The DNA of Alpine Bible

Home » Sermons » Standalone » The DNA of Alpine Bible

Auto Generated Transcript

And so if you’ve got a Bible, the book of Matthew in front of you, I’m going to invite you to start in chapter 23. Uh, here’s here’s, um, I try to script this as best as possible, but I’m going to lay out my life and Alpine Bible Church and what we’re all about this morning. And and you can’t really put that in the book. So, so you have an outline in your notes that will roughly follow what I’m going to go through this morning. But I just want to share why we’re here as a church and what what we’re doing in Lehigh and, and what we feel like God’s plan is for us as a church family. Um, and I want to say this, our church is about we are almost six years old. We’re in between that five, six year mark. We turned six years old in in August. We we started, um, ten years ago on a prayer in Wines Park. And then we started meeting, um, a little over five years ago at my house. And since that point, we have we have moved locations six times. We’ve outgrown every place we’ve been. My living room was the quickest one to outgrow, but we started living room, hotel, hotel to a print shop, print shop. Smells. Got a storefront, storefront got too small. We expanded it to two storefronts. Two storefronts got too small, expanded to this building.

And now this building is getting too small. And I don’t even know I quit at that. All right, this is it. But a lot of changes, a lot of stress coming with that. Um, gotten to the point in ministry where if I’m not stressed out about something, I feel like something’s wrong. It’s it’s it’s, uh, it’s funny when you read the story of people in the, in the Old Testament, I’ll read their stories. I’m like, man, I want to be like that. Right? But then I read how their life started and I’m like, but I don’t want that. I don’t I mean, Abraham was Abraham called out of his land at such an old age, I mean, having kids at a hundred or Moses. It wasn’t. He was 80 years old before he leaves the children of Israel out of Egypt. When I’m 80, I am not leading anywhere. I am going to sit down and relax and I’ll tell you where to go, but I don’t. I don’t want how they started, but I want where, where they’re going and and all those things happen. Um, really in small steps. Uh, I think in our generation, we’re about the microwave generation where we want the we want to be everything that we have imagined in our head just tomorrow. And it’s funny when you when you study the way that nature works, if, uh, when God grows a mushroom, it takes six hours.

But. But to make it an oak tree, it takes 60 years. You know what I’m saying? Uh, if you want to build a skyscraper, um, you don’t just light on the foundation of a of a house. You go as deep into the ground as you do as tall above the earth. You have to dig into that. And and when you read about the things that God did with people that he chose, he, he, he picked people that you would look at and think, yeah, you’re not you’re not ever going to make it. And then and then the Lord does profound things with him. And that that is my story. Um, the question I start off with this morning is, is important for us. It’s simply to ask this question, why? Why am I here? Um, if you study religious philosophy, it’s funny because there’s a lot of people who who have are very studied in philosophy and religion, and they can’t even answer that question. And before I even begin to know what it is I’m supposed to do on this earth, there’s no way I can hit the target without knowing why on God’s green earth I’m here. But I can take guesses, but no way of ever knowing for sure if if I’m living out that purpose. And so answering the question why you are here is really important. And I tell you that ten years ago I came and visited Utah and it was a fluke.

Um, all I wanted to do was drive from the East Coast, where I’m from, to the West Coast. I just wanted to see the country. That was selfish. It was my only intention. And I had a friend here that lived in Utah, and he told me stories about Utah and the need for a mainstream Christian church in Utah. And and I looked at him and said, you’re crazy. This is America nowhere. You know, it doesn’t that doesn’t exist. Ever. There’s a church on every street corner in America. Um, what am I going to why would I need to bring a mainstream church here to Utah? And and then I come out and visit, and then I see the need. And I want to say before I share further on that, that I love Utah. And I think this place is a beautiful place to live. It’s a wonderful place to live. People try hard in their living to to live a very moral life. I’ve lived, and I don’t know how many different states I’ve bounced around a little bit as a kid and and nowhere was as safe as here. Like, it took me a couple years to get used to the fact that no one likes anything, you know, like it’d be gone in five seconds. Everywhere else I’ve ever lived and kids leave their bikes in the park. I don’t know what’s up with that, but.

