Who Do You Say That I Am / Week 7


References: John 1, 1 John 1, Revelation 19

Key Thoughts:

  • Words are powerful! If you put the right words together with the right emotions, it’s powerful!
  • The Word of God=The power of God
  • God spoke life into existence!
  • God has always been like Jesus – He’s always been agape love, unconditional. God looks like Jesus!
  • God says, “I Am He” and 600 soldiers fall to the ground – there is POWER in His words! (Rev. 19) // This should make us pause and think that at this moment, there will not be another chance for those unsaved. This moment should break our hearts – this is the end when there’s no more opportunity for repentance.

Looking forward to “Cornerstone” next week as we close out this series!  


Who Do You Say That I Am? / Week 6


Hebrews 7:25:

Advocate & Intercessor: closely related, yet different

If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, He is interceding for you 24/7 before the Heavenly Father, constantly lifting up your needs and praying on your behalf. How cool is that?!

1 John 2:1-2:

“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”

John acknowledges in this passage that we will sin – “but if anyone does sin” (verse 1) – and say that when we do, we have an advocate in Jesus Christ. Our goal is to sin less, not be sinless – only Jesus is perfect and sinless, we should simply strive to be like Him.

Christianity is an ethical faith. We’re called to live by good morals and values, striving to live without sin and pursuing Jesus Christ. If Christ is in you, you become more like Him.

John 16:7-11:

Jesus also has an advocate: The Holy Spirit. Jesus has sent us on a mission, as Christians, to preach the Gospel to the world and has sent us an advocate, The Holy Spirit, to travel alongside of us to plead the case of Jesus to people. The power comes from the Holy Spirit on behalf of Jesus – we are just the vessel and messenger. So be bold! The Holy Spirit is with you! 

Heavenly Courtroom:

- Judge: God the Father (Thank goodness it’s not trial by jury in heaven!)
- Defense Attorney: Jesus, our advocate
- Prosecuting Attorney: the Devil, heaping accusations on us

Every sin has to be punished, so what do we do? God has justice and love and is our advocate, but He won’t say, “They never did anything wrong.” That’s a weak defense since we have! Instead He’ll say, “Father, I know your justice demands that every sin be punished, but you’ve punished it already. You put it on me and it’s covered. It’s on Me.”

Jesus is our advocate AND he took our punishment for our sin already. He’s already paid the price for our sin when He died on the cross. (Try telling THAT to your defense attorney!)

The Devil (Prosecutor) is trying to convince us that we don’t need a Defense Attorney (Jesus) – he wants us to rely on our good deeds minus our bad deeds. But we know that doesn’t work… every bad deed, every sin, must be accounted for and God’s justice demands punishment for our sin.

We think that God the Father (our Judge) is coming into the courtroom angry – wrong idea. God doesn’t want to punish us. God thinks, “I hope in this case they picked the right attorney. I hope they picked the great attorney that I sent them.” God the Father is so pleased when He walks into the courtroom and sees that we’ve chosen Jesus as our advocate, as our Defense Attorney. Because when we do, no matter what the Prosecutor (Devil) tries to conjure up and what sins he throws in our face, Jesus stands up and says, “I have it covered.” Then God can celebrate and claim “not guilty” and welcome you into Heaven to celebrate with Him forever.

Jesus doesn’t have to plead our case over and over – our past, present and future sins are covered by Jesus when we choose to follow Him. This doesn’t mean we don’t strive to be like Jesus and flippantly say, “He’s got me covered, I don’t need to try. I can get into the Kingdom of God because of [cheap] grace.” WRONG! When we strive to sin less and be made into the image of Jesus Christ, we pave the way for more people to experience God’s grace and have Jesus as their advocate.

Remember, Jesus’ case load is NEVER too full. Whoever calls upon His name, they will be saved – they will be covered.

Amen & Amen! Be encouraged this week that Jesus is our advocate!


“WE BELIEVE” Release


What an incredible week at the Assemblies of God General Council 2013! I heard from so many of my favorite speakers and was so proud to watch River Valley’s very own Lead Worship & Creative Arts Pastor, Ryan Williams, leading worship at the Influence Conference. What an opportunity!

