The Journey Continues Forward

Since God placed a love for the outside of the church I have consistently sought God’s leading each step of the way. ReSolved Ministry came about from the commitment to continually rethink the “how” of ministry with a fervent passion, or resolve.

When COVID forced the world to pause ReSolved pivoted to be a digital first ministry to continue loving those outside the church. On this journey God connected ReSolved with Church Anywhere to learn from & be mentored by in these beginning stages. This has been an incredible experience that will continue in a new way into the future.

Also along this journey Discover Church, ReSolved’s sending congregation pivoted to develop its own digital ministry. Both ministries have a passion to invite all people to a life-transforming faith in Jesus Christ. With this similar resolve Discover & ReSolved are joining together in digital ministry.

I am the Digital Pastor at Discover Church tasked to grow Discover Church Network. It is a network of microsite gathered together around the world for worship. It is a network of digital missionaries building relationships with others through their digital platforms. It is a network resolved to disciple people to live The 168 Life.

It is exciting to begin this chapter together. We are able to share resources & passions. God is bringing this together for God’s glory. We humbly serve together sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in word, action and posts.

So here’s what’s next. You can follow Discover at its social media accounts. There you will continue to be encouraged on your faith journey. You can also follow me on my socials @TheHoppyPastor to connect directly.

Thank you for being a part of this chapter of the journey! Your support is incredible!!

Let’s stay in touch!

Now may you go out today knowing you are loved by God, feeling the Holy Spirit surrounding you and sharing Jesus through word, action & post. 

Discover Church Socials

Facebook: @DiscoverChurchBP

Instagram: @discoverchurchbpl

Twitter: @ChurchDiscover

YouTube: Discover Church – Brooklyn Park

You Are Not Alone

2020 was a difficult year.  Stay at Home orders kept everyone at home away from friends and family.  While the first few weeks were fun.  A new adventure of working from home & learning how to have Zoom meetings. 

After months of staying home, away from all those we cared about, isolation was no longer a ‘fun adventure.’ It was just plain hard.

Many times in the past year I have shared with others countless times, “You are not alone.”  I have needed to hear these words myself a few times.

We are not created to live life alone.  God created us to be in community with one another.  As we are different from each other we have the opportunity to learn from each other.  Where one is weak another is strong.  Where one is in need another has plenty to share.

God created Adam and did not intend for him to be alone.  Eve was created to be in community with Adam.  They complemented each other to be united and live life together.

When Jesus lived here on Earth He did not do life alone.  He asked 12 men to share life & ministry together. As Jesus is fully God He set the example for all believers to follow in our own lives.  We are meant to be in community with one another.

We are meant to trust a close circle of loved ones who love us unconditionally, who hold us accountable when necessary, who to celebrate great moments together. These people are our inner circle.  They are family bonded together in the Lord.  We grow in faith together. We grieve together.  We give praise together.

Another place you can connect with others is at our weekly Zoom MicroSite. We met together on Sunday nights at 7pm (US Central Time). For an hour we encourage, pray with and laugh together. You are invited! If you feel alone join us.  Send a message saying you are interested and we will send you the Meeting ID & Password. We love to see you there. 

Living The 168 Life is meant to be shared with others. We are created to be in community. See who is in your tribe.  Tell them this week how much you appreciate your friendship.  Ask how you can continue to pray with each other. Schedule the next time you hang out together to have fun together. 

As the world is coming out of isolation we will reconnect with each other.  May you see each day how you are not alone.  You are loved unconditionally.  You matter. Connect with your inner circle.  May God be glorified in the 168 hours of the week.

This Week’s Challenge 

Share with those in your inner circle how you are truly doing, good or bad. Pray with one another.  Give thanks to God for your friendships.

Show Up & Serve Your Community

Last week was hard.  This week is hard. I look out into my community to see crying hearts pleading to be heard, to be seen. 

It feels like we are on a never-ending merry-go-around.  Instances happen.  Emotions erupt. Statements are made.  Peace eventually comes.  After a period of time the next instance occurs.  When will it end?  Who is the next name on the list?

Each time the division grows wider and wider. Voices become louder.  Community is fractured further. 

Grief is hard. The heart desires to be ‘get over it’ but knows it can only learn to live through it. Words spoken with good intention don’t seem to help.  In a special way silent presence is the most comforting thing one can do. 

Now is a time to not continue the arguments to win the debate.  We must come together as a community to reach out to those who are hurting.  We need to show up & serve.  

Showing Up and Serving takes the form of donating household goods for families who are not able to get to a store. 

Showing Up & Serving takes the form sitting beside another listening to their story.  It does not try to ‘fix things’ but simply listening and learning.

Showing Up & Serving takes the form of cleaning up as the community begins to rebuild.

The pain will not disappear in one day.  But right now, today, we can show up to sit with another as they process their pain.  We can share love in silent action of serving & being present. 

As you go about your day see those in your life who are hurting.  Show up for them.  Share love in silent presence.  Share love in prayer. Serve them how ever they need in the moment. 

Brothers and sisters let us bring our community back together through love.  Let us as resolved followers of Jesus Christ show up for one another in love.  Words are not required.  Our presence shares God’s love.

This Week’s Challenge

Show up and serve one in your community.  Serve as they have need in that moment.

Differences Can Bring Us Together: Acts 15

“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

Acts 15:11

Differences. They divide relationships. They keep people apart when individuals land on either side of the difference.  We see in the news the differences between groups regarding politics, racial issues. As more differences arise the further apart people become from one another. 

But differences do not need to divide. 

This week we are looking at Acts 15.  The believers gathered in Jerusalem to discuss how to welcome the Gentile believers. Some thought the Gentiles needed to be circumcised in accordance with the Law of Moses. Others do not see the necessary need for this extra burden on them. This was a great difference.

They discussed for a long time.  Then James spoke about how the Old Testament prophets foretold the Gentiles coming to faith.  There was not word about them being circumcised. They agreed this truth and wrote to the Gentile believers to abstain from immoral life and grow as followers of Jesus Christ. 

The Jerusalem meeting could have resulted in a division amongst the Apostles.  Rather than argue to win a point they chose to listen to one another, study Scripture together and prayed for God’s wisdom. They did not seek to be divided by their differences.  Instead they sought to be in agreement.  They listened to learn from one another. 

We learn from them the importance of learning from differences.  Many times we find ourselves in arguments whether in person or via social media working to prove that we are “right” and the other side is “wrong”. The health of the relationship does not matter as long we ‘win’. 

As followers of Jesus we resolve to listen to learn from one another. Everyone receives the undeserved grace of Jesus Christ.  No one is better than another because of how one lands on an issue.  We freely share God’s love with all from our own experiences with God. We see differences as a way to connect with each other. 

During these times may we reflect God’s undeserved grace to all people.  As we are forgiven so are they. As God loves us unconditionally so are they. As Jesus rose from the grave to save us from sin He did so for those we disagree with on some issues. 

The times we find yourself disagreeing with someone on an issue look to the Apostles in Acts 15.  See how they listened to learn from one another.  Find common ground with one another.  There are probably more things you agree on than disagree. Seek to find a solution as the Apostles did about the Gentiles. 

May we be examples in the world of how God’s love unites us together.  May each of us begin to see that differences do not divide us but rather brings us together.

This Week’s Challenge

Have a conversation with a person who you disagree with on an issue. Seek to understand one another finding common ground together.

Why It is Important to Tell the Story: Acts 14

“Upon arriving in Antioch, they called the church together and reported everything God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, too.”

Acts 14:27

Paul & Barnabas traveled far & wide on their first missionary journey.  They visited many cities sharing the Gospel of Jesus with Jews and Gentiles seeing many lives completely changed. 

This week we see them return to Antioch sharing the stories with the believers there who were waiting for their return. They shared stories of the lame man who was healed. The time Paul was stoned and left for dead. And countless other stories not included in the text.

Many beautiful things occur in ministry.  The conversations between people sharing stories of life & faith.  The incredible serving opportunities where God blesses all involved whatever their needs may be. The lives completely changed after beginning to follow Jesus Christ. 

