2022 Word Of The Year

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Every year I pray and go through a process for a Word of the Year for our church for the coming year.  For 2021 God gave me the word THRIVE. In all the chaos of the season when people were suffering and reeling from Covid and all the governmental mandates and division that came from it, people were just trying to survive in 2020.  We decided that wasn’t good enough, and God made it clear that we are to Thrive. We have certainly experienced a thriving at Skyline Church. Over 1,176 decisions for Christ, 233 baptisms, over 15,000 people at Christmas nights––we’re seeing God move, and Skyline is thriving with more and more people! Over the last several months as I’ve asked the Lord for the word of the year for 2022, it became clearer and clearer that Rooted is the word for Skyline Church.

2022 Word Of The Year: Rooted

Def:  To establish deeply and firmly 

I believe the main reason God gave me this word is because we have so many people that have made a decision for Jesus but are not connected any more than a Sunday service. Pre-covid the national average for church attendance was 1.3 times a month. This is someone who claims to be a Christian and claims a home church! There’s no way to establish a deep and firm root base at 1.3x a month.

Rooted In Scripture

At Skyline Church, we’re not interested in building a crowd. That’s where it starts for sure, and of course we want to see crowds of people saying YES to Jesus. But we don’t just want a Sunday event, we want a Sunday fellowship! We want to truly help people get rooted in their faith, rooted in the church, and rooted in our community.

We have to disciple people and show them how to live out the process. Colossians 2:6-7, “And now, just as you (1) accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must (2) continue to follow him. (3) Let your roots grow down into him, and (4) let your lives be built on him. (Result: 5) Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and (6) you will overflow with thankfulness” (Emphasis mine). 

Process

We see the process stated above in Col. 2:6-7. It all starts with a decision for Christ. But then, our work really begins. We’ve got to help them get connected and rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to teach them how to build their lives on Him. Only then, will their faith grow strong in the truth they are taught and that will cause them to overflow with thankfulness.

Are You Rooted?

I’m asking you to think through what rooted means in your walk with Christ. How can you get more rooted and how can you help others get more rooted (more connected) in 2022? Do you need to root yourself, your children, and your family? While we’ll always be focused on our Oikos, this year Skyline will be even more intentionally focused on helping people grow deeper roots whether they are brand new to the faith or have been a Christian for many years.

The first teaching series of the year will be called Rooted and it begins this Sunday January 9. We will look at key biblical practices that help people get rooted in the faith. Join us this Sunday at Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego, Lakeside, Kansas, or Online

This is going to be a GREAT YEAR as we see more and more people establishing deep and firm roots in their faith!

What To Focus On This Christmas

MERRY CHRISTMAS! At Skyline Church it has been such a joy to experience Christmas with you this December at our Christmas Tree Lighting events, in worship, daily devotionals, and during services on Sunday. We’ve been talking about the Christmas story and how it applies to us today. Many of you may be familiar with this story but maybe you do not know how to apply it to your life. Every year, we revisit the historical story of Jesus’ birth so that it will become so deeply rooted in us that it transforms us. Because, it’s not just a story, it’s a story with a purpose. It has a life changing message for anyone who will apply it. So, this year we have been focused on the application of the Christmas story because we truly want you to Experience Christmas.

Here are three things the angels said to the shepherds for us to focus on this Christmas season:

1. Do Not Fear:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.”

For every day of the year, there is a verse in the Bible that addresses this idea of fear. It’s almost like God knew how easily we would be tempted to hear. We talked about this a lot in our Faith Over Fear sermon series. So let me ask you, what are you worried about this Christmas season? Are you worried about bills For every day of the year, there is a verse in the Bible that addresses this idea of fear. It’s as if  God knew how easily we would be tempted to fear, hmmmm 🙂 We talked about this a lot in our Faith Over Fear sermon series. So let me ask you, what are you worried about this Christmas season? Are you worried about bills … the kids … your health … Omicron, Dexicron, Chevron … or any other variant that comes out next? The more you believe in what God is capable of, the less fear can come in!
Do. Not. Fear. 

2. Renew my faith:

“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”

The good news keeps getting better and better because the bad news just gets worse and worse. Just take a look at the media. There is a large contrast from what you get from the rest of the world and what you get from Skyline Church. Good news is that you matter to God. He knows the good the bad and the ugly and he still loves you! 

Where are you in your relationship to the Lord? As we approach Christmas, we should be reflecting on the year and asking ourselves if we are closer to God this year than we were last year. Does the Christmas story sound better and better each year? Or does it seem less and less significant each year? When we’re growing in our relationship with the Lord, this story should cause greater and greater joy!

