You Can Still Respond

You can still respond to God’s call. If you were at church on Easter Sunday and felt a nudge on your heart, but you ignored it … don’t keep ignoring it! Hebrews 3:8 warns us against hardening our hearts towards Christ. It was a very special Easter Sunday as 148 people went public with their faith in Christ and were baptized! If something resonated with you, lean into it. Maybe you didn’t feel ready to get baptized just yet, but you left church with questions. That’s a great place to start! After all, Easter is about a relationship, not a religion. 

Baptism Response Story
Every Story Matters To God

After Jesus rose from the dead He went around Jerusalem and Galilee and traveled around other areas and was seen by thousands … at one time 500 people saw him and they had to be saying, “He’s baaaaccck!” My point is you may have missed that opportunity to respond on Easter Sunday, but He’s still ready to receive you today. Just like Jesus gave Doubting Thomas the evidence he needed after the resurrection, He will give you what you need if you ask.

Easter

Everything about Christianity hinges on what we celebrated on Easter Sunday. Christ died so that my relationship, and your relationship with God could be restored. What you believe about God is the most important thing in life. Your belief determines how you deal with your past, where you’ll go in the future, and how you live today. 

Respond

Once upon a time, I stood up in front of a group of people and said “I do” to my wife. Those two words have changed the trajectory of my life. I’ve been working out the implications of what “I do” means for 24 years!  I didn’t know everything about marriage when I said those words and it’s the same thing with Christ. You don’t have to know everything right now. Maybe you’re still processing, wrestling, doubting, wondering, and questioning if this whole “Jesus thing” is for you. Just because you didn’t respond immediately doesn’t mean Christianity isn’t for you. Take it one step at a time. But just know, you can come with your questions, your doubts, your discouragements and everything else. Over time, those questions will be answered, your doubts will be dealt with and your discouragements will be gone. 

Get Rooted

To be rooted in Christ, we must understand that Christ wants a relationship with us, not a religion. Every one of us (including the person who invited you to church) has rejected that relationship at some point. We all, in our own way, reject Christ from time to time. We’ve all opted to do our own thing, our own way and too often decide to be the god of our own life. Unfortunately, just like when we break man’s laws, we pay man’s penalties … when you break God’s laws, you pay God’s penalties. Either you have to pay for it or someone else does. Thank God Jesus said He would pay the penalty for you and me. Not only is that worth celebrating, that’s worth a response!! That’s at least worth investigating. It’s worth another visit to Skyline Church next Sunday.

See, I am absolutely convinced that if someone is presented the opportunity to know the real Jesus, what He offers, not the Jesus we’ve been presented in the media or the Jesus we learned about from a misinformed friend or relative, but the actual Jesus, NOBODY WOULD TURN HIM DOWN. The free gift He offers is just too good to pass up.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the deal you get when you accept Jesus’ free gift: Every sin past, present, and future paid for, my future home in Heaven secured, and purpose and energy to live today! 

Next Step

Our goal at Skyline Church is to help people find and follow Jesus seven days a week. We don’t do it perfectly but we take it one step at a time. As a matter of fact we’re starting a brand new series this Sunday, May 1 where we will be digging in and understanding the 9 characteristics God wants to see in our lives. Those characteristics don’t all happen at once. As a matter of fact, it’s all about progress not perfection. I hope you’ll lean into God this week and join us for church on Sunday. I want to encourage you, don’t ignore His nudge on your heart. My prayer for you is from Ephesians 3:18-19. “May you be able to feel and understand … how long, how wide, how deep, and how high (God’s) love really is; and to experience this for yourselves.”

Do You Believe In Jeremy?

Tags

My Ant Problem

The other day, I was sitting in my backyard and I was staring at my ant problem. We live on a verifiable ant hill. So, I am always seeing ants around. Believe me. Even though I try to keep them away, they are always around.