As you travel along on your faith journey share the stories of ministry with your close friends.  Share with one another what God is teaching you right now. Share stories from serving others not to gain glory for yourself but to praise God together for the lives impacted by the Gospel. 

Think back to when you first heard about Jesus Christ.  Who shared their faith story with you? What stood out to you when you heard it?

Sharing stories is one way that we connect with one another.  We get to know someone in ways that only stories tell us.  We have a further bond with an individual that matures our friendship with them. 

Paul & Barnabas shared their stories from their first missionary trip so that the believers in Antioch can see how God answered their prayers for Paul & Barnabas.  The believers were together with Paul & Barnabas in ministry through many miles separated them. 

When you gather with fellow believers what stories do you share from ministry with one another? By sharing stories from living The 168 Life you are able to see how God is reaching the world through you.  Also you see the fruit of your prayers for each other.  As a community you are connected together sharing and serving together. When you share stories with each other or to someone who has not heard yet you are sharing God in your words. 

There is no need to be nervous about being able to speak well or not.  God promises to give you the words to share by the Holy Spirit. Share from your heart.  Share what you saw. The story will flow from you in ways you did not conceive.  Be assured that God’s Word does not return empty (Isaiah 55:11). 

This Week’s Challenge

The next time you get with friends share a story from when you first heard the Gospel story.

You Are Not Alone: Acts 12

“But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.”

Acts 12:5

Have you watched the reality show Alone on the History Channel? Its premise is simple – place 10 individuals in the wilderness to survive on his/her own & see who lasts the longest.  They are completely cut off from all civilization & humanity. After 7 seasons the longest someone has remained alone is 100 days in the Arctic.

Each contestant is completely alone.  There is no camera crew to capture the footage for them. They film everything themselves.  About once a week they receive medical check-ups but otherwise they see no other human being.  Most contestants reflect on the loved ones they miss and wanting to get back to them.  Some tap out because they simply want to be with their loved ones. All contestants process what it means to be alone and how difficult it is to thrive completely alone.

During our study through Acts we see in each chapter how God does not have the apostles or followers be on his/her own.  God sends out the apostles at least in pairs, like Paul & Barnabas.  We read continually how the followers gathered together almost daily to share life together.  They live in community ensuring that no one felt alone.  

This week’s chapter we read how Peter got in trouble again for preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.  He was arrested by the Israelite king, Herod and thrown into jail.  He awaited his trial when the Holy Spirit intervened to release him from jail and return him to the believers. (I love how Rhoda was so surprised she kept the door closed on Peter. Check it out.)

Peter may have been arrested but he was not alone.  The believers showed how they we were with him in spirit when they prayed earnestly for him.  They would not forget their brother Peter.  They loved him in words and actions.  They lifted him up in prayer to plead with God for Peter’s safekeeping while he was in jail.

As we continue in this pandemic we can feel alone ourselves.  We are not able to spend time with family and friends as we are accustomed to being together. We video chat with each other but it’s not the same. Perhaps we are experiencing our own season of Alone right now. 

Hear this: You are not alone.  As a follower of Jesus Christ you belong to the family of God.  We are connected to one another when we worship God.  We lift up one another in prayer trusting one another into God’s care. 

If you feel alone reach out to a friend.  Connect with a small group to share life together.  Pray to God to bring you comfort.  You can leave a message on any of our social media accounts to connect. 

As you study this chapter read how God was present with Peter in jail.  Note how Peter was followed the angel when he was woken up in the middle of the night.  Model the prayers of the followers when they were at Mary’s house.  

May you go about your day, your week remembering you are not alone.  You belong to God.  You belong to God’s family.  Be connected with the followers of Jesus through prayer, worship, fellowship via Zoom. 

This Week’s Challenge

Complete this sentence: When I feel alone I will reach out to________________  by ______________________. 

Did You Catch that Glimpse of Heaven?

