Staff Book Recommendations

Staff Book Recommendations

STAFF BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

From Craig Smith

Lead Pastor

Good Faith: Being A Christian When Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme
by David Kinnaman

From WILL CUNNINGHAM

FAMILY + MARRIAGE MINISTRY PASTOR

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God
by Henry Blackaby

From COLETTA SMITH

LEAD PASTOR’S WIFE

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us More Holy than to Make Us Happy?
by Gary Thomas

Shepherding a Child’s Heart
by Ted Tripp

From DANNY OERTLI

Weekend Experience Executive Pastor

Emotional Intelligence 2.0
by Travis Bradberry

From MATT RHODES

Creative Associate Director

The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’ Crucifixion
by N.T. Wright

Try Being Unfair Next Time

Try Being Unfair Next Time

TRY BEING UNFAIR NEXT TIME

Besides death and taxes, there’s one other certainty: human hearts aren’t prone towards mercy, at least not towards others. We’re greedy for personal justice from the moment we comprehend that something’s unfair. She has more than me. He has something better than me. She got a bigger piece than me. He received more time than me.

Our avarice for justice is relentless and the stakes only grow as we get older.
He cheated and took from me.
She lied to get ahead of me.
He shortchanged me.
She was given special treatment over me.

With this burning desire to get justice for ourselves, how do we even begin to execute the things Jesus says, like, “if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well”? (Matthew 5:40). How do we turn the other cheek and walk the extra mile when we believe—down to our core—that we’re justified in seeking what’s ours?

How do we give up our right to seek justice? Where do we find the strength to do something like that?

Jesus didn’t just tell us what we should do as people of God’s kingdom. He also showed us how.

Peter came to Jesus with just the same question we bring to Jesus when we’re tired of offering grace: “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Nope. Not seven times, Peter, you don’t yet understand what the God’s kingdom is really like.

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ | Matthew 18:25-33

How do we give up our right to seek justice? We remember that our God gave up his right to exact justice against us by sacrificing himself. He gave us grace. He offered us mercy and we can become the kind of people who give grace instead of withholding forgiveness.

Maybe that little voice that demands and declares, “That’s just not fair,” never goes away for. Agree with it and reply in response: “It’s not fair—and praise God that He treated me ‘unfairly.’” Let’s become the kind of people who let go of justice and take hold of transformational sacrifice instead.

we believe in church that is

Real.Messy.New.

CAMPUSES


LITTLETON

620 Southpark Dr.
Littleton, CO 80120

DOVE VALLEY

14076 E. Briarwood Ave.
Centennial, Colorado 80112

LIFE CENTER LITTLETON

5804 S. Datura St.
Littleton, Colorado 80120

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Why We Lie

Why We Lie

WHY WE LIE

It’s safe to say we’re not always honest—sometimes we lie. Let’s at least be honest about that. And on top of that, we usually excuse these lies by maintaining that we don’t lie about the big things, just those little white lies. Whether it’s about that sweater your grandma sent you, that text message you “forgot” to respond to, or the real reason you were out “sick” at work last week, we can exercise and excuse our dishonesty in small ways each day. What’s so bad about that?

The problem is that our motivation for lying about anything—big or small—comes down to two wrong beliefs and conflicting values.

Nearly all lies are motivated by one of two desires:

  • 1 // A desire to protect others.
  • 2 // A desire to protect ourselves.

On the surface, neither of these desires seems to be that bad, especially the desire to protect others from hurt feelings, disappointment, or worse. However, when we submit to these desires instead of what God says is best, we’re disobedient.

PROTECTING OTHERS

Honesty and kindness aren’t enemies. If you’ve ever said a white lie to a friend, your spouse, or your child then you likely felt that the values of honesty and kindness were at odds with one another. Despite this feeling, honesty and kindness are not enemies—they’re inextricably linked. When we sacrifice honesty, we’re usually just being nice or polite and sacrificing that other person’s long-term good for short-term salve.

We forget what John says about Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus didn’t sacrifice truth just to be nice and—just as importantly—he didn’t forsake grace to express the fullness of truth to the world. We see this conjunction clearly in Jesus’ interaction with the man nicknamed “the rich young ruler.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”

Jesus was honest with him because he loved him—not in spite of his love for this misguided man.

It may take some time to practice and probably a few opportunities to ask for forgiveness, but you can be honest and kind. It may feel harsh, to be honest, but this is the real way to be kind—by desiring someone else’s long-term good even if it isn’t what they want and it requires more from us. If we’re the kind of people who step into difficult conversations with honesty and grace, then people will learn that they can trust us no matter what.

PROTECTING OURSELVES

The second reason feels less noble than the first, but it’s unlikely that we ever lie without this as an underlying motivation: We don’t want to incur the consequences that honesty could bring. This means we don’t fully trust what Jesus told us: the way of truth is a path of freedom.

