John 13:1, “1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
This means the cross is coming, and Jesus is wanting to take these last few moments to press into His closest friends about the most important things.
It is as if He is saying, “You have heard Me teach, you have seen miraculous healings, you have seen crowds gathered, but Jesus wants to make sure they are focused on the most important things. Look at verse 2:
John 13:2, “2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,”
Ecclesiastes:10:10, “If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.”
We all see areas where we need to grow, or areas where we are deficient, but we don’t know how to improve those areas. A “Yearly Planning Retreat” is to help you with the, “How?”
In John 5, Jesus explains that He knew exactly what He came to do and He was working toward that end. We all know it is important to work, but we end up working IN our life instead of ON our life. We end up spending our week working really hard on mowing the yard, making dinner, cleaning clothes, but we don’t take time to work on our life where we reflect, pray, and plan.
This retreat is going to be vital to help us thrive in this new life we have been given in Jesus. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength.” Therefore, we want to use this time to “sharpen our edges” so that we can enjoy the full life we have been freely given in Jesus.
My hope and prayer is that the power of God would resonate in our hearts so that we all might have a vision for our life that brings great joy to our soul and greater glory to our Savior!
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Right now our church family is teaching through a series to help us experience the greatest life Jesus has to offer. Here are few empty lies robbing us of rest, joy, hope, and peace that is freely given in Jesus:
Spiritual Pride: Genesis teaches us we are created with purpose, meaning, and value that comes directly from God, but when we put ourselves in that position it is going to rob us of all that Jesus has to offer. We will find ourselves saying things like, “How come those good things aren’t happening in my life? How come bad things keep happening in my life? Or, who cares what happens in the lives of other people?”
The reason we will land in this place is because we have placed ourselves at the center, and all the weight of life is resting on our shoulders.
Our heritage at North Village Church is connected to a vision to saturate Greater Austin with local churches that exist to see every man, woman, and child have an opportunity to experience the life transforming power through faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
Our hope is that in our life time we will see the spiritual landscape of Greater Austin transformed by the gospel so that more of our gifts and talents are being directed toward His glory.
But, many will ask, “Why start so many churches in one area?” It is because many times new churches are simply taking people from other churches. It doesn’t really expand the kingdom, but more so shuffles the chairs. Therefore, these new churches are deeply dependent on God’s power to ignite new life in the people of greater Austin, and by God’s grace we will see new churches coming out of those communities.
On Sunday morning we watch our musicians stand up here, play songs, and they make it look so easy. Sometimes I watch them play and I get so jealous. I wish I could just walk up here and play an instrument like they play an instrument, but it’s not like they started playing that instrument this morning at 10am. It is has been worked into their life over and over.
They started practicing this morning at 9am to make last minute tweaks. Then, they had practice on Tuesday evening to practice playing the song together. There is also the prep work Luke sends out weeks in advance over charts, chords, and lyrics.
In May 2014 we challenged our church family to make a pledge over 18-months and give $30,000 to start a new church in Greater Austin. By August 2014, (Less than 3-months) the North Village Church family has already given (In hand) over $27,000. Isn’t that amazing!
Right now, we are partnering with 5 other local churches who have committed a combined total of $170,000 to starting this new church. We are currently interviewing potential church planters so that we can see a new church birthed in our city by August 2016.
All for Jesus!
Sometimes I see people walking through tension in life and they feel blind-sided. They see sin being exposed in their life, and their first thought is, “What is wrong in my life?” They start to feel distant from God, and they start pushing God away.
Sometimes we push God away physically by pulling away from Sunday morning, groups, prayer, friends, and sometimes we push God away metaphorically by putting up a wall that says, “You can’t touch this part of my life.”
But, you need to know if you want to walk in a growing, vibrant, non-religious relationship with Jesus there is going to be a trajectory of tension so that you can experience the greatest life He has to offer. Look at John 7:6-8 to see why: