August 28th, 2016 - Genesis 21:1-7 - Responding in Times of Blessing
In many cases, people cling to God during times of trial. We are desperate in those moments and God provides the hope and security that we need when everything is spinning out of control. But what about when God blesses us? How do we act in those moments? Pastor John reminded us of the story of Abram (now Abraham) and Sarai (now Sarah) and how their entire lives they had been waiting for God to fulfill His promise to them and give them a child. In Genesis 21, we see that this promise has finally come to pass showing that God was and is trustworthy. At the age of 100 years old, with Sarah being 90 years old, God worked a miracle and gave them a son. In the response of Abraham and Sarah is a very important example for us. Pastor John looked at both Abraham's actions and Sarah's words and made the point that in their time of blessing they did not forget who had got them there.
He began by looking at Abraham's response. Abraham could have gotten so excited to show off his son, that he could have completely forgot about what God had commanded him to do. He could have in a self-reliant spirit, turned from God and choose to believe that it really wasn't God who made this happen but something he did or some coincidence or luck. However, even when he didn't have to, even though, he already had what he wanted, Abraham still chose to obey God. His obediance showed his acknowledgement of God's work in his life.
Pastor John then looked at Sarah and explained that she could have bubbled over in joy and pride and been consumed by showing off her son as being the product of two genetically-amazing, veggie eating human beings and completely ignored God, but she didn't. Instead she joyfully praised God publically to everyone in such a way that she laughed and shared her laughter with all of those around her. Her public, joy filled testimonies showed her acknowledgement of God's work in her life.
Pastor John asked us to consider our actions when things are going good. Do we forget about God in those moments? Does our obedience suffer when life is great? Pastor John encouraged us to understand what our obedience and testimonies declares to the world around us.
Obedience: 1. Obedience shows our love for God, 2. Obedience shows that we are loyal to Him, 3. Obedience is a testimony to the world, 4. Obedience leads to more blessing.
Testimonies: 1. Testimonies ncourage people (bring them courage), 2. Testimonies bring joy, 3. Testimonies invite people into your community (vulnerability), 4. Testimonies point people to God's grace.
Pastor John summed it all up with his big idea, In times of blessing don't forget who got you there.
August 21st, 2016 - Genesis 15:1-9 - God's Promises to Abram
We have all had someone promise us something. In most cases these promises are exciting and make us dream of what life will be like. However, on this earth, people don't always keep their promises. Sometimes they forget. Sometimes the blantantly break them. This causes us to look at promises that are made as not being 100%. Sometimes our distrust, anxiety and frustration cause us to look at promises--even the ones that haven't yet been broken, but it's just been a while, with skeptism. We lose sight of them or discard them under the covering of a cloud of negative experiences and emotion. Furthermore, what can happen for believers is that we can look at God through the lens of this cloud and view His promises as being no different than the ones that other humans make towards us. This is what was happening to Abram after several years of waiting for God's promise to come true.
We walked through the fifteenth chapter of Genesis and asked the question, What do we do when we doubt God's promises? After explaining the context and God's initial statement of being in control and being all the reward that Abram needed, Pastor John showed us that Abram was honest with God. Additionally, he explained the way in which Abram was honest with God; 1. He was respectful, 2. He was real, 3. He reminded God of His promises. Pastor John encouraged us to be honest with God in our doubts and to remind God of what He's promised through scripture. Next, he pointed out that God responds calmly. Too often we are afraid of going to God in a real way, fearing that He will treat us with anger. Pastor John showed us how God responded calmly by; 1. Reminding him of the truth (Abram will have a son), 2. Re-Envisioning Abram. God takes Abram out from under his tent and out from under all of his worry and shows him the stars. He is reminding Abram of who He is by inviting him to count all the stars that He made. And He is symbolically taking Abram out from under his own cloud of negative experience and emotion. Pastor John explained that in life we need God to take us out from under our own clouds sometimes, because the truth is that we can escape it on our own. He concluded by explaining that Abram believed God and that because of that God called him righteous (meaning that he was now right with God). Pastor John equalled it to someone being impressed by another's statement of loyalty and saying, "My man!" or "That's my girl right there!" It was Abram's belief, not his works that made him right again with God--that made him God's man. Pastor John invited us to ask God to take us out from under our fears and to show us the stars. He invited us to invite God to resurrect our dreams of what life might actually be like if God's promises did come true; a life filled with peace, hope, joy, a trust that God will supply our every need. His big idea was, God always keeps His promise to you.