But I did that once when I was a kid and I never saw my bike again, you know, um, it’s a great place to live. And then, you know, as I visited here, I found out some things as well. The longer you’re here and the more that you pull back the mask, you also find that it’s a place of of real need and hurting. Um. In our in our state, we we rank the highest in things that you don’t necessarily want to rank the highest in, like prescription drug abuse or suicide. Um. Pornography downloading. Um. You look at those things, you look at our area and you think, man, this is really nice, and this is the most religious place in all of the world. And and then you pull back the mask and you think, but why? Why is that behind there? I mean, you think if you’ve got religion then you should have all that fixed, right? If religion is is is the cure? Um, let me stop with that for just a minute and share a little bit of my story. When I was a young kid, I grew up, um. Pretty broken. And. Excuse me. Always looked for. Something bigger than myself to live for and struggle with finding that. I grew up in West Virginia. My mom was a single mom. She had me at 16. We lived on welfare for most of my life.

Um, uh, I had a lot of anger issues dad wasn’t present in the home for for most of my adult life. The men that I were around were the type of men that you would rather take out back and beat up than than to welcome. And God built a lot of anger in my heart in that. And always look for something bigger in life. When I was 16. I had a gentleman in his 70s come to me who was a little thug. Um, if you looked at me the wrong way, you would. You would have gotten sucker punched in the back alley. I was that kind of kid, and I grew up in that kind of neighborhood. And, um, this older man came to me, and he began to just share Christ. Tell me about Jesus. And I didn’t want to listen to everything that he had to say because I didn’t really care about what he wanted to offer. But I had never really had someone come up to me like that and just present that unconditional love outside of my mother. But in a home life where it’s difficult, you’re, um, it’s hard to find peace in that. And and so the, the love that this guy showed for someone who didn’t care. Uh, spoke to my heart. Eventually, I gave my life to Christ. I realized what I was missing was in Christ. I realized I needed rescued, and I realized Jesus came to rescue me.

And then I went into a church after that, and I had this hunger within me to want to know about Christ. And so I went to this religious assembly, and then I start walking around and talking to people. And and I didn’t know the word at the time, but what, what God had created within me, a desire to be was a disciple. I didn’t even know what that meant. But I walked into a church, and I remember and I go to these older people and thinking, man, an old man showed me this. So an older man, it can teach me more. And I had this hunger and I’m like, I just want to know more about Jesus. And the guy looked at me and he said, you know, um, that’s fine, but I can’t teach you. He was a leader in the church, but he couldn’t teach me. But he said that I couldn’t even come to church anyway because I wasn’t dressed in a shirt and tie. Right. I’m thinking. That’s strange. I grew up poor. I don’t have certain ties, you know. West Virginia man. Like having my teeth is like an accomplishment. And, um. And so I left frustrated. But. But I continue that process, and I went to I asked who the leaders were, and I went to every individual. And I asked them, Will you teach me? Will you teach me? Will you teach me? And no one, no one would do it.

But but they were quick, quick to critique me. And to point out how I didn’t fit into their religious assembly. Which left me with a question. Well, why am I here? The Jesus that I think I encountered definitely wasn’t at the place that I was now going. I wanted to know why. I’m here. You can’t accomplish the what until you know the why. And I and I took that first step in Christ. But I needed someone to continue to paint that picture for me. In the book of Matthew and chapter 23, Jesus is having that same conversation. Jesus has come to the end of his life, and he’s just given this last thought to Israel. And I got to tell you when I read this, this passage I call the saddest verse in the whole Bible, this this verse is the verse that. It just breaks my heart. And you read in verse 37 it says this. And he said to him, you shall love. Excuse me, not the right verse. In verse 2733, um, it says in verse 37, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stone those who are sent to her? How often I wanted to gather you children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate.

I got to tell you, Jesus gives very early on in the book of Genesis, chapter one. As a matter of fact, first book of the Bible, he sets the explanation as to why we exist. And then by chapter three, he promises his coming to us. And then the rest of the Bible talks about the coming of Jesus to set us free. And then Jesus lives out his life. And this is the part that blows me away. And now at verse 23 at the end, excuse me, in chapter 23, at the end of his life, people still don’t know why we’re here. And the point of Jesus. Well, that’s the saddest verse in the Bible. Jesus living out his entire ministry, having fulfilled everything in the Old Testament, and he’s just looking over Jerusalem, knowing what’s about to come. And he’s just crying out, Jerusalem! Jerusalem! You can’t even understand. I’ve come to gather you under my wings. And you’ve missed the point. I’m saying to Jerusalem, it is possible to be close to Jesus and completely miss him altogether. And you can walk side by side with him like the disciples, and totally not even understand what Jesus is all about. And this passage in chapter 23, Jesus gives the explanation as to why. He gives the seven woes to the religious leaders. Religion has blinded their mind to the purpose of Jesus. Maybe I would say it like this to Austin.

In our context, it’s possible to come to church every day of your life and miss the whole point of Jesus. When Jesus could be saying that about us this morning. Old church. Old church. If you just understood the purpose of your gathering today, it’s not about just a Sunday. So I got to go to a church. It’s a. It’s about me. I’ve wanted to gather you under my wings. And you’ve. You’ve missed the point. As a young kid wanting to answer the question why I’m here? That’s what I needed to start with and understanding. Not only does Jesus come to save you, but Jesus comes to give you his life. He doesn’t just offer life, but he is life itself. Colossians one says he upholds all things by his hands and by him all things consist. Jesus is life. When Jesus comes to verse chapter, excuse me 23 and he just shares the seven woes to the church. He says and paints a picture as to why they’re there. Missing the entire boat. He he he says to the Pharisees in his in his woes that they that they are making twice the son of perdition by leading people in into religion. He says to them that they’re like a cup. And his last two woes, they’re they’re like a cup on the outside is very beautiful and clean. But when when you pull the mask back and you look on the contents, it’s dirty on the inside.

And in case they didn’t get the point, he said this, your religion that you’ve established is is like a tomb on the outside is gloriously beautiful. But when you open it up, it’s just full of deadness. You’ve missed the point. Everything that God did in the Old Testament was to point us to Christ. The temple that God established was a picture of Jesus inside of the temple. The things that took place was a picture of fellowship. So much so that when Jesus walks the earth, John, the very first pronouncement that John makes of Jesus, it says, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the what world? Saying to us, do you know how you’ve gone year after year to the temple to make that sacrifice for your sins will? Ultimately it points to Jesus and I’m telling you that lamb has come. The point of the temple was to point to Jesus. The point of the law was to point to our need for Jesus. The point of the prophets was to proclaim the coming of Jesus. The point of the priest was to fill or fulfill a temporary role that ultimately Jesus would demonstrate. Why are we here? I won’t say the answer is found in Jesus. Do you know? People that read the Bible. If you were to stop and ask them the question, why are we here? Do you know the common answer they give? Common answer is to do good, right? We are here to do good.

And on the back end of that thought is to say this we. We prove our worth to God to earn our way into eternity. Right? I want to get to the celestial Kingdom. I believe I’m heading straight to the celestial Kingdom because of Christ. But. But the answer that people give is, is that I want to get there by the good that I do. We’re here to to do good. But you know the problem with that thought, if that’s the trail you walk around, is that it, um, contradicts the Bible. When you read in excuse me? In Galatians 221 it says this. Let me read 320 of Romans first. Romans 320 it says, for by by the works of the law, no human being will be justified in his sight. Meaning, by doing law, you’re not going to be made right with God, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. I do not nullify the grace of God. He says in Galatians one, for righteousness were through the law. Then Christ died needlessly. Meaning, if you think the purpose is to do good, to earn your way back to God, you’re going to have a real problem with Romans and Galatians. And Paul plainly says that we don’t justify ourselves by the works of the law. I was on a plane recently coming back to Utah, and I had the opportunity to sit with a religious leader and their spouse and had a dialogue over over God with them.

And they apologize to me for coming to Utah because they said it’s it’s a poor representation. And they went on to proceed to say, you know, when you pull back the mask, people are hurting and it shouldn’t be that way because, um, we live in a religious place and it should be following. Right. And so I said, well, that’s interesting you say that I think this is the best place I’ve ever lived in my life. So so I got no problem with it. But but I’m interested to hear what what do you think the solution is? If you see the problem, what is the solution? The answer is this. Um, the answer was they. I don’t think they love God enough. Right. And they need to know what the rules are, because if they understood what the rules were, then they would live it out, right? I look back at her in the face and I just said this. I don’t think it’s that people here don’t understand or don’t try to love God. I think it’s best that they know God to be there trying to love God. I really think the answer is we don’t understand how much God loves us. Um. Telling someone who’s struggling in that fight of just doing good.

Here’s more laws because you’re failing. It’s like pulling, pouring salt on the wound. Like Paul even says that in Romans. If your method of fulfillment in this world is by what you do not not why you’re here, but what you’re doing, you’re not ever going to find that satisfaction. Um, when you live up to law. Eventually you’re going to fail. And then if you think that law is the solution, then you’re going to tell yourself that you didn’t try hard enough. And so you’re going to add more rules to that, and you’re going to try harder. And then what you’re going to find is that in again, what happens is that you fail. In Romans 320, Paul says that. By the works of the law. No human being will be justified in the sight. Since through the law comes the knowledge of sin. We give the illustration like this. When when you’re living your life day to day in this world, you don’t randomly get pulled over by the police to tell you great, great job in obeying the law today. Right? And the judge doesn’t say, come to the courthouse. I got something to tell you. Smash his gavel and says, you are awesome at obeying law. It doesn’t doesn’t. That’s not even realistic. It doesn’t happen. This is the way the law works. When you break it, you pay right. When you speed officer visits your car, right? When you break the law, the judge gives you a sentence.

The purpose of the law isn’t to show you how to be justified. It’s not to even answer why you’re here. It’s to point you to the need that you have for Christ. The. The law condemns us. The law shows where we fail. And so this is what we do as a church family. When we come in on Sunday morning, we just jump ahead of religion by all confessing. We walk in the door, we are sinners. That law is not fixing me, I already know. But I need to know why I’m here. The law was intended not to point us to pride, but to reveal to us our need. We are sinners. I’m going to have to mask that to God. God already knows. Isn’t that crazy? The Bible says God demonstrates his love to us. And while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans five eight. Right. It’s like saying, uh, take take the mask off, man. Why are you even pretending? God? God already knows and God has already come to save you in that. It’s not. It’s not about doing good. Works are important. I’ll tell you why in a few. But. But it’s not about doing good. That’s not the primary purpose God made you. God certainly wants you to reflect goodness into this world, but it’s not the primary purpose that he made you. Let me tell you why God made us, and this is beginning to tell us why our church exists.

Bible tells us in Genesis one. If you miss this in Genesis one, you miss the entire Bible. He says in Genesis one, When God made us, God created man in his own image. In the image of God, he created him, male and female. He created them in Genesis two seven then the Lord God formed man from the dust, from the ground. Please remember you’re made from dust, okay? You came from dirt, all right? You’re made from dirt. And he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living being. So it’s to say our origins was from the life of this earth. But the part that God puts in us is the part where he breathes into us and creating us in his image. It doesn’t mean that God makes us exactly like he is. Meaning? Meaning. It’s not saying that that we have a body because God has a body because you were made from dirt, okay? And God didn’t come from dirt. God’s eternal. But what it’s identifying for us is something unique about you that’s different than any other creature. So when God made all of his creatures, he formed them. And he said it was good, and he was happy with that. And he formed weird things like cats. And he said, that was good, too. He’s off his rocker one day.