As I was sitting there, I decided to use a few fallen Plumaria leaves to redirect the ants and I sort of laughed to myself because the ants had no idea what I was doing. And then I got deep. I remembered the verse in Proverbs 3:5-6 about how God directs our steps and it made me think that we don’t even realize how often God is actual directing our steps. 

Do You Believe?

And then I noticed two ants had gotten on my hand and as I watched them my mind went even deeper. I thought to myself … what if one ant said to the other ant, “Hey, do you believe in Jeremy?” The second ant might respond, “Jeremy? That’s a myth.”

Am I the only one who does this? 

And then I wondered, how could I resolve this dilemma and prove that I exist? Only if I, with all of my knowledge and intelligence about the world, entered their world as an ant. 

An ant has such a finite mind that it could never comprehend what I am as a human being. When I become an ant and I come down to their level that’s when they’re going to realize that Jeremy exists. 

As Easter approaches, we’re reminded that just a few months ago we celebrated Christmas representing the fact that the mission began when God became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14). But on Easter, we celebrate the fact that the mission was accomplished! He came, He lived as one of us, He died for us and then He showed His power as God and He came back to life to prove He is God! 

Believe and Experience Good Friday

We Believe In Jesus!

Man could not comprehend God, so God became man. I guess if God wanted to relate to cows, he would have come back as a cow. If He wanted to relate to birds, he would have become a bird. If He wanted to relate to cats … well, even God can’t do that, cats are satan’s spawn! 🙂 

Believe and Experience Easter

I’m so glad that God took the time to come, to die, and to live … for you and me! I want to encourage you to celebrate Good Friday with us at 7:00PM at our Rancho San Diego campus and join us for Easter services in person and online at Rancho San Diego at 8:00am, 9:30am, and 11:00am; and at 9:00am and 10:45am in Lakeside–because we BELIEVE IN JESUS! 

10 Minute Prayer Challenge

Everywhere we look, it seems the world is hurting. It’s difficult not to get emotionally exhausted when we look at everything that is going on. Our feelings can get the best of us. Our emotions can get out of control. However, when our emotions are under control, they are a powerful weapon against discouragement, depression, and the devil’s schemes. 

God has emotions too. We have emotions because we are made in God’s image. He has feelings of joy, anger, grief, sadness, and hatred toward sin, etc.. If you want to see emotion in verse after verse and chapter after chapter in the Bible, then book your ticket for a journey through the Psalms. They are filled with every emotion known to man, that is why we’re going through the Psalms in our daily devotional, Today Matters. So how do we stay rooted in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ instead of getting caught in every wave of emotion that comes from our current situation in the world.

We pray.

Pray

This may be uncomfortable, or at least faith stretching for some of you, but I guarantee this will change your relationship with Christ. Holding our attention for 10 minutes is not easy in our  distracted world. But, here’s the reality, we cannot change how we feel by our own willpower. 

Zachariah 4:6 tells us, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord Almighty-you will succeed because of my spirit.” 

Zachariah 4:6

I’m not suggesting you are going to wake up tomorrow and suddenly love paying $6 for a gallon of gas. While we fill our tanks with that $6 gas, ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit. And we need to ask Him daily! How do we go about that? I introduced this on Sunday…

The Challenge

This is what I want you to do … find a quiet place. Grab a pen and paper and put your phone on silent. Listen, the devil has your phone number! He’ll hit you up with that incredible offer to buy your house or get you a loan to buy a house … the devil’s other name is Spam! But, seriously, remove the distractions and start a two minute timer five different times. This will help you grasp how quickly this prayer time goes by. For some of you, this is no big deal, you pray more than this everyday … great … add 10 minutes to your current prayer time. The average Christian prays less than two-minutes a day. As you commit to this, you will consistently notice that you need more than 2 minutes per section, but start there. You may even find yourself taking on a 20 or 40-minute prayer challenge sooner than later. 

