Hillside Community Church - Hillside Community Church http://oswesleyan.org God's Grace Changes People Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:22:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What happens when you take the “absolute” out of a society? http://oswesleyan.org/2015/03/24/what-happens-when-you-take-the-absolute-out-of-a-society/ http://oswesleyan.org/2015/03/24/what-happens-when-you-take-the-absolute-out-of-a-society/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:48:14 +0000 http://oswesleyan.org/?p=6024 If you chose to form a society which had no absolutes – what kind of society would you have? Well with absolutes to guide you what you would be left with is a society based upon relativism. Let me give you an example. Let’s say that parent “A” steals some money from parent “B” because […]

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If you chose to form a society which had no absolutes – what kind of society would you have? Well with absolutes to guide you what you would be left with is a society based upon relativism.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say that parent “A” steals some money from parent “B” because family “A” really needed the money to provide for themselves food.

And so because parent “A” was motivated by a real need, it was o.k. for him/her to steal.

Now those of you reading this would naturally say – that’s crazy it is still wrong to steal – taking what belongs to someone else without their permission is completely wrong by any standard. Ah, but in a world where there are no absolutes it is not wrong – it is just relative.

Relative to what – relative to how parent “A” sees right from wrong. And that is where we come to Matthew 5:17-20.

In his book titled, The Interaction of Law and Religion, Harold Berman, professor of law at Harvard, develops this thought more. He writes, “…when men break away from the idea of an authoritative religion and even from the concept of God, they break away from the possibility of absolute truth.”

We Need an Anchor

A society which departs from God becomes adrift on a sea of relativism without any sure point with which to anchor itself to. There is no unmovable point of reference, if you will, only an ever changing horizon of experience from which to draw upon in making decisions.

Jesus had come rocking the boat of the religious leaders of His time and in that process had come to be thought of as being against the Law or the word of the Prophets which were recorded in the Old Testament. Here in these verses He sets the story right when He says He did not come to destroy them but rather to fulfill them. As we look at the Old Testament we see images, blueprints, of what the real thing was to look like. Through the coming of Jesus to Earth we now have a living fulfillment of what those Old Testament images were pointing to. The book of Hebrews goes into this much deeper as the author of that book ties the entire Old Testament together in the reality of Jesus.

Jesus and the Word of God are to be the anchor points both of the individual and of society; once either of those depart from that absolute they risk drifting toward destruction. May we fix ourselves upon the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and His Word and may that and that alone be the yardstick with which we evaluate our lives and our actions.

God bless

Dan

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NTS Camp 2015 for Youth Group http://oswesleyan.org/2015/03/04/nts-camp-2015-for-youth-group/ http://oswesleyan.org/2015/03/04/nts-camp-2015-for-youth-group/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 04:04:22 +0000 http://oswesleyan.org/?p=6003 shine youth ministry is offering teens an awesome opportunity to attend Never the Same, better known as NTS Camp.  Our students will attend the camp in Chicago at Olivet Nazarene University on June 21 through 25, 2015. Parents: Please attend an information meeting at Hillside Community Church on Wednesday, March 25 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Viewing […]

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shine youth ministry is offering teens an awesome opportunity to attend Never the Same, better known as NTS Camp.  Our students will attend the camp in Chicago at Olivet Nazarene University on June 21 through 25, 2015.

Parents: Please attend an information meeting at Hillside Community Church on Wednesday, March 25 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Viewing the video along with the information below will give you a general idea of the benefit of NTS for our youth group members.

 What is NTS?

Some information from the NTS Facebook page:

Never The Same Camp (NTS) is an environment that creates space for students to connect to their Creator, to a network of friends from their local church, and to a caring adult small group leader from their youth ministry. NTS is a strategic partnership with the local church to see change happen on 3 different levels.

  1. Individual Student: We believe that it can be a pivotal point in the life of each student. They will leave not only with a new understanding of God’s unique design for their lives, but with an invitation to impact the world around them.
  2. Local Youth Ministry: The week at NTS is strategically designed around the small group environment. This makes NTS a powerful tool for the youth ministry because of the shared life experience between the student and adult leader. This relationship will allow follow up and accountability for the commitments that students make at NTS camp.
  3. Local Church Community: Many times the missing link between what makes churches good and great is the amount of connection that exists between different generations. What would it look like to see students energized about their faith integrating with the rest of the church community?

NTS seeks to integrate the excitement the students are experiencing after camp with the mission of their local church.