But then. Then he formed you. He formed you and he created you in his image. And when he made you and then he made the woman, he said, it’s very good. And the part that what God has signifying for us in this passage of Scripture is, is that when God created you, he created you in such a way that you could connect to him. I mean, it’s the reason, like, if you’re a hunter, when you go in the woods, you don’t see a deer saying, oh, I see the guy with a gun. I’m praying, hold on, Lord, you know the deer doesn’t do that. They don’t Tebow in the woods, right? But you do. The roaming buffalo of the West. Don’t seek a local gathering place to to sing songs and encourage one another in the Lord. But you do. Why? It’s because God put his mark in you. You’re created in his image. Being made in his image. God then creates you for purpose as well in his image. God. God is love, and love is about giving itself away. And as human beings, we look for opportunities to do things like that. To live in a godly way because we bear the image of God in us. It’s the reason when God created his image in us. It’s the reason why when you pass a line, you don’t. You don’t see him sitting on the side of the road like all depressed, saying, man, I’m rethinking this lion thing.

I don’t, I’m giving it up. I want to be a giraffe, right? I’m the king to the tallest. Doesn’t happen. When they created for a purpose, but they just live it out, roam in the jungle. Or like the beaver, he’s like, ah, a dam like that’s been done, man. I’m thinking bigger. Let’s do house, let’s do a house with some cable. Be a beaver doesn’t think that way. Or my favorite place to go in Utah is Zion Park. And I like going to the south end of the park because that’s the Buffalo field. But when I get there, I always get aggravated because. Because on the edge of that field, they’re overlooking the Canyonlands. I’m like, they don’t appreciate that. Like, if I wasn’t afraid of a buffalo, I’d be over there. Why do they put why do they put the buffalo farm next to the canyon? I have yet to see a buffalo go to the edge and be like buffalo. Come look. Come look at this. This is incredible. You know they don’t do that. They don’t even care. They just eat the grass and keep walking. I’m like, what a wasted view, man. But you know what happens to me when I stand on the edge of the canyon land? I don’t sit on the edge of that and think, man, I am, I am incredible.

Uh, I don’t go to the beach and look at the beach. I hate the beach. I wouldn’t be there, but I don’t go to the beach and just say, man, I am awesome. You know that? I go to the edge of the Grand Canyon, and I realize I’m a part of something bigger than me. Or I look at the wonder of the ocean and self is the last thing I think about. Or look at the grandeur of the mountains. And I go up in there and the peacefulness that it presents, and I realize I’m a part of something bigger than me. God created you. In his image. And in that image, we we realize that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We were never created to find life’s purpose within ourselves. You now found in religious places in the world, the tendency of people when they live in a religious place, if they reject the religion, is to go to liberalism. But do you know, the connection between legalism and liberalism is a pretty close connection to one another? It’s like someone goes from really religious, they skip over the Jesus part, and they just go to liberal and think, what? How did they do such a big skip? We call it Jesus is right here in the middle. It just come. You should fall down this funnel. But why is that? Do you know the tendency of both of those? The driving force is the same.

Religion is about me. And liberalism. I define life around me. When you see that you’re created in God’s image, you recognize this, that the purpose of life is really outside of yourself. You’re created to to connect to God outside of yourself. You look at the grander of creation and realize you’re part of something bigger than yourself. And God putting his image in you gives you the opportunity to connect to him. It’s like God is saying this the reason that you exist is for a relationship with me. It’s not about what you do though. God put his image in you that you would bear it in this world, but it’s about connecting to him. We’re fueled in life through connecting to Christ. As a matter of fact, when when Jesus shows up on the scene he he gives us, I don’t want to read that. He gives us the very purpose of creation, he says in in John 17 three, this is eternal life, that you may know what him. You know, living for eternity is about. It’s knowing him. The minute you come to Christ. It’s about knowing him. When Jesus says, I am the way and the truth, and I am the life. I like it in Mark 1228 and 29 when people come before Jesus and they’re saying, Jesus, what’s the greatest of all the commandments? They’re saying, as a religious person, God, we got all our rules back here and they’re driving me crazy.