August 14, 2016, Genesis 12:1-9, God Calls Abram and His Family
What does God want with us? That's the question Pastor Pierce asked in his sermon on Genesis 12:1-9. In West End Community Church's current sermon series we have been looking to Genesis, the Book of Beginnings, to answer our questions about who God is and how he designed our world, and Pastor Pierce continued that conversation by turning to the story of God's call to Abram. God gave this ordinary man an extraordinary call.
Genesis 12:1-9 tells the story of God instructing Abram to leave his extended family, his tribe, and his land to go to the land of Canaan. God promises to bless Abram, protect him, and give him wealth and numerous offspring. Abram obeyed, and he left his homeland to set out for Canaan.
Abram resided in the city of Ur when God called him. Recent archaeology has confirmed that Ur was a wealthy city, full of opportunity for advancement and prosperity. Abram not only had to leave the familiarity of his family and land, but he also had to leave his chances for riches and fame. He had to trust that God's call for him was greater than his desires for himself.
Pastor Pierce compared Abram leaving Ur to people today leaving their selfish ambitions to follow Christ. We must leave behind things like greed, jealousy, and impurity in order to pursue grace, mercy, and righteousness. Just like Abram left Ur for Canaan, we must leave behind the things that displease God in order to follow after Christ with our whole hearts.
God may also call us to leave behind things that are important to us, like family and friends, jobs, or homes, in order to follow a higher calling from God. Such a call can take a number of forms: career ministry, service to the poor, greater devotion to practices of faith, etc. We must be willing to place more value on God's call than anything else we hold dear in this world, just like Abram esteemed God's call more highly than he did his land and clan.
Pastor Pierce also pointed out that God's extraordinary call for Abram came with extraordinary promises. God called Abram out of his country and his people, but he promised to make him into a great nation. God called Abram away from the prosperity of Ur, but he promised to bless him and make his name great. God called Abram away from the familiarity of his land and family, but he promised to bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him, making sure that he's not left unprotected in the new land he's about to enter. God called Abram to leave his people, but he promised to bless all the peoples on earth through him.
God's call for us to follow him comes with promises, too. The Bible is full of the promises that God gives to those who have faith in Jesus. God promises us forgiveness (1 John 1:9), eternal life (1 John 2:25), that he will meet our needs (Philippians 4:19), give us peace (Psalm 119:165), help to overcome temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), end our suffering (Revelation 21:4), and countless other incredible gifts. In order to take advantage of these gifts we must follow God's call to put our faith in Jesus.
Pastor Pierce closed by explaining that when we put our faith in Jesus, we become spiritual children of Abram (Galatians 3:16-19). This means that both the call and the promises Abram received from God apply to all Christians. God calls us to leave behind the labels we receive from our family, country, and status in life, and to make those things second to our identity as children of God. No matter who you are, you can be a part of God's family if you put your trust in Jesus.
Just like God gave Abram an extraordinary call, he gives us the extraordinary call to join his family. To return to the question that opened the sermon, What does God want with us? He wants us to join his family. Ever since the time of Genesis God has been calling out a group of people who will dedicate their lives to worshipping and serving him. He is still calling out people to become his children today. If you are not yet a part of God's family, God is calling you to follow his call right now. His big idea was, Abram's call is for you.