NTS CAMP / SUMMER 2015 from NTS Camp on Vimeo.

You can learn more at the NTS website.

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The Wall of Jericho: Not the safest place to be – or was it? http://oswesleyan.org/2015/02/12/wall-jericho-not-safest-place/ http://oswesleyan.org/2015/02/12/wall-jericho-not-safest-place/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:44:46 +0000 http://oswesleyan.org/?p=5972 … God can protect His people even in the midst of total collapse around them. If you lived in the city of Jericho at the time that the Israelites attacked, being on the wall was the most dangerous place to be, and yet, at the same time it was also the safest place to be. […]

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… God can protect His people even in the midst of total collapse around them.

If you lived in the city of Jericho at the time that the Israelites attacked, being on the wall was the most dangerous place to be, and yet, at the same time it was also the safest place to be.

If that is true then what is the difference maker?  Let’s look at this account and see.

In the book of Joshua chapter two we see a pair of spies scouting out the land and the city prior to the whole army’s crossing of the Jordan River.  During that time the city leaders caught wind of their presence and ordered a city wide search to locate them.  The two spies took refuge in a prostitute’s house which was located on the wall.  Word had spread concerning all that the God of Israel had done to other nations and she immediately agrees to help these men in exchange for an assurance of safety for her and her family.

The spies agree and she lowers them out of her window later that night and they return safely to their army on the far side of the river.

In chapter six we have the account of the battle of Jericho.  The army marches around the city six days in a row in total silence.  Then on the seventh day they marched around it seven times and at the completion of the seventh time the whole army shouted, the walls fell and the city was conquered.

All the while, Rahab and her family remained in their home which was located on the wall – the same wall that was falling down all around them!

This is both encouraging and challenging to me at the same time.  I am encouraged because it shows me that God can protect His people even in the midst of total collapse around them.  This scene is recorded to reassure us of the fact that when God is involved even the bleakest of circumstances can’t affect His protection.  Does that always mean that we as believers wont encounter difficult times or sickness and pain, of course not.  But it does tell me that He is in complete control of those circumstances and events and that nothing gets to us without first going through Him.

The challenge I see, is the importance of being and remaining in the will of the Father.  Had Rahab tried to take matters into her own hand or had she not obeyed and remained in her home when the city was attacked, she and her family would have risked death at the hands of an Israelite soldier.

How important for us to see that lesson today. You can be right in the middle of a collapsing situation yet if that is where God has called you to be, you will always be safe.  Why, because you are remaining right in the middle of Gods will for you and your life.

So what is God’s will for you today, and will you remain in it or will you seek to live according to your own plan, your own will, you own agenda?

May God guide your every step today and this week as you seek to follow close to Him and stay right in the middle of His will for your life.

God bless

Dan

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Step Out of the Boat Into Deeper Waters http://oswesleyan.org/2015/02/07/step-boat-deeper-waters/ http://oswesleyan.org/2015/02/07/step-boat-deeper-waters/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 20:10:36 +0000 http://oswesleyan.org/?p=5966 Whether life gets challenging, you want to take on a new challenge or you want a deeper relationship with Christ but keep drifting away, Jesus tells us you can step out of the boat and move to deeper waters. Stay focused and He will guide you. Read on to discover how and why you should not […]

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Whether life gets challenging, you want to take on a new challenge or you want a deeper relationship with Christ but keep drifting away, Jesus tells us you can step out of the boat and move to deeper waters. Stay focused and He will guide you. Read on to discover how and why you should not doubt.

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.  25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.   27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”   29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”   31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.   33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

Within these verses there are three particular statements that ring out to me today. The first is found in verse 27, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”   I love those words. So often when we get caught in the storms of life we struggle with seeing anything but the wind and the waves. At times the storms can be so over whelming that it is all we can do to just stay in the boat. And then Jesus comes piercing through the waves and the rain with these words of complete reassurance. “It is I” – I’m here, look at me, keep your eyes on me, “do not be afraid.”

The next statement is a couple verses later in verse 29 when Jesus simply says, “Come.” That’s a great word to hear on multiple levels. It is a great word to hear when we first encounter Jesus because He will never turn us away no matter what our past or present. We don’t have to clean ourselves up to go to Jesus. We can come to Him right now no matter what we’ve done and no matter how messed up we are.