3. Receive Forgiveness

“Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born for you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

God didn’t sent us a salesman. It says He sent us a Savior. He sent us a Savior because we needed one! Why?… We need a Savior because Heaven is a perfect place where only perfect people are allowed. As you know, at Skyline Church, no perfect people are allowed here. Do you see the dilemma? Some of us are grading ourselves on a curve––thinking, I’m not as bad as that guy. But no one except Jesus has lived a perfect life. He is the only One who can get you and me into heaven (John 14:6). The angel brought great news “… for all the people.” We’re a church for imperfect people, because all people need to know about the one person who can get them into heaven. Jesus.

Maybe you’ve seen the famous John 3:16 verse on a bumper sticker or sports attire, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” But verse 17 is just as important as 16. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God says He came to give forgiveness. This presents a huge opportunity for you and for me to restore our relationship with Him. And maybe you missed our Relationship Rehab series, and Jesus isn’t the only relationship in your life that needs reconciliation.

I gave this challenge this Sunday and I want to remind you, to give someone forgiveness this Christmas. That can be your gift to God. Because He wants the relationships in your life to be reconciled. Especially with your family.

Beat Anxiety, Depression and Omicron

How do you beat anxiety, depression, coronavirus variants (omicron…really? come on!) and the negative news we get every day from the lamestream media?

The attitude of gratitude is a powerful pill against viruses of all kinds.

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is more than a one-time holiday during the year. Biblically, we’re to give thanks consistently to the Lord. One verse that I repeatedly come back to is Psalm 107:1. “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His faithful love endures forever!” You cannot go very far in Scripture without being reminded of the importance of being appreciative. Being grateful is seeing things from a heavenly perspective. And as we approach the Christmas season, I want to encourage you to keep the heart of gratitude going strong into next year no matter how many variants or negative news viruses attack us next year.

During Thanksgiving, you likely gave thanks for what you have or what God has done for you throughout 2021. But today, I want to encourage you to give thanks for what God is doing right now that you may not be aware of. The ultimate form of faith is thanking God in advance for what you’re asking Him to do in the future. If you wait until after it happens, that’s not faith––that’s gratitude. While it is necessary and appropriate to thank God for what He has done, faith is thanking God in advance, trusting that He’s working right now as you wait for the answer to your prayer.

Expect God To Move

In Romans 4:20-21 it says, “Yet Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised.” Abraham thanked God before it happened!

Let me ask you, in the situation that you are in right now, what are you expecting God to do? We’re all in a situation of some kind. Some of us aren’t expecting God to do anything. The Bible says, “According to your faith let it be done for you” (Matthew 9:29). Maybe God gave you a dream and when you went after it, you experienced delays and difficulties. That’s to be expected. But now you’re at a dead-end and you’re discouraged. 

Keep The Faith

Your next step is to keep the faith … expect God to move because being grateful displays our trust in the Lord. He may have a different answer than the one you are expecting. Hebrews 11:39-40 tells us that, “…yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us… sometimes the answer we thought we needed does not come because God has something better in mind.

Remember what God can do because He can do ANYTHING (Ephesians 3:20). Rely on Scripture. Memorize it! Here is one I’ve spent a considerable amount of time meditating on, 
“… but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

With a grateful heart, make your requests known to God and you can have a peace like no other that He WILL move. It’s a peace that cannot be explained, only experienced once you’ve stepped into that faith.

I have some God-sized dreams when I think of the future of Skyline Church. What is your God-sized dream? Dream big! And when you hit that dead-end, keep the faith and expect God to move mountains. 

A Heart To Give

Oftentimes, pastors are reluctant to talk about giving because of the way culture has taught us to think about money. Culture talks about giving in manipulative, coercive, and guilt-laying ways. But as many of you know, at Skyline we don’t shy away from hard topics. We’re dedicated to teaching the relevance of Scripture in truth and love.

What does the Bible have to say about giving?

So then, what does the Bible have to say about giving? Let’s throw out the sales pitches and talk simply about what the Bible says about giving and how we view your gifts at Skyline Church

Perhaps one of the most popular verses known in the Christian faith is John 3:16. “God so love the world that He gave…” God GAVE His one and only Son for YOU and for me. There has been no greater act of giving than when Jesus went to the cross for all of mankind. And did you know the words “give, gave, and giving” are used over 1,500 times in the Bible? Giving is mentioned more than faith! If we leave out talking about giving we have left out a HUGE portion of the Bible.

Do you know why it is mentioned so often in the Bible? Because you can say you have faith all you want, but if you don’t give, you’re not growing in faith. It’s that simple. Skyline wants to produce followers of Christ that are growing in faith seven days a week. Growing people change. That includes how you view your finances. 2 Corinthians 8:7 is just one verse that teaches us that eventually our faith will be stretched in the area of giving, “But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”

A Heart To Give

Giving is always an opportunity. God wants us to grow in giving because that means we’re growing in faith. I remember meeting a visitor at Seven Church (now Skyline Lakeside) years ago that approached me after one of our services. He shared how he went to church three times throughout the year at three different churches, and every time the church was talking about giving. He was fuming and he accused churches of always talking about money. And now he was at our church and guess what we were talking about? Giving. I looked him right in the eye and said, “I think God is trying to tell you something.”