August 7th, 2016 - Genesis 11:1-9 - Disobedient Babel
The common understanding of the Tower of Babel narrative is that it's about the pride of humanity. It is. But it is more so about our disobedience stemming from our pride. Pastor John walked through the story of the descendents of Noah and explained that God gave them all a command which was too recent for them to forget, "As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” (Genesis 9:7) This was a call to spread out throughout the world so that the image of God would be global. Instead, the people decided to move to one location and start to build a city for themsleves. It is in the building of the city that we see even more clearly the condition of their hearts. Not only did they disregard God's command--maybe for some legitimate reasons; family, pooled resources, friends, etc..., but they also sought to make much of themselves instead of working to glorify God. Corporately they sinned and came together and said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."
There were a few things wrong with their purpose statement and the first is pride. They wanted to show the world that nothing was impossible for them. They wanted people to applaud them and remember their names. They wanted to be famous for generations to come. Pastor John explained that sometimes we do the same thing and make decisions in our lives based on what will advance us or our careers or make us more successful. We allow pride to keep us from following God's plan for us. Sometimes there are things in life that happen and instead of praising God for them, we pass them off like its really us who did it. That's pride too.
The second thing that is wrong with their purpose statement is that it shows their blatant disobedience. They knew that God had intention of scattering and they were specifically choosing to stay together. It also demonstrates within their disobedience an attempt to take the reigns from God. If we do this, then God can't do this. If we build a city, then we won't be scattered. In their evil desires, they were making a power play against God.
As in all of the stories, God is not distant. He comes down, in a clear demonstration of the Trinity and decides that these people have done alot together in their disobedience, and if they can do all of this when headed in the wrong direction--there will be no stopping them to how far they turn from God. So God confuses their language and they can't work together and then decide to scatter.
Pastor John concluded by asking, What is the right direction? If we want to avoid the folly of Babel, what is it that we should do. He explained that "the chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Therefore, the right direction is living for God's fame, not our own. It is also understanding that, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." (John Piper) If we find our joy and hope and pleasure in God. If we enjoy Him then we are glorifying Him. God didn't just design us to be robots living for Him without the blessing of relationship to Him. God wants us to be satisfied and have a life of joy--but that only happens when we live for Him. Pastor John's big idea was, God desires for you to enjoy Him and to make Him famous.
July 25th, 2016 - Genesis 6 - Noah and the Flood
The stories in Genesis show that with consistency, humanity turned away from God. In chapter 6 we see that the people were "corrupt" and that earth was "filled with violence." The text goes so far as to say that everyone had made a ruin of their lives...everyone except for Noah, who "found favor" in God's eyes. Pastor John explained that Noah walked faithfully with God, indicating that he trusted God and followed God's direction, listening to God when He spoke. He also noted his reputation on earth, saying Noah was blameless among the people. This doesn't mean that he was perfect, but it meant that people had respect for him. It meant that he was trusted amongst his community and that when people would be quick to accuse, they would never point the finger at Noah. Lastly, Pastor John explained that Noah was righteous. This label was as a result of what God said about him. Noah wasn't righteous because of his works. He was called righteous, which means "in right standing with God," because he believed in God and what He said. The evidence of his belief is found in the fact that "Noah did everything just as God commanded him." There wasn't one thing that Noah thought, "I know better." He trusted God, because Noah had a genuine faith in God. As a result of his belief, during the judgement that came with the flood, "God remembered Noah." Which is to say that God saved Noah. Pastor John explained that the same is true for us. When God prompts our hearts to come alive and gives us the gift of faith...it is that genuine faith that make us righteous. It is that right standing that will rescue us on the day of judgement. Just like Noah, while the world is being destroyed, God will remember us, because we are His. His big idea was, God saves us when we have a genuine faith in Him.
