Fall on Your Knees: Praying Through Advent

The prophets foretold His birth, and the world waited. Angels visited His parents before His birth, and the world waited. A star shown in the east, and the world waited. Then news began to spread… “Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord.” Cultures all over the world celebrate the arrival of Immanuel – God with us – and amid all the wonderful celebrations and gift-giving, what will be our response to such wonderful news? This Advent season, part of our response is to pray through ancient prayers of Advent. “Fall On Your Knees” while the words of past Christians become our words today celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Part 1: Fall On Your Knees: The Majesty, Mystery, Power and Wonder of Christmas
12-5-2010 - Christmas conjures up many images in people's minds: Santa Claus, stockings, presents, greenery, lights, snow, and more. While these images bring joy to many, they are only peripherally connected to the ancient meaning of Christmas. From old words literally meaning “Christ Mass,” Christmas is the feast of the Incarnation, a season celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the celebration of God becoming human in the person of Jesus. Amid all the things Christmas can be for each one of us, it is good to begin this season celebrating the majesty, the mystery, the wonder and the power of God becoming flesh among us. Today we re-experience the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Part 2: Fall On Your Knees: Rejoice!!
12-12-2010 - Amid all the decorating, the food preparations, the gift giving, the office parties and all the other events, the idea of celebrating Christmas as a season of rejoicing can get lost. Just the thought that God came to earth and lived among us is an amazing thing. But the fact that God saves mankind from their sins and afflictions promising to never leave us is reason to rejoice! Today, we celebrate the greatest gift of all… Let all believers rejoice, for Jesus Christ is born!
Part 3: Fall On Your Knees: Redemption and Rebirth
12-19-2010 - Celebrating Christmas has an amazing unifying quality. All over the world, people celebrate the birth of Jesus together regardless of gender, age, wealth, status or position. Everyone who celebrates welcomes the arrival of Jesus for the same reason. The birth of Jesus brought heaven to earth and reconciled all people back to God. While we celebrate by giving gifts to one another, we never forget the most important gift given to every human being that day; the gift of eternal life. Together this Christmas, we celebrate new life in Christ and that He truly brings joy to the world!
Part 4: Fall On Your Knees: Hope
12-26-2010- Halls have been decked. Parties have been held. Gifts have been exchanged. Now, only the leftovers remain to be eaten from Christmas dinners and amid all the post-celebration clean up…we might be tempted to leave Christmas behind. But the hope of Christmas lives year round. In Jesus Christ, God shows his mercy and grace forever and ever. He fills the hungry, blesses the needy and promises all His children forever! Jesus Christ shares in our weakness as we share in His glory. He lives and reigns as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and gives us hope that lasts eternal. Merry Christmas all year long… for our hope is in Jesus Christ who is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Amen!

Are You Kidding Me?

Eight concise sentences. Ninety-six simple words. These are the parameters of some of the most powerful and profound words ever spoken by Jesus. For some, these words are ways to unlock “blessing” or discover “happiness.” For others they are brief statements of “ways to be spiritual.” Yet, for Jesus these words encompass the defining characteristics of disciples – radical followers of the Messiah. And the words waste no time and cut like a knife. Words like poor, meek, hunger, mourn, mercy, pure, peacemaker, and persecute. These are the words Jesus uses to radically invite us into a way of seeing ourselves. And if we choose to hear them – really hear them – they will confront, annoy, and irritate our comfortable spirituality. They will leave us asking, “Are you kidding me?”

Part 1: Are You Kidding Me? Absolutely Nothing
10-10-2010 - Blessed are the poor in spirit …Poverty is a worldwide epidemic. It is seen as a problem to be solved or a charitable contribution. But Jesus says that poverty is for every disciple. This then begs the question, “What does it mean to be poor?” This week we discover the first posture we are to assume as followers of Jesus. To hear this radical call, we must be willing to make the point-blank declaration that we are absolutely nothing before God. Poverty is a disciple epidemic summoning us to give up and give in claiming nothing for ourselves and everything for the sake of following Him.