Which one’s the best one? I can follow God, and you can see it. They pull out the notepad and the pen. They’re like, all right, write this down, write this down, write this down. And Jesus says, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. His answers. Relationship. And then he follows it up with this and love others as you love yourself. I mean, he goes from relationship to him as the fuel and source of life, of understanding why we’re here. And then from that relationship we live it out in this world. The Bible tells us in the book of Genesis man’s response. It says God created us in his image that we could connect to him. Man rejects God. And then the response from man was to run from God and then create religion. Adam and Eve. When when they clothed themselves in the fig leaves, they were they were creating religion. And the Hebrew text that literally says those fig leaves. The Hebrew text says its soldiers garments, meaning they’re protecting themselves from God. They’re saying, God, God, we’ve messed up. I’m going to go fix this. I’ll be back in a minute. Right when I’m good and ready and I feel clean, I’ll be back to you. That’s the way we treat church. God, when I get my life right, then I’ll go to church.

But I gotta get my life right first. And then I’ll see you there and then. God is the one that pursues Adam and Eve, and God rips off the fig leaves and God makes a sacrifice, and God clothed them. In the Hebrew text it says priestly garments. He clothed them in the animal skin. And then he gives the promise of Jesus, saying to this our inclination when we sin is to run from God. And God’s inclination when we sin is to run towards us because he knows what we need better than we know what we need ourselves. That’s why Jesus came on the cross. We were going to, by our own efforts, try to prove our worth to God. But God’s standard for heaven is perfection, and we can never prove to him our worthiness. And God knows that. And so God has been pursuing us for the relationship that he has created us for. It’s never been about what you do. It’s always, always been about him. God created you to connect to him. God created you to be fueled in him. God created you to find your purpose in him. And God knows without that we would be left wandering aimlessly. And so he has been pursuing you with his life. It’s not that we need to try harder and loving God. We just need to understand how much Christ loves you. It’s okay to let go of the mask and just rip, rip back what’s been hiding and just say, God, this mess is what you’ve come for and this is what I’m giving to you.

Jesus has been pursuing us for relationship. I’m going to leave Matthew 23 for a minute and go to chapter 19 and just answer this question. Do I really think it’s that simple? Do I really think that Jesus just accepts us that openly? You know, I think Jesus answered that question. There was a time where Jesus is standing before a crowd, and he’s teaching them about the kingdom of heaven and how to get there. And you would at this point, Jesus is going to take out from the crowd the perfect person to demonstrate to them what he’s looking for in the kingdom of heaven. And I got to tell you, in my religious mind, I would say to Jesus, Jesus, I know what it is. It’s the Pharisees. They’re impressive in their religion. Or maybe the Sadducees are. Or maybe it’s the older lady down the road who’s been following you your whole life. But do you know who Jesus picks? He picks a child. It’s not the people that religiously impress. It’s the innocence of a child. Matthew 19 and verse 13 it says, then some children were brought to him, so that he may lay his hands on them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, let the children alone, and do not hinder them for from coming to me.

For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Why a child? I don’t think it’s because I’ve heard some people accuse this passage of saying it’s the ignorance of children, but I don’t think it’s the ignorance. I think it’s the innocence. Kids don’t know they shouldn’t trust until they’ve been burned. When Jesus made that simple. Believe in me. John 316 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in me, which means trust in me. Jesus goes on in verse 17, it says, I didn’t come to the world to condemn the world, but that the world might find salvation in me. It’s about trusting in. It’s the innocence of the child, of just listening to the words of Jesus. That’s it. Just listen to what Jesus said. I created you for relationship. I created you in my image. I know better what you need for you than you know what you need for me. Lay down the religion. Lay down trying to prove your worth to me. Lay. Lay down your brokenness I want all of that. And just. Just come to me. If you were created by Jesus and for Jesus, it makes sense that we don’t even begin to understand what we are to do as human beings, and how God desires for us to live until we connect to the one who created us for that purpose.

It’s like the faith of a child. So why are we here at ABC? This is what we want. In Matthew 11, Jesus comes and and he’s speaking to the religious society of the day. And he says this come to me. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon me and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. The solution to this point that the people have discovered to to lay on themselves such stress of society and performance in the way that they feel like they have to live, to perform, and to prove to God their worth. And Jesus just says, listen. It’s about just coming to me. Here at Alpine Bible Church. What we want. We want a family. That will love and live with Christ forever. We understand here at our church family that what God has created us for as relationships. Loving God and loving each other. We want a place where people can just rest in relationship with Christ and grow in him. For us on Sunday morning. We qualify every gathering we we have together. This we win when we walk out of any time we assemble, and the people that have gathered together have drawn closer to Christ and closer to his church.