Ryan was a part of Influence’s first worship album, We Believe by One: A Worship Collective, which released Tuesday, August 6 on iTunes.

We Believe brought together Ryan and two other up-and-coming worship leaders from the Assemblies of God: Clayton Brooks, Worship Pastor at The Oaks (Red Oak, TX / Scott Wilson, Senior Pastor) and Kurtis Parks, Worship Leader at National Community Church (Washington D.C. / Mark Batterson, Lead Pastor).

The album, released in partnership with Integrity Music, was recorded live at the national 7:14 Prayer Conference held at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (Waxahachie, TX) in March of this year.

You can download free acoustic versions of Come Like The Dawn, Every Good Gift and Set My Eyes On You plus watch an interview with Ryan at webelievealbum.com

Again, I can’t express how proud I am of Ryan and the team and believe the best is yet to come! Show your support by purchasing your copy on iTunes!

Who Do You Say That I Am? Week 1 – The Last Adam

There are hundreds of names for Jesus Christ. We know our Savior best by that name – Jesus. For this series, WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM, we’re going to look at eight of them (maybe nine!) throughout this series.

We are going to look at:

  • The Last Adam / The Second Adam
  • Lion of the Tribe of Judah
  • Great High Priest
  • Author & Finisher
  • Deliverer
  • Rose of Sharon
  • Word of God
  • Cornerstone

This week we looked at the name, “The Last Adam.”

Paul contrasts Adam to Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:45 (NIV):  “So it was written: The first man Adam became a living being, the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.”

And in Romans 5:12-21 (MSG) Paul gets deeper: 

“You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.

Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?

Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.”

To hear more about The Last Adam, listen to my message


The Lord is My Shepherd (week 2)

Last weekend I preached part two of our current series, The Lord is My Shepherd and we dug into verse 2 of Psalm 23:

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.”  -Psalm 23:2 (NKJV)

We must remember to take time to relax and be in nature! We live in the concrete jungle of buildings and neon lights – we  need the calming effects of the blues and greens of nature to relax and take a break.  

Some of us need to disconnect – we can’t always be on the phone, be connected to technology and social media. Take time to get away and be unattached from those things!

The Lord doesn’t push us to follow him, but He simply says to follow Him and stick with where He’s going. He’s got it all under control! We’re tempted to run ahead, to go at a faster pace, to chase other things… but we must stick with Him.

Remember, God will get us where we need to be! Don’t live in fear!

Also, this weekend is Father’s Day – be sure to honor your Fathers and spiritual Fathers! 


The Lord is My Shepherd (week 1)


I’m so excited for our new sermon series, The Lord is My Shepherd, which started last weekend. We are going through Psalm 23, verse by verse, each week. This chapter is by far one of the most recognized passages in the Bible. For this series, I will be using the King James Version (stick with me!). The language is so beautiful and no other version does this passage justice.

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

This passage talks about the good and the bad. This week, we focused on verse one, which basically says, troubles will come into your life, but God is our good, strong, brave and powerful shepherd and He’ll always take care of your needs.

We are called His sheep… and sheep are STUPID. They need to be lead and must be totally dependent on their shepherd. They fall into a hole and cannot get out. They fall down and can’t get up. They are sick all the time. They are constantly attacked. They are full of fear and they’re prone to wander.

What do we, helpless/troublesome/sick sheep, have to offer God? It doesn’t matter, He cares for us so much! Remember, the Lord is YOUR shepherd. He will lead you – never doubt it!

Join us this weekend as we focus on verse two! Have a great week!


River Valley Church – a Golf Course!

I recently received a letter in the mail (Yes, a printed letter!!) from someone who attends River Valley who compared our church to a golf course. I loved it! What a great thought. This is what it said:

If you were to compare River Valley to a golf course, it is a beautifully laid out, extremely forgiving, yet extremely challenging championship course! There is always room for beginners and it provides infinite opportunities for growth and challenges!

What an awesome analogy! I hope it inspires you and pushes you to think creatively and outside the box about church!