Part 2: Are You Kidding Me? Good Mourning
10-17-2010 - Blessed are those who mourn...Have you ever met anyone who loves to cry? I seriously doubt there is anyone who gets a buzz from being sad or grieving. Yet, Jesus instructs his disciples to mourn. Over what? For whom? Why would Jesus ask us to do that?! Perhaps it is because Jesus knows that in our mourning we discover something greater than ourselves. Perhaps it is in our mourning – over our sins – that we find a God who meets us and embraces us just as we are. If we allow mourning to permeate our souls, we will discover the God of comfort who wipes away our tears and lifts up our weary head.
Part 3: Are You Kidding Me? Dead Last
10-24-2010 - Blessed are the meek...No one likes to be the scrawniest on the team, feel like the most average student in class, or considered timid or shy. For most, when it comes to a word like “meek,” let’s face it – meekness equals weakness. But for Jesus, the word “meek” is a defining characteristic of true discipleship. Even more, Moses was defined in the story of scripture as a “meek man.” Could we have lost the power of becoming meek? Maybe our meekness is not in how we relate to one another but it is in how we relate to God. Jesus class us to be meek and God is waiting to see if we would be willing… so His power might be unleashed through our weakness.
Part 4: Are You Kidding Me? Can I Take Your Order
10-31-2010 - Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…There is little doubt that our culture values the appetite. We make lunch dates, tail-gate before football games, host desert receptions – we have an entire cable network devoted to food. So, when Jesus says to “hunger and thirst” we may have discovered the mother-load. Finally, a beatitude that meets my passions and one I can fully embrace. But what ought we to hunger and thirst for? Perhaps our extreme impulses and selfish desires have stolen any need to actually be hungry or thirsty. Jesus wants passion. Jesus wants us to be hungry and thirsty. Are we willing to be filled?
Part 5: Are You Kidding Me? Eyes Wide Open
11-7-2010 - Blessed are the merciful…Mercy is a great word don't you think? But only if you are on the receiving end! This is the difficulty with mercy - it is much easier to receive than it is to give. Yet, Jesus calls us to be merciful. Does this mean we are simply compassionate people? Does this mean extra money in the plate for those in need? Hardly. The mercy Jesus is after is personal and intentional. It moves us into more than "doing" and into "being." If we are going to follow Jesus, there is no option - with eyes wide open, we show mercy to anyone as they have need.
Part 6: Are You Kidding Me? The Naked Disciple
11-14-2010 - Blessed are the pure in heart…One of the greatest joys of a parent’s life is the purity and innocence of an infant child – especially when they are naked. There are no boundaries – no guilt in being “to fat” – there is absolutely no shame. It is just pure and unadulterated nakedness. But something happens when they grow up. They discover empty truths like shame, fear, and guilt. Purity is lost and our instincts tell us to run and hide. But Jesus says just the opposite. His disciples ought to be pure. They hide nothing and they protect nothing. They are the unedited and undistorted versions of themselves. The pure will be blessed and will see the God who truly sees them…exactly the way they are.
Part 7: Are You Kidding Me? Give Peace A Chance
11-21-2010 - Blessed are the peacemakers…Peace is hard to come by isn’t it? It makes little difference if you think about our nation, your family, even your household budget, peace is difficult to achieve. Even more, peace is difficult to manufacture. The process can be tedious and the effort tiring. I often wonder if peace is ever worth the effort. But Jesus was the ultimate peacemaker. He was determined to be at peace with those who followed him and even with those who hated him. Jesus didn’t just give peace a chance – he embodied it and lived it. So, this rare commodity is the very thing Jesus summons us to be… people who make peace.
Part 8: Are You Kidding Me? Persecution 101
11-28-2010 - Blessed are those who are persecuted…Persecution is one of those words I like to avoid. Just the mention of the word evokes images of pain, discomfort, and even deep agony. Why would Jesus say that persecution is a part of the gig? After all, didn’t Jesus go to the cross and suffer persecution so we wouldn’t have to? Not so fast. This may be the ultimate test of discipleship. This may be for those willing to take the risk and actually follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t need admirers, he’s calling followers. And we must choose to follow him down the path of persecution.