ACTS

Rooted Sermon Series

Here are the categories I mentioned on Sunday and how to get started. Remember, our goal is to be ROOTED in our faith in Jesus Christ. This is fundamental to stronger roots in the faith.  I’ve put the A.C.T.S acronym to this to help you remember the categories.

2 minutes to clear your mind. Write down anything that comes to mind so you can address it when you’ve concluded your time of prayer. 

2 minutes to Acknowledge God. Think about His presence, power, love, and purpose for you while acknowledging He is in charge and you are not. 

2 minutes to Confess where you’ve fallen short, and even sins you may be unaware of. 

2 minutes to Thank God. This is where you literally count your blessings. You may do this by categories since you’ll be doing this daily. Monday may be marriage category. Thank God for your spouse, for the time you have together, etc… Tuesday may be Taco Tuesday, thank God for Tacos!… amen?! You get the point, you can put categories to help you focus on that day. 

2 minutes for Supplication. That’s an old school word that simply means to askGod for what you and/or others need and want. This is the time to come with your requests. Don’t hold back. By this time you’ve spent some quality time with God and you are asking out of a better place in your heart. Your ask is more meaningful and likely more in line with God’s will. The more time you spend with God, the more your will aligns with His. 

Daily Routine

Make this 10 minute prayer challenge part of your daily routine and you will sense your roots growing deeper and stronger in our Lord Jesus Christ every day. There’s nothing like feeling rooted in Christ. Some of the many benefits are illustrated in Galatians 5:22-23, known as the Fruits of the Spirit. When we’re filled with the Spirit, these things come out of us; Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. When we are filled with what the world offers  … anger, envy, bitterness, guilt, shame, anxiety, doubt, and immorality come out of us. 

Let us fill ourselves with more of Him by spending more time with Him. 10 minutes is a great start. 

Game Plan

Game Plan For Battle 

playbook strategy

Do you have a game plan for spiritual growth? I guarantee your opponent has a game plan to defeat you, and it isn’t pretty. There was a big game on February 13, and it’s really no surprise that the best team won. I mean, I predicted this before the game that there was no way that the Cincinnati Kitty Cats could win. As you all know, cats are Satan’s spawn. And Satan never wins! Amen? (ok, just kiddin’ cat people, I have heard there are some good cats out there, I have just never seen them).

Spiritual Super Bowl

In order to be rooted in Christ, you need to know areas of weakness in your life that can uproot your faith. This is so crucial to our walk with Christ that I’ve written a book on it. We need to be aware of the field we’re on. Until we’re in heaven, our field is a spiritual battleground that is much more intense than any Super Bowl.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:12
Super Bowl Game 2022
Super Bowl 2022

In addition, 2 Corinthians 2:11 warns us to not let the enemy outsmart us with his evil schemes. And we know that God’s opponent comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But here’s the thing … Satan can’t force you to do anything. But he can sure try to devise ways to tempt you with the purpose of defeating you. 

Temptation 

Temptation is not an event, it’s a process. If you don’t do anything to keep the weeds of temptation off the field of your life, weeds will just naturally sprout right up. We need to be intentional about tending our crop to keep the weeds, beetles, and bugs out. And let me be clear, asking God to forgive our sins one time, only to immediately return to the offense is not enough to keep tomorrow’s weeds from sprouting. We need to continually choose to be on Christ’s team, which means confess (agree with God that I was wrong) and repent (stop doing the action), and that leads to a cultivation of our spiritual growth every day. I’m not talking about perfection, but I am talking about making progress.

If we’re going to prevent the enemy from infiltrating our lives, we need to know the difference between difficulties and temptations. 

  • Difficulties: Can be designed by God to help us grow.
  • Temptations:  Designed by Satan to pull us away from God.

We have to be intentional about cultivating a life that produces a healthy mind and focus in on God’s plan for our lives. We do that by reading His Word and not flirting with evil desires. 

