Patriarch Church

It’s official! Beginning Sunday August 16, 2015 we will gather to worship at 6:00PM as Patriarch Church.

In all we do, as the local Body of Christ, we long to bring Glory to God by expressing the Supremacy of Jesus and advancing His Gospel. Our prayer is to witness the power of the Gospel unto salvation and experience the joy of the saints in the depth of the Gospel. The central focus of our church will be on the following:

The Word – The Bible is the single source of truth and is the power to change lives. Each time we gather, the Scriptures will have the two fold purpose of teaching and preaching. God’s people need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, studying truth deeply. At the same time, those who don’t know the Savior need the Gospel in a plain, understandable proclamation. The heart of each message will be focused on making disciples. The goal will be to present the truth in the Word of God to challenge and grow the mature believer, while parts of the message spoon feed the curious.

Prayer – We desire to be a church that gathers with a shared passion to experience the presence of God. Kingdom disciples need to hear God’s voice more than man’s good advice. They need to feel the presence of their Creator more than just sing a few songs and hear a helpful message. God’s people have a hunger to experience Him; and it’s a good hunger. This kind of God experience can be found through obeying His command to humble ourselves and pray and seek His face.

Sing to the LORD! – Worship through songs of praise has been a part of church gathering for millennia. People in love, love to sing! We will sing the heart songs from ages past, and new choruses that lift us to the Throne of God.

Lord’s Supper –The Lord’s Supper proclaims the Gospel. The Lord’s Supper brings about a deep remembrance of the Lord Jesus and is a looking forward to feasting with Christ. It is the reality of our faith based on the historical work of Jesus. Our souls feed by faith on what the broken body and spilled blood achieved for us – a justified and sanctified fellowship with the risen Christ. In addition the Lord’s Supper is savoring the new covenant, a call to love the church, especially the poor, and a call to self-examination.

Baptize – Christ commands baptism.  In the purpose of making disciples, we publically express union with Christ in His death and resurrection. This expression happens by immersion in water. It is accomplished in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” So the imagery of baptism is death, burial, and resurrection. Christ was buried and raised to new life. The believer is raised symbolically to new life in Christ as the Church looks on rejoicing in the power and work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate hearts. We are the redeemed because Christ is the Redeemer!

Live for JESUS – The early church gathered to worship, learn, and be encouraged. Then they went out to change the world. The goal of the service is not to applaud the message or talk about how amazing the music was. The goal is to go back out into the world for which Christ died better equipped to live out and share our faith. AND WE DO IT TOGETHER!

Together we experience life by loving the Lord and each other in the Grace of God. Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we meditate on the Scriptures (Psalms 1:3). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we see saints love each other sacrificially by the power of Christ (Matthew 5:16). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we see the heavens declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when we fulfill our ministry with God’s help (1 Timothy 3:13). Grace strengthens our souls by faith when fellow-Christians pray for each other (Ephesians 4:16).

I look forward to serving Christ and proclaiming His Gospel together as your pastor.

Blessings,

Mike

Madagascar

No, not the movie…

Madagascar

Our first shipment of children’s clothing and school supplies sent to the orphanage in Madagascar! Very exciting… special thanks to Sharon Dowis for gathering up all the items for us.

James 1:27 (ESV)

27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The Uniqueness of Motherhood

The Uniqueness of Motherhood 

The Mona Lisa (Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting) is valued as priceless because it is unique. It can be argued that it is the most studied and appreciated piece of artwork ever. In a way, the painting was a unique mother’s day gift. The woman in the painting is Lisa Gherardini. Lisa was from a well-known family known through Tuscany and Florence and married to Francesco Del Giocondo who was a very wealthy silk merchant. It was her husband who commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to complete the work just after the turn of the 16th century. (c. 1504-1519) The work was to celebrate the completion of their new home and the birth of their second son. (Of course, Mother’s Day is unique to the US and was first celebrated in 1908 when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia)

The Mona Lisa is unique for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons, of course, is the artist himself. Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the most recognized artist in the world. Not only was Da Vinci an artist, but he was also a scientist, inventor, and a doctor. Another reason for its uniqueness is the medium used to create the work. The Mona Lisa is an oil painting, with a cottonwood panel as the surface. It is unique in that most paintings are commissioned as oil on canvas, but the cottonwood panel is part of what has attributed to the fame of the painting. Because of the medium used for the image, the Mona Lisa has survived for six centuries without ever having been restored. The last unique feature I’ll mention about the Mona Lisa is the detail with which Leonardo da Vinci painted her hands, eyes, and lips. These anatomically correct features are one of the identifiable marks of this period of history in art.

The Mona Lisa is not without her enemies. Twice in the 20th century alone she was attacked. Once, in 1956, she sustained severe damage when attacked with acid by a vandal. That same year, another vandal threw a rock at her, removing a chip of paint from near her elbow. It was later painted over. The Mona Lisa now rests safely in the Louvre in Paris, France under bulletproof glass as a means of protection.

By now you may be asking, “What do all these facts about art have to do with Mother’s Day?” Well, in an even greater act of creation than Leonardo painting the Mona Lisa, God created mother Eve. Just like the Mona Lisa, Eve’s value and uniqueness, like ALL mothers, is derived from her creator. She is unique in that God selected just the proper medium with which to create. And create He did! What beauty! What value! The details in her hands, eyes, and lips not only surpass the Mona Lisa, but they become more defined, beautiful, and valuable as the years pass.

Motherhood, like the Mona Lisa, is not without her enemies. Popular culture is doing its best to throw acid and rocks at God’s masterpiece. Motherhood, like the Mona Lisa, must be protected. There is no need to change even a single brush stroke of the Master’s hand. Motherhood was created on purpose, for a purpose. It is unique. It is priceless.