Home Improvement

Jesus concludes his most famous sermon with one particular metaphor: a house. Not an animal, a particular food, or even a person; a house. Jesus tells us that we ought to be wise in constructing this house. In order to ensure that it doesn't crumble & fall under pressure, the house must be built upon a solid foundation. Imagine if our church family functioned like a well-founded house. I wonder: Who would be welcome? What kind of family would live here? How would we engage those who live nearby? What would we want guests to feel, sense, or know about our house? The good news is that Jesus has already given the plans the house is built on solid rock. Now, it is up to us to determine how we are going to live together in this house how we are going to serve in this house how we engage our neighbors surrounding our house and, how we are going to make this our home. Come and re-imagine life together as the family of God as we explore ways to improve the house God has given us!

Part 1: Home Improvement: The House That Jesus Built
8-22-2010 - What if our church were a house? A place where authentic community is present. A place where servant hearts are formed. A place where there is a mission to meet the neighbors. A place where the Spirit is alive and all who enter feel welcomed and embraced. Jesus told a parable about two different types of houses – one failed and one stood firm. Our house here at Highland Oaks must be a place where God’s heart is present and our mission is clear. Join us as we begin our discovery of this house and embrace a foundation that says: “Our house is built upon Christ alone.”
Part 2: Home Improvement: Green Grass and Porch Swings
8-29-2010 - As we continue to explore the “house” God has called us to be, we venture into the front yard. The front yard can either function as a haven that protects us from the world or it can function as a space for us to engage the world around us. In this, the mission of the front yard will determine the way the front yard is used, embraced, and cared for. Join us as Jesus invites us into His front yard and reveals to us how we may live as “salt” and “light.”
Part 3: Home Improvement: C'mon In This House
9-5-2010 - This week we move from the front yard into the house and explore the family room. Do you have a room in your house where your family gathers to spend time just being “family?” Shouldn’t  a healthy family intentionally create space that allows for authenticity, celebration, and even messiness? This is the family room Jesus imagines!  It is a room where everyone feels welcome, anyone can be honest, and life is celebrated by all. Join us as we learn what it means to truly experience a community that is authentic and living as family.
Part 4: Home Improvement: Somethin' Smells Good In The Kitchen
9-12-2010 - The kitchen is a unique place in the home. From the preparation, to the eating, to the cleaning up… someone is always serving or being served in the kitchen. If the kitchen is about service then what should this space look like in our churches? This week Jesus invites us into His “kitchen” and reminds us that serving others is foundational to living in His house. Yet, perhaps even more important is the heart of the service in the kitchen. Join us as we explore a kitchen where God cultivates our hearts for service. God’s kitchen is open and we are invited in to serve the family!
Part 5: Home Improvement: When A House Is A Home
9-19-2010 - Some houses just have “it.” “It” is something intangible that you feel when you walk into someone’s house. "It" is a spirit of hospitality and of love. But mostly, "it" is what makes a house a home. Moving from house to home comes from a place deep in the hearts of the people who live there. In God’s house,it is the Holy Spirit and It's presence is undeniable. Join us as we continue to allow Jesus to imagine for us ways to be “family” and how the Spirit makes the house a true home.
Part 6: Home Improvement: Here's Your Key
9-26-2010 - As we conclude our "Home Improvement" series we review the house that Jesus imagines. From the front yard to the kitchen and then to the family room, the Spirit moves the house into a home - and this home is the home we choose to live in as God's family. Yet, one thing remains...living in the home. Join us as we are commissioned to accept the values and responsibility of living in the home Jesus imagines.