As we have seen in previous posts in this series seeking God’s Will changes who we are and brings us closer to community with one another. It is a journey that may begin at various times for each individual but does continue for a lifetime for everyone. It is a journey which draws us home to Heaven.

See, this world is not how God originally designed it. Rebellion set in with humanity and leaving this world to be broken. Things are not how they should be as God created it. Instead of walking away, God set into action His Plan to redeem the world through the life, death, and resurrection of His Only Son Jesus Christ. God’s Will is to bring all of humanity back to the perfect union we once had before rebellion entered.

We do not seek God’s Will on our own. If we attempt to do so we, at best, will only see a small portion of it. In community with others do we begin to see the full picture. With this authentic community we also get a glimpse of Heaven. We get to see how intricately woven together we are by the Holy Spirit.

God is continually restoring and healing the world in preparation for the new Heaven and the new Earth where there is no mourning, no loss, no pain. Perfect union between God and creation is restored. We pray for God’s Will to be done for this end.

Each time we pray the petition, “God, Your Will be done” we are praying to see what God is doing and how we are called to help fulfill it. As an united community seeking God’s Will we get a glimpse of Heaven, a small taste of what it will be like in Heaven when all things are restored.

This glimpse of Heaven is found in the relationships we share with one another. One sees Heaven wherever 2 or more people come together from varying backgrounds and experiences to not grapple for political power but rather utilize their differences to be stronger together in service to the Lord.

The glimpses we do receive from the Holy Spirit helps us to not be discouraged. They serve as a motivator for those times the adversary attempts to derail us.

These glimpses also remind us who we are. They whisper in our hearts the plans God has for us. We are able to keep seeking God’s Will because while we may not see the finish line right now we do know where it is and how wonderful it will be in Heaven.

So as you go about your day and your week look for those glimpses of Heaven that God sends you. Be encouraged that this journey is not in vain. Stand firm in the Lord and together in community. Give praise to God for His unending love for all of us.

This Week’s Challenge — As you serve this week in community debrief together how you got a glimpse of Heaven.

Going from Me to We

I love reality TV!  It is a guilty pleasure of mine.  I was hooked since watching “The Real World – San Francisco”  Pedro is still one of my favorites.  

It is quite fun to be able to people watch from the comforts of my own couch. 

Recently I watched a new series on ABC “Castaways”.  The concept is simple: 12 individuals abandoned on a string of islands in the South Pacific.  There was strewn luggage, sparse resources and some abandoned structures.  They knew there were others but unsure of how many.  They were told they would be rescued but did not know when that rescue would come. They had to learn how to survive.

Some castaways tried to survive on his/her own to preserve resources.  Others from the onset wanted to seek out others to have community while they worked to survived until rescue came.  

As the days passed most castaways quit for their own personal reasons.  The remaining ones slowly came together as one group when rescue did come for them. 

The most interesting piece to me was observing each castaway go from a Me Mentality to a We Mentality.  They each came to value not just companionship but the sense of community.  No one had to be alone.  They had each other in this shared experience.  

One could survive alone but we thrive together.  

God created us for community.  He did not want us to be alone in the good times or in the bad times.  He gave us each other so that we all can thrive together.

Sure, we can be stubborn and insist on doing things on our own.  But isn’t anything more enjoyable when you share with a friend?

When awesome things happen we want to share the great news with someone. As we trek through difficult times it is comforting to know there is someone by our side to journey through it with us.  The mundane days are fun when you laugh with a friend. 

We may not be left on a deserted island but there are times life feels a little too chaotic.  We can feel overwhelmed. If we keep our Me Mentality we may survive but most likely be exhausted through the process.  But by changing our perspective to a We Mentality each of us begin to thrive in ways we may not have thought possible. 

A We Mentality gives us others to learn from, friends to share all of life with, opportunities to thrive as individuals and therefore as a community. 

As followers of Jesus Christ our mentality changes from a Me to We Mentality. It is not just about ourselves.  It becomes about others and the whole community. We see how we each belong to and in community.  

While we all have been rescued from the bondage of sin by the life, death & resurrection of Jesus Christ we can now thrive together advancing the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the show: 

“If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.”