July 17th, 2016 - Genesis 4:1-10 - The First Children
As the story of humanity continues to unfold, we see the arrival of the first children, Cain and Abel. These two brothers had different jobs. One was a farmer (Cain) and one was a shepherd (Abel). The story begins with both of them presenting God with offerings from their livelihood. Abel's offering was accepted by God and yet Cain's was not. There are some who look at the offerings and say that Abel just offered what was better, while Cain offered what was leftover. This is not in the text and in fact, both brothers brought what was appropriate to the jobs, fat portions from the livestock from a shepherd, fruits from the soil from a farmer. Therefore, Pastor John indicated that we should understand, Cain and Abel's offerings were both fine.
If we look at God's response to Cain's anger, we should also understand that God was rejecting something deeper. Pastor John indicated that it was Cain's heart that was the problem. He noted that humanity has a long history of honoring God with our actions, our lips, but failing in the most pivotal place--our heart. We were then asked to consider our heart towards God when we bring Him offerings of praise or tithing, etc...
As the rejection hurts Abel's brother more and more, we see that Cain's wounded pride turned to anger. Pastor John asked if we ever recognize that progression within us? It's completely normal to feel hurt when critized or rejected. However, Cain's reaction stemmed from his feelings of entitlement towards God. He didn't stop and ask, Why did God reject my offering? Even after God explained it to him. Cain still felt wounded--indicating the presence of pride. Pride quickly turned to anger. Pastor John asked us if we see that happen in our lives? Do we feel angry and hurt everytime someone criticizes us?
Even though, he's in a state of fury, God tries to help Cain in his anger. He uses reason and tells Cain to look at the facts--he didn't do what was right. God then tries to warn Cain of the consequences of his anger. But finally, Sin in Cain's heart affects his life. His anger turned to murder and to defiance and destroyed him. Pastor John then warned that our sin has the ability to do the same. He pleaded with us to repent and release our sin to God, because otherwise it will become like footholds (on rockclimbing wall) on our heart for devil to climb all over and conquer us.
Pastor John concluded by reminding us that Cain's actions were hollow and that God wanted his heart to be fully given over to Him. God wanted Cain's heart to be full of worship, gratitude and love towards Him. Again, Pastor John asked us to evaluate our own hearts and their position towards our Creator. His big idea was God wants your heart not your empty acts of praise.
July 10th, 2016 - Genesis 3 - The Fall
In chapter three of Genesis we see the first evidence of sin. The story begins with the introduction to the serpent and we should recognize him as being Satan (the devil). The storyline is simple, God told the man and the woman that they could have access to anything they wanted, except the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The man and the woman were tempted by the Serpent and disobeyed God. Throughout the story the serpent tempts the woman and attacks one basic belief, asking over and over, Can God be trusted?
Pastor John noted three main points within this story. He began by explaining that Satan attacks you with lies. He mentioned the questions that the devil asked the woman and the directness of some of his statements to her (i.e. 'you will not certainly die'). Pastor John noted that Satan attacks with manipulating questions and with shouting statements. Secondly, he explained that Our sin is selfish. The reason for the woman's disobedience of God's command is that she wanted what she wanted, and combined with her newly found distrust in God, she chose herself over God. Pastor John explained that in every instance, when we sin we do the same, we choose ourselves. Lastly, he showed us in the text that, God will confront us. The way that we see it in the story of the fall is that 1. The truth will come out, 2. There will be consequences, and 3. God's love will go with us. Pastor John emphasized that God knows everything and that we can't hide our sin from Him. He explained that there is always spiritual forgiveness, but there is also earthly consequences for our actions. And yet, if you are in Christ, even in our sin, Pastor John passionately explained that God's love always goes with us. He showed how God made garments for the man and the woman and noted that what it meant was that He was making a new covenant with them--a new promise to be with them and to love them.
That is a God that deserves our trust. One that doesn't abandon us, even when we fall--but loves us and offers us redemption! Pastor John asked what would life have been like for the man and the woman if they trusted God? What would it be like for us, if we trusted God enough to obey Him? What would we have avoided? What joy and peace would we experience? His big idea was, God designed us to trust and obey.