I believe in being made in God’s image. That God is is a unique, creative, fun God, right? I mean, all you have to say is duck billed platypus. And you know, God’s got a got a wild side. Church should. When you walk out on Sunday morning, it shouldn’t feel like you just left a funeral service. I understand that when you come and you gather, sometimes God calls us in, convicts us, and moves in our heart in certain ways. But its intended purpose is to bring us joy in Christ. This this is a place of celebration. I mean, do you know what it means to say to people? We we were lost and we couldn’t discover ourselves and we couldn’t rescue ourselves. And no matter how good that you did, you couldn’t deserve God. But God in that loved you anyway. And he has been passionately pursuing you. And he lavishes his love upon you, and his grace has been extended to you. And it doesn’t run dry. That in your life, no matter what you’ve done or the hurt that you feel, that Christ just wants to bring his love and lavish that on you and allow you to experience a relationship with him forever. And when, when you walk out of here, that is reason to celebrate and rejoice. Now you go to church and it feels like it’s a funeral service. Something is wrong and broken somewhere.

It’s about celebrating his presence, I appreciate that. So that kind of enthusiasm. We want to place. This is weird too. This is kind of strange to say. Let me clarify this knowing how important that message is. We want a place that’s not about pleasing people, but about reaching people. Let me say it again. We want a place that’s about pleasing, not about pleasing people, but but about reaching people. When we started our church or we started in Lehigh ten years ago, we came out and visited and we prayed, God, I remember I was in the city and Wines Park kneeling and just said, God, if you want a church here, I’m I’m willing, I’m willing, you know, I’m willing. I’m going to, you know, but I’m willing. Right. And one of the things that we started doing when when we prayed that prayer, my wife and I, we started praying. For the people that would be a part of Alpine Bible Church, which was weird because we hadn’t we didn’t know what they would look like. Like, it’s weird to stand in the city, think you want to start a church here and, and and you want it to be led of the Lord, but you have no idea where anybody is going to come from in it. And so we started praying, God, if we’re willing, and then we started praying for people to come. But this is one of the things we recognize.

When people come, we’re going to come from all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of preconceived ideas of what church is supposed to be like, right? I mean, if you grew up in church, you’ve got this precedent that’s set. And sometimes we we attribute that expectation on, on a new church that we go to. But I tell you this. We are not about pleasing people. We’re about reaching people. I’m glad if you come here. I’m glad if you were a part of a church that you felt met needs. But we’re not that church. Um, if we ever get to the place, we start fighting over stuff that doesn’t matter. Um, I’ve threatened this before in the past, but I will paint these walls pink. I will wear a dress like Jesus on Sunday. Just. Just to make the point. It’s not. It’s not about any of that stuff. This is what it’s about. We’re here to reach people. We’re here for people to grow in Christ. We’re here to encourage your life closer to Jesus. And we’re here to encourage each other to walk in him together. Um, I own, uh. Well, I’ll just leave it there. Our church is about reaching people for Christ, and this is the way that we set ourselves up in the summertime. We do this thing called breathe out. In the fall and winter, we do this thing called breathe in.

We breathe in, breathe out. All right. That’s spiritually breathing in and breathing out. So in the summertime we know this. We get bundled up in our home and it’s like winter subzero out there. And I don’t even want to walk outside. And so and so the tendency is we don’t we don’t go anywhere and we don’t meet people as much. And so we’re kind of hunkered in into our lives. And so we we use that to breathe in to our church family. We set up different teaching series here on different parts of of the week to teach us how to grow in him. And in the summertime we say, okay, God has called us to this world and we want to educate our people on how to do that. And so we breathe out everything that God has done for us. In the winter and the fall. We we go out into the world and we just share that with other people. We just reach the lost. I did a study on why churches die. I think that was important because I had heard stories about people, had come to Lehigh and tried to start churches and and for whatever reason, after a few years, they were gone. And we didn’t want that to happen to us. So we studied how how could we do that? And here’s one of the things we found out. The reason churches stop growing and the reason churches eventually die is because they start to treat their church like a fortress, rather than a place to launch them into the world.