Which is it for you? Going fast and alone OR far and together?

This Week’s Challenge 

Who is in your community?  List how you thrive together in life.  As you about your week, focus on one of those ways.  Note how it enriches not just you but the whole community.  

Is It Okay to Ask God a Question?

There is a misperception floating around that one is not able to ask God questions.  The thinking goes that true faith means that one blindly trusts God without thinking or questioning.  Almost like a robot who simply obeys without free will.

I’m here to tell you this is false.  God welcomes questions from us with open arms.  He loves them.

So have no fear to ask questions. Go for it.  Rest assured you are not alone.  Others have questions just like you.

Read through the Bible and one will find faithful man after faithful woman asking God questions and waiting for His response.

Here are just a couple of examples: 

David – Psalm 22
David is crying out to God in this psalm during a time of distress in his life.  Through the psalm he knows God is still with him and caring for him.  He doesn’t lose hope.

Habbakkuk – The whole book (Don’t worry it’s only 3 chapters long)
Habakkuk was an Old Testament prophet who sought to understanding God’s purpose in His actions towards His people.  Habakkuk may not fully understand the why but he remains resolute in giving God praise and worship.

Mary – Luke 1: 26-38
Mary is visited by an angel to learn that she is to given birth to the Promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.  She asks her question as to how it will come to be only to be reassured by the angel that it is God’s doing not her own.  Her response, faithful obedience and trust that nothing is impossible with God.

The mere act of having questions demonstrates a willingness by the believer to grow deeper in one’s relationship with God.  The person is processing what God is teaching her.  She internalizes the experience so her trust in God is strengthen by God’s doing. The questions asked are examples of faith development.

Now when I say question God I am not referring to challenging God in order to discredit Him.  I mean asking questions of clarification for the purpose of learning.  To challenge one’s presuppositions and gain a clarifying understanding of God’s love, grace and mercy.  

What areas of your walk with Jesus Christ do you have questions?

Be confident that you can bring them to God and ask away.  You will find He answers them in many and various ways: through the Bible, in conversations with fellow believers, prayer time with Him.  As God is showing you these lessons remain in community with fellow disciples so together you all can best understand what God is teaching all of you.

Remain patient.  God has His own timing in answering questions.  Some He may have you to wait to fully understand.  When He does continue to trust as the Holy Spirit leads you.  The waiting is part of the learning process.

As you go about your day feel free to ask away to God.  Then wait and see how He is answering them.  He just may surprise you.

This Week’s Challenge:

Write down 3 questions you have about faith. Go to the Bible and see how God has answers for them. You can use the search feature on Bible apps to help you find the topic in the Bible. Or try a concordance/index in your paper Bible to help you.  Note what God is teaching you in your devotional time this week. 

Cheers to a New Church Theme Song

I grew up with the show “Cheers” airing.  Sam, Woody, Carla, Norm, Cliff and Norm.  A random group of people who became friends.  They came together at the corner bar and over time became close friends.  In any other circumstances they may not even have met let alone get to know each other.  Their theme song sums it all up:

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name.”

(http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/cheerslyrics.html)

A place to go and everyone knows you.  They smile when they see you.  (“NORM!!”)  Troubles are shared with one another.  Joys celebrated together.  Through the differences people see we are all the same.  You wanna go, take a break from all your worries, and hang out with friends.

Here’s a question, doesn’t that sound like the Church?  A break from our worries.  People know us.  Troubles are shared.  Joys celebrated together.  We are hanging out with friends.  Some friends we may never have gotten to know if we didn’t meet at church.  It would be so cool to see that song in church or playing for a church’s promo video.  That would be sweet!

Community developed by spending time together, sharing experiences, challenging one another to grow.  Church isn’t just what we do on Sunday mornings.  It is who we are and who we love and serve with in the world.  Our names are known.  People are glad we came.

May we be the Church that truly lives out the words of this theme song each day in all that we do and say.

Dare: Maybe suggest to your worship director about possibly singing the “Cheers” theme song one week during the service.