July 3rd, 2016 - Genesis 2:18-25 - God's Design for Marriage
As we continued to look at Genesis, Pastor John took us through the very first marriage in human history. He started off by asking the question, What is marriage meant for? The scripture mentions that it was not good for man to be alone, and certainly that is true. His first point was We were made for relationship. Furthermore, the man needed someone to help him and he needed someone that would be suitable to come alongside him. Pastor John emphasized just how important it is for all of us to have companionship and help. We all need help and can't do it all on our own. The second point was Women were made to be a helper. And so God made woman out of the man and made her so that she would be a blessing to the man and to the call that God had for them. He explained that even though they were different in function the man and the woman are equal in value. His third point was Women are equally valuable to God. Pastor John emphasized that a married couple must leave their parents and cleave to one another, indicating that this doesn't mean leave them completely and their wisdom, but rather it means that a man and woman must be fully united and not being pulled in different directions by the demands of their families. He explained that we see that God presented the woman to man--just like a father presents his daughter to her new husband. This act is one of trust. It shows that father is now depending on the man to take care of his daughter. Pastor John's fourth point was Men are responsible for women.
Pastor John then asked the question, What is the real purpose of a marriage? Is it simply companionship for one human to another? The truth is that wrapped up in the marriage between a man and a woman is tremendous symbolism. The apostle Paul wrote about it is his letter to the Ephesian church, explaining that every marriage should point towards the relationship between Christ and the Church. Pastor John explained that when we mirror that relationship in our marriages that we bring glory to God and show the world His goodness. And for those who are not married or are widows and have no intention of being married, he explained that this message is still applicable. Everyone who is a believer is part of the Church and is therefore married to Jesus Christ, spiritually. Therefore, whether spiritually married or physically married, we should press into our union with everything that we have in the way that God designed to bring God glory. His big idea was, God designed marriage to show the world His glory and His goodness.
June 19th, 2016 - Genesis 2:4-15 - God's Design for Work
This Sunday we continued our series on Genesis, the Book of Beginnings. Pastor Pierce preached on Genesis 2:4-15, focusing on the work and care of Creation. Pastor Pierce began by telling a story about a time when he worked in a doctor's office. He was not very good at caring for patients and the work was often stressful, but he learned to appreciate his job when he realized that he was caring for God's creation by caring for the patients. The patients were people created by God in His image, and by caring for their needs Pastor Pierce was doing the work of caring for God's Creation. Pastor Pierce began to see his work as worship.
Then we dove into Genesis 2:4-15, reading of how God hand-crafted Adam from the dust of the ground, breathed the breath of life into him, made him come to life by putting a spirit in him, and planted a garden to sustain him. Pastor Pierce taught that God created Adam with the purpose of caring for the garden, which shows us something about the character of God: When God creates, He creates with a purpose. Since God created each one of us, that means that He created us with a purpose, too. God created each of us with a specific plan and purpose, and he has a plan and purpose for humanity as a whole, part of which is to care for Creation.
Next we noticed that God didn't just create the physical world and Adam's physical body, but he created the spirit that gave Adam life. When God breathed the breath of life into Adam's nostrils, he took a lifeless body and gave it spiritual life. From this Pastor Pierce concluded that God created the spirits that give each one of us life. That means that our spirits are part of Creation, and the work of caring for Creation involves caring for people spiritually.
We also saw that God didn't leave Adam on his own to figure out how to fulfill his purpose, but He planted a garden for him and caused rivers to flow through the land that he was to cultivate. God provided everything that Adam needed to fulfill his purpose of caring for the garden. From this, Pastor Pierce noted something else about God's character: God provides what we need to fulfill his purpose for us. God does not leave us to figure things out on our own, but He makes sure that we have the skills and resources we need to fulfill the purposes for which he created us, one of which is caring for Creation.