Leading Up - Leading On

8-15-2010 - Leadership matters. It matters to a church because a healthy leadership model can provide a path for discovering its true identity as the bride of Christ. So, how will our church embrace a model that captures the mission of Jesus? Today we explore the model of leadership at Highland Oaks. In this we will discover how the shepherds of our church have decided to lead our flock towards the mission of God. Join us as we explore our pursuit of a leadership that is centered on Christ, anchored in His mission, and led by His Spirit.

Leading Up - Leading On


Epic (ep’ik): “A  long narrative poem in a dignified style about the deeds of a hero or heroes – adj. of or like an epic; heroic; grand.”So what comes to mid when you read the definition for the word “epic?” Is it a particular movie? Or does a famous character come to mind? One thing is for certain, our society searches for heroes and when found become attached to their heroic stories. Yet, as children of God we have been invited to participate in an epic story of our own. Our hero has been in pursuit of us since the moment of creation and has revealed to us His mighty acts. So, this summer we explore the epic story of our hero and bear witness to His great acts throughout the history of His people, Israel. God’s story is truly epic and we are given full rights to participate as players in His story. 

Part 1: Elohim: The Powerful Creator
6-6-2010 - “In the beginning God . . .” There is a reason our epic story begins this way. God the Creator is full of purpose and fresh with meaning from the very start. This morning we look at God’s first name, Elohim, and discover this foundational truth: Because He is the Elohim, almighty Creator, He creates with great purpose and love over and over again.
Part 2: El Elyon: God Most High
6-13-2010 - A great paradox of our faith is attempting to describe someone who is simply indescribable. Yet, God’s people throughout the story of scripture give names to God based on how he reveals his grace-filled actions. Our epic story this week takes us to a peculiar account in Genesis 14 with a plot which includes kingdoms at war, a daring family rescue, and an unlikely foreign priest named Melchizedek. In this dramatic scene we find the hero of our story, El Elyon, receiving praise and honor from all who recognize his authority. Join us as we embrace the “Most High” God and claim His sovereignty again in the midst of our story.