Desire

Satan starts with the natural desires within you. What we think, becomes what we say, and what we say becomes what we do. A lot of times, we think that temptation is out there, but the truth is that it’s in you. If you don’t have a desire for something, you won’t be tempted. For example, I’ve never been tempted to smoke. I don’t like the smell. It’s that simple for me. Sometimes a Christian will ask me if they’re going to Hell for smoking cigarettes. I always say NO … smoking cigarettes will not send you to Hell… it’ll just make you smell like you’ve been there.  The things that tempt me may not be an issue for you, and the things that tempt you may not be an issue for me. 

Here’s the thing with desires though; whether it’s drinking, food, sex, sleep, or any other natural desire, the enemy will tempt you to take it to the extreme. Oftentimes, temptation is an attempt to fulfill a legitimate desire in an illegitimate way.

Doubt & Deception

Temptation goes all the way to the Garden of Eden when Satan said, “Did God really say _______.” The enemy’s plan is to get you to doubt God’s Word, God’s love for you, God’s plan for you, and that God knows better what will make you happy in life.

God’s opponent always replaces God’s truth with lies. The enemy uses the same old strategy again and again. And if he achieves his goal of deceiving us, it always leads to disobedience against God. Once we find ourselves in this scenario, we need to realize that we’ve signed with the wrong team. And the only way back is to confess, repent, and stop it. Sadly, many people are too prideful and tend to justify their actions, which ultimately leads to defeat.

Recruitment

Have you ever heard of National Signing Day? This actually just recently took place on February 2nd. Signing Day is when young High School athletes decide which college they’re going to attend and play their sport. Typically, they’re sitting behind a table with several hats on it. After sharing some words, they make a public profession of faith to a university by putting on a hat claiming loyalty to that University team. Sunday February 13, was National Signing Day for 120 people at Skyline Church. That’s a BIG deal! Every one of those people put on what I call the Team Colors. They got baptized and publicly claimed loyalty to Team Jesus.

Here’s the thing, you have free will. It’s a gift from God! We get to choose to do whatever we want in life. We can fall for temptations, give in to urges, and completely ignore God’s plan for our lives. But we do not get to choose the consequences after we’ve made our free-will decision. Do you know what team you’re on? Have you professed your allegiance to Jesus? And are you continually cultivating your faith every day by making progress in reading and feeding your mind with the truth of God’s Word?

Spiritual Super Bowl

Game Plan for Spiritual Growth
Game Plan for Spiritual Growth

If you could know your opponent’s game plan, you could have an incredible advantage. Why would anyone join the losing team? Christ’s opponent is sneaky, crafty, and devious. We need to be aware of his schemes so that we can grow deeper and deeper roots in our faith in Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a Game Plan for Spiritual Growth, I would encourage you to get one! At Skyline Church, I’ve created seven classes that will transform your spiritual life … I call it Your Game Plan for Growth.

Let me know if you’re interested and we’ll get you situated on the winning team. 

God Bless!

Mental Help

Cultivating a Healthy Mind

Rooted Sermon Series

Mental health is a very important topic that must be talked about in the church. I know it’s a touchy subject but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. If the Bible talks about it, you can bet Skyline Church is going to talk about it! Right now, we’re in a teaching series called, Rooted. I believe that God is far more concerned in changing our minds than changing our circumstances. We want God to take us out of the difficult situation or remove that “thorn in our side” but God is more interested in changing your mind about the situation than in changing the situation. 

Some of these statistics may alarm you as to why this is subject is so important right now …

Statistics: Since COVID …

  • Between the ages of 12-17, the suicide rate has gone up 51%
  • Domestic violence has increased 30%
  • Addictions and substance abuse are on the rise and overdose deaths in California far surpass Covid deaths.

AND … research anticipates 75,000 “deaths of despair” in 2022. Why? Because people are losing hope. We said it since the beginning, you’ve got to have hope to cope

The consequences COVID has had on our society have specifically made an impression on our mental health. What are we going to do about it? 