Meaning they start asking the question among the body, how can we be a better click or social club? And then they forget about the world. And so all the ministries that they start just serves in internally, and they forget to to realize that God has called them to relationship, but then to share that relationship with the world. And over time the church begins to shrink and they can’t even figure out why. And I would say this as a church family, in order to avoid that, it’s important for us in our mentality to always understand that what God has called us to in that relationship is to not hold on to it, but to share it with the world. And so during the summer time, we we take some time off on some of our ministries for that purpose. I say all that to say to you because on the outside, there’s a sign up sheet for our first booth that we’re doing outreach this year, and we need people to sign up. It’s it’s important for us because it’s the core of what we are as a as people. We understand that we are created for a relationship with God, and we want to share that with the world. And so we breathe in and we breathe out the goodness that God has given to us.

We just we share with people. And this is the cool part. Okay? If you ever thought, man, that makes me nervous when we go out and do these booths, the cities that we go to has said to us, don’t proselyte, right? Meaning they don’t want us, I guess BibleThump or whatever. And so we don’t we don’t do that. Um, what we do is we go out and we create a positive attitude and atmosphere around our booth as a church because people have preconceived ideas of what a church is, and we just want to knock down those walls like they think that on Sunday morning, I just had someone tell me this at Lowe’s that that he asked me how the hell fire and brimstone message is going. Like, I mean, I believe in hell, but but I don’t I don’t know what you think I do up here. Like, we don’t just try to scare people from hell. We just want people to go and walk with Jesus. That’s what we’re after, man. And so we knock down those walls and we just were there to love on community. And you know what happens? People come to us and ask us about our church. And so that gives us an opportunity to share. That’s it. To share what God has done. We make balloon animals. If you’re not good at that, that’s good, because then your job can be shared.

And we hand out. We hand out bottled water to people, and we just let people know why we’re here and answer questions that they might have. And we just share as much as they give us the opportunity to. But we don’t. We don’t go around and just charge after people. And so we just want to reach out as Christ has called us to. God has put us in a place and opportunity to do that. When I visited here ten years ago, and this is what I close with. I visited here ten years ago. And I moved here eight years ago, and we started this church a little over five years ago. Passage of Matthew 23. Just ringing in my mind. Jesus is talking to a religious place and they’re missing the point. And and people are just living close to Jesus. And they they just failed to see the purpose of Jesus. And in Jesus’s words in Matthew 11 that we just shared, you see pain and you see struggles and you see hardships, and they’re just missing the point. And and Jesus comes and Jesus says, oh, Jerusalem. Jerusalem. I have longed to gather you under my wings as a mother hen gathers her chicks. You think about that this morning for us? Even if you’ve grown up in church your whole life. I mean, you think of that passage. Did you miss it? And Jesus just says.

Old Nathaniel. Thank you. I have come just to gather you under my wings. If you understood the purpose for which you were created. It’s all about relationship. It’s about me. I mean, if we believed how important that was. How much would we just walk into the world and just share the freedom that Christ gives? Can never prove your worth to God. And he knows it. And he still chose to love you and come to you and give himself to you, that you may enjoy him all the days of your life. Jump ahead of that mentality and just say this. I’m a sinner, I am, and I’m broken. I am as a little kid at 16 years old, with world falling apart around me, I just needed rescued. And I didn’t understand my point of existing, and I didn’t know that I even wanted to exist. I didn’t get it. And I go into religion and they tell me that what I’m wearing is what’s wrong with me. And I knew. I knew that was wrong. God created me for so much more. This is eternal life that we’re talking about, that you may know him. God created you in his image, that you might connect to him. You don’t. You don’t fix anything, but you come to Christ and from the inside out, he transforms your heart and he makes you new. Jesus sets you free in. All you have to do is just let go. Just let go. God, I am messed up. And I need you. Christ, save me.

Never Give Up

Let Us Go To Him