Part 3: El-Shaddai: The Almighty God
6-20-2010 - Have you ever struggled with questions like: “Why do I need to trust God when he seems so absent?”, “Where is God when I can’t see his promises?”, or “What am I supposed to do when God just doesn’t make sense?” If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then our “epic” story is sure to speak boldly this morning. Abraham, the great “father of our faith,” struggles with periods of doubt, times of waiting, and wonders if God will make good on his promises. Nevertheless, El-Shaddai – the almighty God – appears and proves to be faithful to Abraham and faithful journey. You are invited as we journey alongside of Abraham and witness the power of El-Shaddai and embrace His words of hope and promise for our journey of faith.
Part 4: Jehovah Jireh: God Provides
6-27-2010 - Faith . . . Is one of those words that is foundational to who we are as participants in the “epic” story. Yet, when God asks that we do something entirely impossible or to give up those things most important, faith becomes an immediate challenge and invites more questions than answers. Today’s text is perhaps the most famous “faith” test of all. The story tells of God asking a father to do the impossible – to willingly offer his only son as a sacrifice. Enter faith. Enter testing. Enter an unimaginable scenario to embrace. And yet the faithful response of Abraham is “God will provide.”  This morning we explore the resounding promise of The Faithful to the faith-filled. God is “Jehovah-Jireh” and He will provide as He asks one to give up the very thing he was promised. But the story invites us to examine our own faith – our own promises and ask, “Would we be willing to do the same?”
Part 5: Jehovah Rophe: God Heals
7-4-2010 - Perhaps the most pivotal event in the history of Israel is the Exodus. God, in deep compassion and promise, delivered His people from the Egyptian empire and led them across dry land. The Israelites stand victorious as Pharaoh’s army is left swallowed by the Red Sea and bondage becomes a distant memory. All is well in Israel’s camp until Moses leads them to the desert. The victorious songs of praise turn into cries of thirst and complaint. Where is God in the desert? Why would He deliver his people from bondage only to lead them to a place of bitterness? Our Epic story this morning tells of Jehovah Rophe who is the “God who heals.” Join us as we discover our Jehovah Rophe – the God who does not take us away from the desert but meets us in the desert and willingly offers waters of restoration and healing.
Part 6: Jehovah Nissi: The Lord Is My Banner
7-11-2010 - Moses, the great leader of Israel, carried a wooden staff given to him by God. That staff was a constant reminder of God's presence among his people. Who would have thought a wooden "stick" could have so much influence? But it wasn't the stick that had influence so much as it was God's power working in his people that was the influence! In today's epic moment from scripture (Exodus 17), we find Moses holding that staff in the air as Israel fights against an enemy. As long as Moses held up the staff, Israel won the fight. In victory, Moses declared God was his "banner" (Jehovah Nissi). Whatever battles we fight, we have a "banner" going before us assuring ultimate victory... Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Part 7: Jehovah Mekadesh: The Lord Who Sanctifies
7-18-2010 - Holiness. It brings memories of old church hymns as well as familiar stories of burning bushes and smoke-filled mountains. But what does holiness really mean? Even more, what does it mean for a Holy God to call a community of faith to be holy? Our epic story takes us on an unlikely journey through the book of Leviticus and discover a Holy God who gives a peculiar law as a way to be in the world. In this, Jehovah Mekadesh is the "Lord who sanctifies" and we are summoned to embrace the invitation: "be holy as I am holy."
Part 8: Jehovah Shalom: The Lord Is Peace
7-25-2010 - Peace. Just the mention of the word evokes pictures of calm, serenity, and rest. It might even imagine for us a world without war, relationships with no strife, or life with no worry. But God’s peace, His shalom, offers so much more that the absence of conflict or a worry free life. God’s peace is His way of drawing His people into His movement in the world. So, join us as we hear how God offers His shalom through a doubtful yet willing servant and intervenes for His people, Israel. God gave his peace to Israel and He continues to shower His peace upon us.
Part 9: Jehovah Rohi: The Lord Is My Shepherd
8-1-2010 - God as a “shepherd” is one of the most recognizable metaphors for believers everywhere. The “Shepherd” is called upon at hospital beds, funerals, in the trenches of battle, and in personal times of crisis. Yet, I wonder the church has fully realized our role as sheep? The epic story is clear: God is the gentle Shepherd and His leadership is vital for the survival of His sheep. So, join us as we develop this powerful metaphor and re-discover the passion, love, and goodness of Jehovah Rohi; “The Lord our Shepherd.”
Part 10: Jehovah Shammah: The Lord Is There
8-8-2010 - The scene is desolate and bleak. Israel has forgotten the goodness of Yahweh and forsaken the holiness of His name. Abandonment and despair abound and God’s people are found in captivity. Israel is in exile. Yet, God calls forth a mighty prophetic voice of judgment and hope. The voice imagines a new day for God’s people with renewed hearts and living bones. Join us as we hear the prophet Ezekiel announce to those in exile, “The Lord is there.” God is Jehovah Shammah and this stirring reminder is for those exiles who feel abandoned, are far off, and have been cast away. This morning we listen as Yahweh comes and restores, renews, and creates again a space for the exiled church to hear with great anticipation: “The Lord is there.”

Simply Amazing

The story of Jesus is amazing.  But what makes this ordinary carpenter from Galilee so extraordinary? Countless miracles, outpourings of grace and the boldness of a servant-Messiah calling His followers to live into the good news of the kingdom of God are all amazing things. So, reading the Gospel of Mark reveals a Jesus who unsettled the world around Him. And Jesus continues to unsettle the world around us. Simply put, Mark calls us to live as authentic followers of Jesus.  Join us for the next several weeks as we invest further in following the servant and Savior who is simply amazing

Part 1: The Kingdom of God is Near
2/7/2010 - In the gospel of Mark, Jesus erupts on the scene without a family history or birth story. Mark's gospel begins simply, "The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah." This week we explorer the "good news" of Jesus by discovering that His mission was to inaugurate the Kingdom of God. The king of this Kingdom has broken into history at just the right time and offers a new way of living and seeing the world. "The Kingdom of God has come near..." It's time for His church to rise up and embrace this claim as a past, present, and future reality.