Finally, we saw that God gave Adam the work of caring for the Garden of Eden. God put Adam in the garden to work it and care for it. In essence, Adam's work was to care for God's creation. From this Pastor Pierce concluded that God intended work to consist of caring for Creation. For Adam work was tending a garden. For us work can be caring for other people in careers like medicine or education. It can mean caring for society in careers like food-production or banking. It can be caring for physical things in jobs like building or painting houses. Since people, society, and physical objects are all created by God, all of these jobs are essentially caring for Creation, and each of these types of work can be seen as worship to God. Those who are unable to work for pay can also care for Creation in their everyday lives through things like showing love to others.
Pastor Pierce wrapped up by teaching that one of the most important ways we can care for Creation is to care for people spiritually. First and foremost, caring for people spiritually means introducing people to Jesus Christ. Jesus provides a level of care greater than any of us can provide: He can save our spirits from sin and death. Thus, introducing people to Him is the most important spiritual care we can give to people. The second way we can care for people spiritually is through discipleship. We can lead by example, showing other people how to live in a way that pleases God. Finally, we can care for people spiritually through fellowship. Living life together, encouraging and comforting each other, is another important way we can care for each other spiritually.
Pastor Pierce sent us home with two big ideas: (1) God intended work to consist of caring for Creation, and (2) God created work, and work is good.
June 12th, 2016 - Genesis 2:1-3, God's Design for Rest
We continued our series in Genesis this week by looking at the beginning of chapter two. Pastor John began his message by asking us to think about moments in our lives when we have felt truly rested. Maybe its that morning when you wake up and the light is coming through the window, the birds are singing. Maybe its that moment when you're in the backyard and sitting in a lawnchair, drinking something cold and spending time with friends. Pastor John explained that we love those moments, because they refresh us. He then asked the question, What if I told you that there was something that gave you an even greater feeling of rest? He continued to say that resting in Christ is the ultimate state of rest and refreshment. In fact it is also how we were designed--to rest in God.
Pastor John explained that rest in Christ is found in understanding what Jesus had done and the peace that He had secured for us. He also noted that it is found in His presence that can be experienced and that is waiting for us.
Pastor John then led us through Genesis 2:1-3 and looked at WHAT God said about rest. He explained that first God set up a weekly day of rest, indicating that after six days of work, He stopped and rested. Pastor John encouraged us not to get caught up in what day we ought to call the official Sabbath day, but instead to hold onto the concept that once every seven days, we ought to rest as God did. Secondly, Pastor John noted that God completed His work and stopped, emphasizing that He both completed it and that He stopped it. He stated that God is not calling us to be irresponsible, but instead to transition our work to a place where we can stop and yet still in the long term be about completion just as He is with us. Thirdly, Pastor John explained that God blessed the Sabbath and made it holy. This way of defining the day of rest as being both blessed and holy should make us look at it with an understanding that it has been set apart and is special. Echoing what he had previous said, Pastor John explained that it not just a day of rest for rest-sake, but it is set apart to be a day of Sabbath in Christ.
Pastor John then moved onto answering the question WHY? Why should we obey the Sabbath in a totally different world, that is more complex and busier than it used to be? He gave us four reasons;
1. It is an act of following God
Are you able to follow God's example instead of trusting in the world's example of how to live life?
2. It is an act of honoring God
Are you able to respect what God has called holy?
3. It is an act of trusting God
Can you release control and trust that on that day God will take care of what needs to be handled?
4. It is an act of submitting to God
Is Christ truly your King? Or do you know better?
Pastor John asked us if we were feeling exhausted? He asked us if we were feeling caught in a rhythm of shame and disappointment, because somehow we felt as though our lives had not accomplished much? In that place of struggle, he invited us to then ask ourselves if we have been resting in God once a week? The promise of His presence is waiting for us--to give us rest.