Love In Action

This Wednesday (April 29, 2015) instead of our typical gathering to study at the Patriarch Project office, we will be meeting at a local restaurant to enjoy a time of fellowship and share a meal. Most importantly, we will be sharing our lives with the owner of the restaurant and his staff. Why?

Starting any new business is difficult. In the first year especially, it is a lonely struggle to attract your customers, provide products and services for their needs, and work out the ‘kinks’ along the way. The job description for an entrepreneur reads fairly simply…a little knowledge about your industry combined with a lot of hard work. Most of us never think about what it takes to serve good food at a price we are willing to pay.

What would it mean to a struggling restaurant owner to have a group of folks show up for dinner and order lots of food, have a great time, tip over the top, and let him and his staff know how much they appreciate the restaurant being a part of the community? Well, Wednesday night we are going to find out. For that’s exactly what we are going to do.

So are we saying it’s a party or evangelism? It is simply another dining out experience or proclaiming the Gospel? YES! I can promise you there won’t be any soapboxes or Bible thumping. We haven’t purchased a box containing an evangelism kit or learned a method or memorized a script to lead someone to the Lord. If everything in life should bring glory to God, and we believe that is true, then there is no such thing as a wall in life that separates sacred from secular. As a matter of fact, if all of life is all for Jesus, then there is no such thing as secular. If the Gospel truly applies to ALL of life, eating in a restaurant has no different purpose than going to Bible study.

When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20), one can’t see it as a simple act of handing out Gospel tracts or knocking on a stranger’s door and asking a question. The Great Commission looks more like a life long relationship. After all, Jesus said to ‘baptize’ these disciples. As a pastor I’ve baptized a number of people. By the time we arrived at the baptismal event I knew them fairly well. After all, one must spend a fair amount of time together in the Word of God to teach the why’s and how’s of baptism. But the disciple making process in the Great Commission does’t stop at baptism. Jesus also said , “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you”. This sounds to me like making disciples includes a lot of training. How long does it take to learn to observe all that Jesus in His Word commands? I would say a lifetime. Living a Gospel life must include intentional relationship building.

Of course, salvation is God’s work. We don’t ‘save’ anyone. However, He chooses to include us in the process. (That’s the disciple making part) If Christians are asked to define what it is to make disciples, I wonder what their answer would be. Since Jesus gave us the command to make disciples, I think it would be wise to live a disciple making life. One of the best definitions of a disciple maker’s role in life I have ever heard is this: to know that all of life is all for Jesus, and to constantly create a space in every relationship for the Holy Spirit to work.

In a very real way, that’s what I pray happens at the dinner table Wednesday night. As we enter the restaurant we will not see ourselves as demanding consumers. Wednesday night, and every night, we will see ourselves as disciple makers, demanded by our King to share His love.

Be deeply in debt this Thanksgiving

This Christian lives by grace. The grace of God, simply defined, is unmerited favor. My family and I will “feast” this Thursday. More food will be at table than any of us can consume in a single setting. At the same time Thursday’s sun will set on no less than one billion empty stomachs. I will remind myself and my family at that moment that we have much for which to be thankful.

As a Christian, my debt begins at the cross of Jesus Christ. By grace through faith, my sin debt paid, God’s wrath turned away, no way to repay, my debt. Thanksgiving! But my debt doesn’t stop there.

Every day without exception, God gives, and gives, and gives. If there is anything good in me, it is a gift of grace. Therefore, any act of obedience on my part, any righteous act, comes directly from God’s storehouse. I become, on a daily basis, deeper in debt. To think that I could make any move toward repayment is absurd.

I will complete my days on earth hopelessly in debt to grace. I would have it no other way. To God be the Glory! I should be the most grateful man alive. Thanksgiving!

Bible Study Schedule

Our new study begins next Wednesday, October 8th at 6:00PM Arizona time. Our 10 week study is entitled: Biblical Marriage: How can my marriage thrive in a 21st century business world? 

This study will take us through the end of the year. The study schedule for the next three sessions are listed below:

Study Schedule 9/10/14 through 12/31/14

10/1/14             No Study (Travel break)

10/8/14             Biblical Marriage: Can my marriage thrive in a 21st century business world?

10/15/14            Biblical Marriage

10/22/14            Biblical Marriage

10/29/14            Biblical Marriage

11/5/14             Biblical Marriage

11/12/14            Biblical Marriage

11/19/14            Biblical Marriage

11/26/14            No Study (Thanksgiving break)

12/3/14             Biblical Marriage

12/10/14            Biblical Marriage

12/17/14            Biblical Marriage (Final study on marriage)

12/24/14            No study (Christmas break)

12/31/14            No study (News Years break)

Study Schedule for the start of 2015 

Beginning January 7th – A Balanced Life: How do I properly value all areas of life? (3 Weeks)

Beginning January 28th – Servant-Leadership: The call of business ownership to “shepherd” their employees (4 weeks)

All start times will be 6:00PM Arizona time.

Tonight’s Study – The Life of Faith

Let’s face it, our external circumstances often determine how we feel about God and how we perceive God feels about us. Tonight we study the closing verses of Hebrews chapter 11. The picture painted in these verses is of our God and how he works in the lives of his faith-filled and loved people. This look at who our God is and how he works in our lives is as valuable as any practical understanding can be. This passage is tremendously important at shedding light on what faith is and what kind of life it guarantees.

If you have ever felt that God was happy with your performance because life was good or God was dissatisfied because life was hard and getting harder, then this study is for you. Hope to see you tonight at 6:00PM Arizona time (7:00PM Mountain; 9:00PM Eastern).

Here’s the link to the GoToMeeting session if you want to participate online…

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/469510749