Part 2: What's So Amazing?
2/14/2010 - This week we take a look at the first healing story in the Gospel of Mark. Today, we imagine what it was like to see Jesus physically healing someone in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Interestingly, the crowds that day were even more impressed by the teaching Jesus brought to them. “The people were amazed at His teaching because he taught as one who had authority.” What was so “new” about his teaching and why was there such amazement? Join us as Mark invites us into a space where authority is found in the kingdom of God and leaves us with the unsettling question, “Are we still amazed?”

Part 3: An Amazing Act of Forgiveness
2/21/2010 - We've heard the story before – four friends and a paralytic. The four men go to extremes to get their friend to Jesus. Interestingly, the very thing the paralytic needs is not what Jesus gives. The expectation was for healing but instead the man received forgiveness. Like all those who want to be around Jesus, each of us comes with a particular expectation in mind. This morning we again join Mark in the story of Jesus and allow this striking episode of forgiveness and healing to raise our expectations of Jesus. Come and let us continue to be amazed.

Part 4: Grace Under Pressure
2/28/2010 - Often times in our churches we pretend that life is simply happy and triumphant. Yet, there are times when life is exactly the opposite. Life can be full of tragedy, heartache, unfairness, and even death. This morning, the Highland Oaks family takes a brief detour from the gospel of Mark to deal with some of life’s most puzzling and haunting questions. Questions like, “Why me God?”, “Where are you when I hurt?”, and “How am I supposed to survive this?” Join us as we explore the ways in which God’s story of compassion, grace, and hope find intersection with life’s greatest disappointments. Though God gives and takes away, our hearts will choose to say: “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Part 5: An Amazing Teacher
3/7/2010 - Jesus was perhaps at his best when he was teaching. He taught arrogant Pharisees, hungry crowds, and willing disciples. He taught them all about his mission and work in the world - the kingdom of God. But Jesus chose a different classroom than most of his fellow teachers in His day - his instruction was not found in telling people what they ought to believe; rather, it was found in the sharing of story. We know them best as parables. Jesus knows them as opportunities to hear. This morning we attune our ears once again to the amazing teacher - Jesus - and we listen as He gently instructs us about the kingdom of God.
Part 6: The Gentle Healer
3/14/2010 - One of the most amazing things about the ministry of Jesus was His compassionate care for people in desperate need. When Jesus encounters a man everyone else had pushed to the margins of society, Jesus’ compassion overpowers any stigma surrounding that man’s (or anyone else’s) need. Can we accept the healing Jesus offers… and be free from the “demons” in our life? Can we extend the same care to others that Jesus offers? This sermon looks to answer both questions.
Part 7: When People Are Hungry
3/20/2010 - Throughout the story of scripture we discover God willingly providing food for his people. In the wilderness bread fell from heaven and for prophets like Elisha, bread was given for an entire army. It is clear, when God’s people are hungry he feeds them; even with abundant leftovers. So this week we find Jesus, the “God in the flesh” messiah, providing food for hungry people once again. However, for Mark it is important to notice where the hungry people are found… in lonely places. Join us as we discover the amazing savior still provides food for his people seeking for and living in lonely places.
Part 8: Walk On By
3/28/2010 - Of all the statements made by Jesus to his disciples in the gospel of Mark, perhaps the most comforting is, “Take heart. It is I, do not be afraid.” It was late in the night. The disciples were worn and weary from ministry. The winds were strong and the rowing intense. The Savior, seeing their strain, “walks on by” and reassures them of His presence. Join us this morning as we explore this fascinating account of the amazing Savior who meets the disciples in their fears and reminds them of His glory – His peace – His assurance.