If you get frustrated when a church talks about giving, that’s a tell-tale sign that God is trying to work on that area of your life. And I’ll tell you the same thing I told that man … don’t give. Maybe that’s the first time you heard a pastor tell you not to give but I mean it. God is more interested in your heart than your money. Giving with a reluctant or resentful heart is someone who is giving in vain (2 Corinthians 9:7). God doesn’t want your money if He doesn’t have your life. 
Maybe you’ve been excelling in the knowledge of Scripture, serving, and doing all the “Christian things” you think you ought to like 2 Corinthians 8:7 talks about. But there’s going to come a time where God is going to stretch you in the grace of giving because giving reveals where your heart is. Giving allows us to express appreciation for what He has done in the past. It also allows us to check our heart and our priorities in the present, but most of all, giving allows us to grow in faith in the future. 

Why I Give

Giving allows me to evaluate my priorities and motivations. By nature, we have a tendency to make things all about ourselves. Think of the self-centered man in Luke 12. The wealthy man wondered what he should do with all his excess wealth. He decided that he should figure out how to hold on to more of it. So, he tore down his barns to build bigger ones. He kept all his wealth to himself, only to pass away and never spend the earnings he stored up on Earth. 
I remember the first time this idea of “giving” hit me. I heard a message from David Jeremiah at Shadow Mountain Community Church, and he challenged me. He said if you want to know where your heart is look at your checkbook. Sure enough, he was right. God owns everything. We’re called to be good stewards of all that He has put in our lives… And my spending was all about my interests, not God, not the church, not any kind of generosity. I had to decide if I was willing to live with a heart that only thought of myself.

My wife and I are giving to the 101010 Campaign and making a commitment like we’ve never done before because we want to grow in our faith!  And I know, he who gives little, gets little (2 Corinthians 9:6). This is no small aspiration for us as a church and it requires no small act of giving on our part. But we WANT to GROW in faith as a church!

10/10/10 Campaign

Skyline’s goal of the 101010 Campaign is to see more and more people give their lives to Christ. Truly, we want to light up the scoreboard in Heaven. We want more and more souls to one day call Heaven home. We have an incredible opportunity in front of us.

My goal is to influence as many people as I can to experience Jesus. You have 8-15 people in your Oikos (relational network) right now who don’t know Christ, but they will within the next 10 years! That’s what it’s all about. A church of our size is committed to being a model church in our community. That means stewarding your giving well, devoting ourselves to growth, and teaching the relevance of Scripture. I have no business telling you how much you should give, but I do believe in teaching you about sacrificial giving. Whether you give $5, $500, or 5 Million,  I want to encourage you to ask God what you should do. If you’re wrestling through how to steward your finances, I want to invite you to watch your 10/10/10 series on the idea of giving on the Skyline YouTube page. 

With all of us ALL IN, we will absolutely be able to light up the scoreboard in Heaven!!

School Options

I want to make sure you know, as a parent, that there are options for you as you consider taking your kids out of public school. A website I’ve mentioned at church is www.publicschoolexit.com. This website gives you the steps, resources, and other options whether you’re considering or already have taken your kids out of public school. 

It’s no secret our public-school systems are failing us as parents. The reality is when we turn the education of our kids over to the Government, this is what we get. The curriculum is total Anti-God, Anti-Church, Anti- Male and Female, Anti-American, and Anti-Human Being. It is straight socialism. Not just a hint of socialism, but an all-out assault on foundational American values.

At Skyline Church we have many Christians that are teachers and administrators in the public school system. They are on the frontlines fighting the good fight and trying to be lights in dark places. However, this latest wave of CRT and Transgender curriculum is pushing these and other teachers and administrators over the edge. We want you to know, as a public-school teacher or administrator, we are praying for you. I know many of you are trying to decide what to do at this point.  

As parents, if you are wondering what to do and what your options are, we are having a meeting at Skyline Church Rancho San Diego, Wednesday night November 3 beginning at 6:30PM in the auditorium to discuss your options.  

Legal counsel, Pacific Justice Institute will be there to give you information on your legal options. We will have a panel of experts, parents, and school administrators taking questions. You will be given resources to equip you to make the best decision in the best interests of your family.  

We continue to explore all options when it comes to a future Skyline Academy where our church can be the epicenter of strong Christian and American education! 

See you tomorrow night at 6:30pm at the Skyline Church Auditorium in Rancho San Diego. 11330 Campo Rd. La Mesa, CA. 91941.  

Remember, we truly believe, if you win the kids, you win the community. If you lose the kids, you’ve lost the future. We’re going to do everything we can to win the kids! 

Keep fighting the good fight!