Engage Community Church

Author: engageharco

Change is Coming!

Do you wish you had more opportunities to build your friendships
with folks you only see on Sunday morning? Would you be willing to
open your home  once or twice to such an opportunity?

Our Journey Group ministry will soon be starting back
up and we hope you will be a part! Keep watching and
listening for details about our new Journey Group approach!

Back to…

August is done and September is here! As we arrive at the Labor Day weekend, we have to ask, “Where did the summer go?” If you are like me, you have no doubt heard the moans of a return to school, and perhaps a return to work after a late summer, or summer long vacation.

            In many ways, back to school represents another “New Year’s Day”.  In January, it is a time to turn the page and make goals or resolutions about how the next 365 days will be different than the last. This, I believe is a blessing from God. God gives us continuing grace and mercy, and the opportunity to start fresh is an example of this.

            So as we have arrived at this natural mile post in the rhythm of our year, it is a great time to take stock and start fresh. While we may dread the return to school, or perhaps enjoy the return of a familiar routine, we can also take advantage of the opportunity to refresh and return to a spiritual routine that may have slipped over the summer or even since our resolutions were made in January.

            What are the spiritual practices that you need to refresh, restart, and recommit to? What are practices that you may need to begin for the first time or grow and expand? For some of us, it might be reading our Bibles. For others, it might be learning to “pray without ceasing”, that is carrying on a conversation with God throughout our day. Maybe for others, it is making Sunday morning worship a first priority, or joining a Journey Group.

            Wherever you find yourself, the Back to School transition is a great opportunity to return to much more than routine. It is an opportunity to grow and strengthen your faith. So as the calendar moves forward in its’ steady advance towards New Year’s, let’s take advantage of the opportunity to return, restart, renew and recalibrate our lives so that we can finish the 2019 strong.

Pastor Evan

Love God Most

What are the things that vie most for your time and affections?  Family? Hobbies? Work?
The truth is that we all have things that rise to the top of the heap at different times. This is the nature of life and our attempts to balance all of the different parts of it. Amidst the pressures and pleasures of life, however, God calls us to keep Him first. In Exodus 20:3, we read that we are to have no other gods before Him.  While we would not consider our jobs, kids, spouse, or possessions gods in the classic sense, there is a real sense in which these are often raised to first place in our lives even to the detriment of our worship and dependence on God.

In Mark 10:17-30, we read the story of a young man who by all accounts was a model example of what it means to love God and follow Him. Because of his devotion and desire to be right with God, he approached Jesus and asked what he needed to do in order to receive eternal life. Jesus responded that he needed to keep the commandments. The young man affirmed his adherence to them, but Jesus points out what one thing he lacks. He has elevated his love for his money above his love for God. His possessions have displaced God from the set of affection in His heart. So then, Jesus tells him to sell all he has and to follow him. The man, unwilling to do so walks away sad.

The temptation for us is to make this story about the evils of wealth. The reality is that wealth is not the main point of the story. For this young man, his wealth was indeed his competing God, but that doesn’t let us off the hook. The point was, he loved something more than he loved the Lord. When viewed clearly, we are all that young man. Maybe for us it isn’t wealth, but maybe we put our family, or job, or spouse, or hobbies before God. We spend our time, money, energies, and affections on these things so much that what we have to offer God is the leftovers or perhaps nothing at all.What then is the message of the story? It is a corrective to challenge the gods of our lives that tempt us to offer our worship to them instead of to God.

The story reminds us that to love God and keep him first is to remember that he loves us most. We, his adopted, redeemed children in Christ, are the apple of His eye. He gave himself to restore and save us.
It also points out that just one thing can keep us from God’s best. Replacing him with anything else – even something good – keeps us from His best for us. Lastly it reminds us to follow through and fight for the relationship we so greatly desire. Because we love God most, we must continue to keep Him first. Nothing is so important to the enemy than to drive a wedge between the savior and ourselves. Since he cannot change the love of Christ for us, he attacks our hearts and seeks to grow our affections for other things. In doing so, he doesn’t ask us to love Jesus less, he instead causes us to love other things more so that we never perceive the reordering of our lives in such a way that Christ is removed from his position.

So, what do you love more than God? Are you actively seeking to keep it in its proper place so that your affections for God are first in your heart? Are you willing to give it up or lay it down for His sake? How would your life be different with God in His rightful place? What does God want to do in and through you, but can’t until you love Him most?

Pastor Evan

Who Are You Listening To?

                The team of teenagers had gone out on the streets of Toronto with a sense of excitement and hope. They would be on the front lines, meeting people who were homeless and hopeless and making a difference for Jesus. There was a real sense of expectation that was fueled by an evangelistic fire born of youthful exuberance and heartfelt belief. Today was a day they would make a difference.

It wasn’t long until they saw him. He was sitting there, dirty and sullen, his face aged by life on the streets. Here was a man who needed Jesus. Here was a man who they could reach out to. So they sat down beside him and began.

“Hi, what’s your name?” “Sebastian.”, came the reply. “Hi Sebastian, I’m Katie and this is Tim and Stephanie.” “You’re Christians, aren’t you?”, Sebastian interrupted. “Why yes, we are!” said Katie, “How did you know?”  “Because Christians are always talking”.

The story above is true. A friend of mine, Brian Matherlee, took a group of teens to Toronto on a short-term missions trip and they returned with a lesson they never considered before going. It was a lesson we all need to learn.

Often in our desire to win the world, we neglect to take time to hear them. We know what they need! They need Jesus! But what they need more than anything is someone to listen. They need someone to care, someone to treat them as a human being with hurts, hopes, dreams and nightmares. Yes, Jesus is the answer, but what we need is to know the question.

Sometimes we treat the lost as a target, an objective or a number. This often betrays our need for evangelistic success. The need to feel as if we’ve made a difference. Unfortunately, this is not what we have been called to do.  We have been called to love and serve the least of these. The first step is to listen to them like Jesus does. Then and only then can we hope to give them the answer.

The Bible tells us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. Who are you listening to?

Pastor Evan