Part 9: The Way of the Cross
4/11/2010 - With a tremendous Easter behind us, we return this week to our study of the Gospel of Mark. The journey with Jesus and the disciples has been amazing so far. We've witnessed powerful healings, bold teaching, and astonishing miracles. But, the journey this week takes an unexpected twist and U-turn. Jesus announces to all those following him that the journey must lead to suffering and rejection. What does Jesus mean when bids us to join him and take up our cross? How does the cross illuminate our faith for this journey with Jesus? This morning we explore this challenging topic as we discover the "way of the cross" as the only way to follow Jesus.
Part 10: Amazing Possibilities
4/18/2010 - Anything is possible for one who believes." Without a doubt, this is one of the most powerful statements ever made by Jesus. But, what does this really mean? The scene in Mark 9 is filled with frustrated disciples, a desperate father, irritable scribes, and a patient Messiah who longs to instill faith for a doubtful generation. But our text teaches us to discover how Jesus meets what seems to be impossible with the possible - and this is only done by prayer. Join us as we embrace the amazing possibilities of our faithful imaginations. When we run out of options and the outcome seems hopeless, our faith leads us to believe in the only possible solution- Jesus Messiah.
Part 11: So You Want To Be Great?
4/25/2010 - What comes to mind when you hear the word, "leadership?" Chances are a particular person came to mind. But what made this person worth following? In the gospel of Mark, Jesus calls the disciples to follow him. He is their courageous and passionate leader. However, this morning Mark allows us to hear a conversation among Jesus and his followers and the lesson is . . . well, not what they expected. The Jesus way of leadership is about service and greatness is defined by sacrifice. If you want to be great, following the leadership of Jesus will lead you to one place- away from yourself
Part 12: Turning Over Tables
5/2/2010 - For over 2000 years we have been on a journey to discover who Jesus really was. Unfortunately, we have created many images of Jesus out of our own perspectives and experience. Join us today as Mark gives us a portrait of Jesus that is passionate, radical, and even offensive. Jesus is serious about the things most important to God - and he will go to any length to overturn our tables of religiosity and spiritual piety.
Part 13: So You Think You Can Dance?
5/16/2010 - So You Think You Can Dance? The gospel has a rhythm. We can feel its beat: Love, justice, mercy, compassion, peace, forgiveness. God has invited each of us to learn to move to the rhythm of the gospel – to live as we were created to live. That’s what being a disciple is all about. That’s what being part of a church family is all about. It’s about learning to dance the dance and teach others to do the same – to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself.
Part 14: A Story Worth Telling
5/23/2010 - In Mark 14, Jesus is having dinner at the home of Simon the leper.  Several are present but only one displays an extravagant gesture of surrender and love. This week we explore the story that Jesus claims “will be told wherever the gospel is preached.” Come and join as we witness and experience the astounding response to an amazing savior.  
Part 15: Truly The Son of God
5-30-2010 - This morning we close out our series on the gospel of Mark with a stirring reminder from the foot of the cross. Of all the characters in mark’s gospel, we find the least likely claiming the true identity of Jesus- a Roman centurion. Join us as we take a final look at this powerful claim from the lips of one kingdom to another- “Truly this man was the son of God.” At the foot of the cross we are still simply amazed!

When A Card Is Not Enough

5/9/2010 - When A Card Is Not Enough . . . What do Mom’s really want to hear on Mother’s Day? Is it said best through a card – a nice meal – flowers – or just some TLC? Or, do Mom’s really want to hear, “Your presence matters in the story of our faith.” Perhaps this is what we all want to hear. Join us as we allow Paul’s exhortation to young Timothy to bring new shape and meaning for all of our women as they serve as people of great significance in our stories of faith. Happy Mother’s Day!