Pastor John then asked us to consider what would happen if we all were a people who were surrendered to resting weekly in Christ? What would that say? What would that show people about our faith and trust in God?
His big idea was God designed you to rest in Him.
June 5th, 2016 - Genesis 1, "What God Creates is Good"
This week we began a new sermon series in the book of Genesis. Pastor John began by explaining that it is very important to realize that sometimes we look at different parts of the Bible and our lives in general and we don't recognize that they all belong to a larger story--a story that began a long time ago when God first created everything. If we remove ourselves from this narrative then we miss out the understanding God, ourselves and our purpose.
Pastor John went on to compare our lives to a vinyl record, saying that all of us have seen our lives, at different points, get warped. Or in some ways all of us at different times have had a piece of dust or a scratch get in the way of the needle staying in its groove. These things have made it so that at different points or on different specific tracks, our lifesong has become something that groans instead of sings. In those times, being disconnected from God can make it very difficult to think that we could ever be made new, or that our songs could ever be beautiful.
Pastor John offered one solution. Take a minute to look back and discover what God says about Himself, about you and about your purpose. He then transitioned to the first chapter of Genesis, explaining that this passage gives details on all three.
After reading all of chapter one, Pastor John began by looking at what the passage states About God. He noted that God is an Amazing Creator. He referenced the fact that verses 1-2 states the earth (the ball of clay that God created) was formless and empty, and yet out of that God shaped the mountains, the lakes, the sun, the stars and the moon. He gave different examples of experiences that he's had with the majesty and wonder of each. Pastor John also pointed out that in verses 3-4, we see that God created time through establishing day and night. The benefit is that the life that He created was now sustainable. Nothing lives without the light of day and without the rest of the evening. Our God is an awesome creator because He didn't just make beautiful things, He sustained them.
Pastor John continued by looking at what chapter one says About Us. He referenced verses 26-27, how God said "Let us make man in our own image...in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them." He noted two things about this statement; 1. Everyone human has a core element of dignity and is deserving of respect and value, and 2. Everyone human has a core element of equality and is deserving of being treated as equal in value, even if their God-ordained functions are different. Pastor John explained that when we strip away these aspects to being made in the image of God, racism, sexism, gender assaults and other forms of systemic sin abound. He also noted that restoring a view of dignity and equality can also be as simple as how we reinforce these views in small things--giving the example of treating your garbage man with the value that comes from God. We can not allow what we do, what we've done or what anyone else does or has done to assign value to us. We are valuable and important because God made us that way. Pastor John clarified that while we are all made with the potential to do good, we are also prone to wander and sin due to our nature, which makes it so that we desperately need a Savior.
Lastly, we looked at what Genesis 1 says About Our Purpose. Pastor John listed the three parts to God's blessing--associating them with our purpose; 1. Thrive (be fruitful), 2. Multiply, 3. Care. He explained that God gives us the mission of thriving or flourishing. This call is one that doesn't look like a worldly successful life, but one of being in a relationship with Jesus Christ and being full satisfied in Him. Secondly, Pastor John noted that we are called to multiply. It is a physical call to expand the glory of God through childbearing, but it should also be applied to how we ought to take what we know, what we've experienced in God and pass it on. By discipling others in this way, we are multiplying the glory of God throughout the existing humanity. Thirdly, Pastor John told us that we are called to care for where we exist--the section of earth that we call home. He said that means that we have a responsibility to our community and our city, to care for it's growth instead of being apathetic to its needs.
Pastor John urged people to take an evaluation of their lives and if they feel as though there are sin patterns or a warped song that is being sung, to repent. Admit your area of wrong and turn away from it and to instead embrace what God says about Himself, about us and about our purpose. To not lie in condemnation but to rise up and recognize that what God creates is good. His earthly creation is good. His human creation (you) is good. His plans are good. Pastor John's big idea was, What God Creates is Good.