closer you get to Jesus, the more resistance you’ll get! The more you advance to the kingdom of God, the more shots you’ll take! Don’t be a coward who says, “Oh, things are hard. It must not be God’s will.” The harder it gets, the closer you are to the will of God.

So, Paul has a very strong word. This is a military word from a commander in chief to troops on the ground for what is to come.  Do you know you have an enemy? Do you know you’re not loved by everyone and everything? Do you know you’re hated, despised, and opposed? Do you know that we are? “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood”—Ephesians 6:12—“but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

People are not our enemy; Satan and demons are our enemy. The Bible speaks of non-Christians as captives. What happens in a war is an overtaking army then enslaves and takes captives the citizens who are conquered. That’s called earth. The world has been conquered by Satan and demons (2 Corinthians 4:4). We’ve been taken captives in the war.

So, our war is not against the captives; our war is against their captors, Satan and demons. We strive that people would be spiritually, in every way, set free to become the children of God. This is why Jesus says very early in his earthly ministry that he has come to set captives free. That’s what he’s talking about. So, our war is not against the non-Christians. Our war is not against those who would disagree with biblical faith. Our war is against Satan and demons who have taken people captive to do his will.

  • How can you remind yourself this week that there is an enemy?
  • How can knowing you have an enemy help you?

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Recovering from Low Expectations

Posted on Feb 24, 2017 10:01:02 AM by Rob Ferry in expectation, in dream

 

Join us in person or online this Sunday at 10 AM at our LifeSource location! Livestream will take place on the DCC Facebook page (search @DenverChurchOfChrist). For a preview, click  http://bit.ly/2l7F6Oc . Theme text Acts 3:1-10.

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