On another level there are times when we really want to step out in some area or another for Jesus and yet fear often grips us and keeps us safe inside the boat. And it is in those times that we hear Jesus’ gentle yet encouraging words: “Come.” “Come on in Peter the water is great.” What step of faith has God been prompting you to take? I pray that you hear Jesus’ reassuring voice calling out to you to simply “Come.” “Step out of the boat, keep your eyes on me and let’s walk this thing together.”

The third statement is found in verse 30 when Peter cries out “Lord, save me!” Again this statement comes into play on multiple levels. It first comes into play when we encounter the fact that we need Jesus as Savior. When we discover that we can’t…

And then there are those times when we do step out of the boat and venture into deeper waters with Jesus. Everything is going great. Then for one reason or another we shift (our gaze) our eyes, unto something other than Jesus. Or we take hold of the reigns and begin to drive in a way other than He is leading. Suddenly we start to sink. What better way is there to handle times like those than to simply cry out to Jesus: “Lord, save me!”

Notice the remainder of the story. Verse 31 says “and immediately” that is how fast Jesus will answer that cry when it is uttered with a pure heart in desperate need.

Oh beloved of God don’t ever fear to step out of the boat and move to deeper waters with Jesus. He will be there to guide you forward.   All you need is to keep your eyes focused like a laser upon Him as you put one foot in front of the other.

God bless,
Dan

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Temple Veil to Play at Hillside Community Church in March, 2015 http://oswesleyan.org/2015/02/05/temple-veil-play-hillside-community-church-march-2015/ http://oswesleyan.org/2015/02/05/temple-veil-play-hillside-community-church-march-2015/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 02:07:13 +0000 http://oswesleyan.org/?p=5904 Temple Veil is coming to HCC! Attend Hillside Cafe on Saturday, March 7 or at the Sunday, March 8 service at Hillside Community Church, when the band, Temple Veil, will be playing worship music. This unique band fuses musical backgrounds in classical, rock, pop, and jazz into an entirely new sound in contemporary worship music. […]

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Temple Veil is coming to HCC! Attend Hillside Cafe on Saturday, March 7 or at the Sunday, March 8 service at Hillside Community Church, when the band, Temple Veil, will be playing worship music. This unique band fuses musical backgrounds in classical, rock, pop, and jazz into an entirely new sound in contemporary worship music. Click on the video below for a sample of the music.


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What God Says About Our Past and Our Future http://oswesleyan.org/2015/01/01/what-god-says-about-our-past-and-our-future/ http://oswesleyan.org/2015/01/01/what-god-says-about-our-past-and-our-future/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 23:21:46 +0000 http://oswesleyan.org/?p=5988 God tells us not to let our past hold us back from our future. Matthew 10:19-20   New King James Version (NKJV) 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it […]

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God tells us not to let our past hold us back from our future.

Matthew 10:19-20   New King James Version (NKJV)

19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Jesus is sending out his disciples into a very hostile world and because of that He instructs them with these words.  What an encouragement that is for you and I today.  As He sends us out this tells me that in the midst of those pre-ordained appointments that God will set before us today and this week, we will find the Holy Spirit ready with the exact words that we will need.  The Holy Spirit will be there with words of comfort and encouragement, words of truth and hope, words that are perfect for the situation in order to accomplish God’s will in that encounter.

So as you move into this week and God sets an appointment in front of you, be bold to seize it.   You can know that God has orchestrated it and already has the words ready which you will need to accomplish His purpose in it.

Opportunity

Paul writes in Philippians 3:13-14;

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul here tells us to forget what was behind, but is that really possible?  Scientists tell us that we really never forget anything, that all our experiences are stored someplace within our brains.  That is an amazing thing to consider and something that causes us to praise God for – we truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

That being said, how is it that we not let our past hold us back from our future.  I believe as we move into 2015 that God has great opportunities planned for each of us.  The problem with us seeing those opportunities in front of us is that many people are too busy looking backward.  What Paul may be saying here is that we mustn’t let our past deter us from our future.  Our past can either be an anchor which holds us back or a rudder which helps guide us forward.

Our past when put into proper perspective in light of what God is doing in our lives today can be a great strength to us.  The question is are we looking forward or backward.  My prayer is that as we move into this new year we would be fixing our eyes like laser beams upon Jesus Christ and all that He has for us.  I pray that none of us miss the myriad of opportunities that God will put before us this year but rather that we will seize upon each one of them to bring Christ into the middle.

May this be a year where you grow closer to God than you have ever been and that you see life, others and opportunities through His eyes.

God bless

Dan

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