Blog Archives

Results matter…even to God

My older daughter is a public school teacher.  This week she was evaluated by her principal, because the best way to tell if a teacher is doing well is to watch her/him teach.

It’s actually a regular part of the teaching profession.  Which got me thinking about a verse I read recently in the New Testament book of Philippians.

Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. (Philippians 2:12 NLT)

This is like an evaluation from the principal.  Show the results of your salvation, of your being made new in the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  Show the results of your faith in Jesus Christ as your leader, your king, your Lord.  Show the results as evidenced by deep reverence of God.  Oh, and work hard at this.

Whew!  That’s a tall order.  It’s also an order that’s easy to neglect.  Because it not only takes work to SHOW the results, it takes work and intentionality to monitor them.  To evaluate the results.

So here’s a question (actually two questions) for all of us as the school year winds down, and as students and teachers receive their evaluations and show the results of their efforts.

  • What results are you showing?
  • Is there anyone who’s helping you by offering an honest evaluation of how you’re doing?

Because apparently results matter.  Even to God.

-Pastor Mark

Does God take vacation?

Have you ever had a crazy-busy season of life after which you just wanted to take a vacation and get some rest? That’s kinda what it can be like around a church office the week after Easter.

We just finished the biggest event of the year, with four gatherings and almost 1500 people. We wrapped up a week-long Spring Break camp that turned our normally quiet building into a hotbed of activities, games, fun, learning, and very loud groups of kids. And we pulled out all the stops for a powerful, multi-sensory Good Friday experience. It’s enough to make our staff want to take some much-deserved vacation.

Which got me thinking. Does God take vacation? Jesus made this statement during his ministry on earth.

My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working. John 5:17

Apparently God is NOT taking vacation just yet.

Ever wonder what God does when he works? Is he fixing things? (sorta) Is he building things (sorta) Is he solving problems? (sorta) The short answer is, he’s working on you. And me. Yep, we’re his project. And he wakes up in the morning thinking about you, thinking about how to get you closer to his original design.

That journey, from who we are, to who God longs for us to be, that’s the journey of transformation. And that’s the journey we’re committed to walking with you. Our mission at Seneca Creek is “To develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” IOW, to help you experience God’s transformational work in your life.

One of the ways we try to help is through our Rooted Experience and Converge Groups. (I know, shameless plug here.) So as you think about where your life is, and where you long for it to be, just remember that God longs to work in you and on you. And since one of the best ways to participate in that work is in community, why not consider signing up for Rooted, or (if you’ve already gone thru Rooted) for one of our Converge Groups for this Spring. It just might be one of the best choices you make in 2018.

A recent Rooted celebration event

God is always at work. He’s not on vacation. Are you giving him room to work in your life?

-Pastor Mark

P.S. Speaking of work, I worked on a list of resources to share last Sunday, then forgot to mention it. So if you have questions about the Resurrection, or if you know someone who does and you’re trying to help them, check out this list of resources.

Two opportunities to know about right now

Whenever a disaster strikes, we’re prompted to ask, “How can we help.”  May I suggest the following?

First, we are part of an association of 1200 churches that is mobilizing not only financial resources, but actual “on the ground” teams to help with the arduous task of restoring and rebuilding homes and lives.  We participated together during the aftermath of Katrina, and this is another opportunity to work together to make a difference.

If you’d like to make a financial donation to assist with the needs, you can click here.  As the details and opportunities become clearer in the coming days, we’ll keep you informed about opportunities for teams of volunteers to assist in other ways, such as collecting needed goods, and/or sending teams to the affected areas.

The second opportunity is not about people in Texas, but people right here in Maryland.  I’m referring to our Rooted Experience which starts again on September 12th.  You may have already heard about it.  If not, it’s a 10-week experience designed to help you connect with God, connect with the church, and connect with your purpose.  And boy oh boy, it will do that and more!  Listen to the comments of some of the hundreds of people at Seneca Creek who’ve already taken this step:

I struggled all my life with depression and being afraid. Fear would take me into a vicious cycle of depression that would be hard to escape. I have been on so many medications trying to find the right one that would agree with me. Being stuck in that dark hole was overwhelming and seemingly never ending. But I hid it well so others wouldn’t know and hold it against me.
Rooted changed me and it changed my outlook on God… Rooted helped me learn some very important truths about the God who loves me and what His purpose is for me

 

I didn’t want to attend Rooted.  I thought it was only for people who were new Christians or new to the church or needed a little extra help in their walk with the Lord. I was afraid it would be a waste of my time. Pride, I guess… Rooted was more than learning the basics about Christianity, faith, and God.  It helped me connect with other women in the church, break strongholds and shame from my past, and gave me the confidence and clarity to pursue my calling.  I started the group not having any connections in the church.  I felt like if I didn’t show up one week, no one would even notice.  Even though I had been attending the church for over three years, I just wasn’t connected.  Rooted changed that.  Today, I am still very close to the women in that group.  We pray, share and eat together.  They are my sisters, and I know that they would drop everything and pray for me (and I for them).
God used these women to help me break strongholds and a pattern of shame from my past… I really felt God’s Spirit set me free from negative patterns I had struggled with for years.  Without…Rooted, I’m not sure how much longer I would have been stuck in pain, shame, and darkness.  I am so much freer, happier, and confident now… I can genuinely say my life was changed. 

 

Rooted left me feeling empowered the most. I know that seems like an odd word to use, but the reason is because before Rooted I was still a very, very new Christian. I didn’t know too much but I did know that I was a believer.  I have learned so much in Rooted about myself, other people in my group, and most importantly I learned more about God.
Before Rooted…I was a believer but still had trouble sharing that with some people because although not proud, I used to refer to people that were believers as, ” Holy Rollers, and Bible Pushers” because I was ignorant. And because of the person I was, I was scared to tell people I believed in Jesus and the Christian life.
Rooted made me be proud to tell people about my faith and took the fear of being made fun of for it away! For that reason… I used the word EMPOWERED.

 

I thought it would be a great way to move deeper into my relationship with Jesus Christ and at the same time for me to get to know others in the church beyond the weekly “meet and greet” handshake… Rooted was just what I needed at the time.  A safe place to share concerns, worries and blessings with others who also were working through their journeys as well… I loved going every week-and I was sad when it ended.  I still feel fellowship and friendship with the individuals in my group and have moved into small group ministries with several of them. 

 

Rooted is a place where true friendship and bonding are fostered more effortlessly. Some of my most profound relationships began in Rooted. It kept me connected, energized and emboldened. I look forward to more experiences like Rooted.

You have an opportunity to start writing your own Rooted story.  Click here now to register for this life-changing experience!  You will not regret it.

-Pastor Mark