When A Card Is Not Enough


I Am Resurrected

4/4/2010 - Resurrection day . . . Easter Sunday is about God bringing dead things back to life. So, through the resurrection the church discovers new life is found in God's resurrection power within each of us. Join us for this special day as we celebrate the risen Lord in our stories. Today,the Highland Oaks family embraces the resurrection as the "end of our story." Jesus is alive and we are given the best opportunity of all- to live resurrected lives.

I Am Resurrected

All In

Why All Of Your Money Matters To God
Money is a challenging topic of conversation. For the global economy, this is the toughest financial season in decades. For the American household, questions surrounding retirement, investments, job security, and debt loom like a dark cloud. So, how do we as Christ followers begin a discussion about money? Even more, what does the story of scripture affirm about the ways we use and give our money? In this new sermon series, we confront the topic directly and appropriately by framing the dialogue within the story of scripture. Through this story, we realize our thoughts and beliefs about money cannot be separated from a grace-filled relationship with God. Ultimately, we discover how God is not simply interested in our money, He wants all of us. Join us as we embrace God’s claim on our hearts to be “All in.”

Part 1: Myths or True Stewardship
1/10/2010 - Money is a challenging topic of conversation. For the global economy, this is the toughest financial season in decades. For the American household, questions surrounding retirement, investments, job security, and debt loom like a dark cloud. So, how do we as Christ followers begin a discussion about money? Even more, what does the story of scripture affirm about the ways we use and give our money? In this new sermon series, we confront the topic directly and appropriately by framing the dialogue within the story of scripture. Through this story, we realize our thoughts and beliefs about money cannot be separated from a grace-filled relationship with God. Ultimately, we discover how God is not simply interested in our money, He wants all of us. Join us as we embrace God’s claim on our hearts to be “All in.”

Part 2: What the Old Testament Has to Say about Our Money
1/17/2010 - The Old Testament story abounds with wealthy land owners and rich kings, commandments to tithe, and harsh warnings of idols. Is it really God’s intention for us to be wealthy like Solomon? Does the 10% tithe still apply for us today? How does the story of creation reveal God’s intent for our money? These are the questions we seek to answer as we take a critical look at the heart of the Old Testament story. In this second installment of our “All In” series, we discover a gracious God whose ultimate desire is for His people to be loyal and faithful stewards in the midst of an idolatrous culture.

Part 3: What the New Testament Has to Say About Our Money
1/24/2010 - It is clear in reading the story of the Gospels that Jesus talked about money . . . a lot! He gave warnings to the rich, called his followers to embrace the poor, and used parables about money lenders and wealthy land owners. What are we to make of all of these teachings from Jesus about money? This week we explore several key teachings of Jesus on the subject of money and how it relates to living in the kingdom of God. Also, we look at Paul’s instructions to young ministers and newly established churches about money. In all, we continue to discover how the entire story of scripture affirms true stewardship as a response to a grace-filled relationship.

Part 4: The One To Watch
1/31/2010 - As we conclude our series on money, we take a final look at what God ultimately desires: our heart. In the gospel of Mark, we are invited to watch as the most unlikely servant gives us a radical picture of stewardship. The invitation extended to us this morning from the Jesus story is this: be bold, take the risk, and ask, “Are you truly ready to go all in?” Ultimately, in order to cultivate a servant heart we must be willing to give Jesus all that we have.

Get In The Game

Get In The Game

1/3/2010 - As we begin the New Year, indeed a new decade, we are reminded of our calling to be a church that imitates Jesus. Thus, in this new year the Highland Oaks family will focus on one of its four core values,  cultivating servant hearts. In this morning’s message we take an initial look at the servant heart of Jesus while identifying 3 key ways our church family will embrace this core value. In addition, a direct focus and brief explanation will be given to our 2010 budget. In all, this Sunday we renew and reinvigorate our commitment by prayerfully looking forward to God’s vision for ministry in 2010. “Highland Oaks, are you ready to get in the game?”

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