Cultivate Our Minds

If we’re going to have a strong-rooted faith, then we must WORK at it. It’s important that we actually cultivate a healthy mind. Look what Romans 12:2 says,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:2
Notice it says, “let” God. Have you recently said the prayer, “Whatever You want God”? OR “Not my will but Yours.” God is far more interested in changing your mind than changing your circumstances. 
You may be taking a look at our country and see it getting worse and worse. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it may actually get worse folks. But I also have Good News for you. Christ has already overcome the world so that YOU can have peace! Instead of losing faith, we need to cultivate our minds to be healthier and stronger. There’s more to life than what happens TO us. God wants to do something IN us. He wants to renew your mind!

The Bark Beetles Of Life

Bark Beetle Size

Those of you in California, and some other states, know about the Bark Beetle. This tiny insect (around half a centimeter) is so small that you can’t see where it’s entered a tree. Once inside, it slowly eats its way to the core of the tree, cutting off the nutrient flow the tree needs to not only thrive but survive. It can be weeks, months, or even years before evidence of the Bark Beetle is detected. 

It’s no different when it comes to our minds. We need to be diligent in protecting our minds from the Bark Beetles of life. At first, we make little compromises and the bark beetle makes its tiny self a home inside our head. It be months or years before it’s even noticed. Then, over time, we become desensitized to how our choices are affecting us because we can’t see how the “Bark Beetles of Life” are cutting off our main nutrient source—Christ. Listen, if you don’t do the work of cultivating your mind, the devil will be glad to do it for you. It takes work to keep the beetles of lust, greed, anger, worry and other sins out. 

Take A Stand

This isn’t easy for some of you to hear because you’re going to have to change some habits. You’re going to have to stop meditating on gossip, half-truths, or even lies you’ve believed since childhood. Understand, your feelings do not shape your life, your beliefs do. So, it doesn’t even matter if it’s something true, if you believe it, you’re living that belief. If someone said something about you as a child and you believed it, whether it was good or bad, it has affected your life. Some people were told they were useless or would never amount to anything and they believed that and it has affected their life. I want to encourage you to take a stand and say no more. Do not live your life based on the lies of the past. Live your life based on what God says about you! You are loved, cherished, important, and God has a specific purpose for your life.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:21, “… to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Let Christ be your purpose for walking this life. Being a Christian is not always easy. If you recently dedicated your life to Christ, you may be sensing life is getting a little harder right now. That’s because the devil wants you to throw in the towel. But I’m here to tell you to take heart and have hope because Christ has overcome the world! 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

One thing that’s truly great about being a part of the church family is that we can walk this life together. There are a lot of people struggling with mental health right now and we want to help you. But we need to know. Fill out a Connection Card, call us, and come meet with our counseling team.  I don’t know how long this craziness of Covid and variants and fear tactics will continue, but it doesn’t have to affect our mental health. Again, I believe that God is far more concerned with changing our minds than changing our circumstances.  We can overcome with Christ’s help.

And if you haven’t said the prayer, “Whatever You want God,” I want to challenge you to say it today. It’s time to let go of control and trust Him. Additionally, take charge of what kind of information you’re letting into your mind. Put aside the manure of life and turn to that good organic compost of the Word of God.

NEXT WEEK

For those of you who live in Southern California, I want to invite you to wear your favorite jersey to either service on Super Bowl Sunday, February 13! We’re going to have some fun with that, and I need to know who I should be praying for! Amen? 

For those of you who attended Membership Dinner, we’re excited to have you join us for Step 2! I’ve created a Game Plan for Your Growth that has 7 classes to guide you in spiritual growth. While I’d really like you to get through all seven classes, I especially hope you complete the first four Core Steps. We had hundreds of people join us for Step 1, Membership Dinner, last month and we are looking forward to hosting another dinner on March 30th. So, if you haven’t been to one yet, just click the link and make sure you sign up for that! Everyone has a next step of faith. What’s yours? Let me know in the comments. 


See you on Sunday!
Love,

Pastor Jeremy