Sure, in the short term, we may avoid some small difficulty, but in the long term, we’re setting ourselves up for even greater trouble. Why? Because we aren’t just choosing a single lie; we’re choosing a path to live by, a path of darkness that serves oneself instead of others.

John warns in his epistle, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Honesty puts us on the path of light where there’s real intimacy with God and one another. Don’t let your fear get in the way of those gifts.

We don’t want to be nice, polite people who lie. We want to be kind and honest people who care about others more than our own comfort. Kind doesn’t always look like nice—just like Jesus showed us—and it won’t always be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. If honesty is something you struggle with, don’t despair. John has a word for you, too. Even in our sin,

“we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” who is faithful to forgive and transform us when we confess to him. | 1 John 2:1; 1:9

we believe in church that is

Real.Messy.New.

CAMPUSES


LITTLETON

620 Southpark Dr.
Littleton, CO 80120

DOVE VALLEY

14076 E. Briarwood Ave.
Centennial, Colorado 80112

LIFE CENTER LITTLETON

5804 S. Datura St.
Littleton, Colorado 80120

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5 Ways to Invest in Your Spouse Today

5 Ways to Invest in Your Spouse Today

5 WAYS TO INVEST IN YOUR SPOUSE TODAY

Marriage is a good gift from God that is celebrated in the Bible. Even if you haven’t been married, you can likely attest to the positive influence that a healthy marriage can have on the people surrounding them—from kids to friends and even coworkers. If you’ve been married (for more than a week), you know firsthand that marriage isn’t easy. Challenges and struggles can cause us to forget that spouses are blessings to be protected, not a burden to be lifted.

How can you remind yourself and treat your spouse like the blessing he or she is? Try one of these ways to invest in your marriage:

1 // Focus More on Jesus

This may seem counterintuitive, but your marriage won’t get better if you simply focus on one another. You won’t become the person God wants you to be by simply willing or wishing it will happen. As believers, we’re not interested in simple behavior modification; we want to become transformed from the inside out by Jesus. That’s the only way any relationship—including our marriages—will become transformed. Focus on Jesus today by spending time in prayer, reading His word, and meditating on how you can apply what it says.

2 // Ask More Questions

Even if you’re already great at asking your spouse, “How was your day?” you can ask more questions that show you’re interested in what your spouse is feeling, thinking, and dreaming. Steer clear of “yes/no” questions and then create some space to listen. Here are just a few to get your conversations started:

  • What do you think the Lord is teaching you?
  • What’s something you would like to do in the next (1, 5, 10) year(s)?
  • What’s a dream you have for our family?
  • How can I support you this week?

3 // Take Something Off Their To-Do List

Have you ever experienced the joy of being able to tell your spouse, “That’s already taken care of,” when he or she reminds you of a task that’s on their mind? It’s surprising and delightful. Keep your eyes open for tasks you can get done for your spouse. From getting his car washed to planning and cooking a meal for her, sacrificing your own time so that your other half can have more is time shows that you value and appreciate him or her.

4 // Depart from Your Routine

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the monotony of what needs to get done to meet the needs at work, home, and school. From the morning rush to jam-packed evenings and getting ready for the next day, it can be difficult to find space to see each other, let alone really connect with one another. Do you always watch TV after dinner? Take a walk with one another instead. Do you check emails and the news before work each day? Enjoy a technology-free coffee or breakfast together before heading off to work.

5 // Pray for them

If we believe that prayer is powerful, why wouldn’t we pray regularly for our spouse and our marriage? Set a reminder on your phone for the same time each day to pray for anything your spouse is facing. Maybe it’s a big presentation at work or parent-teacher conference concerning a struggling child, you can take whatever it is to the Lord on behalf of your spouse. You can even take time to pray over your husband or wife before the day begins or as it ends.

It takes daily investment and maintenance to create a thriving relationship. Great marriages—that honor and reflect Christ and the church—don’t happen by accident, so put these suggestions into practice today.

What’s Needed to Help Students Find Their Calling

What’s Needed to Help Students Find Their Calling

WHAT’S NEEDED TO HELP STUDENTS FIND THEIR CALLING

This guest post was written by our High School Associate Director, Aaron Harder. For more information about our middle school or high school ministries and when they meet, check out QUEST and The Crossing.


Perhaps you are wondering what is happening to today’s youth, what causes millennial’s and Generation Z to feel so entitled. Why do these generations seem to be leaving the church at faster and faster rates? If you’ve wondered these things, maybe you should ask what your role is in transforming those realities. I’m beginning to believe the problem is not with them, but with who is—or rather, is not—teaching them.

I’ve noticed the most peculiar phenomenon about today’s youth: most of them link godliness and being Christ-like to working in a church or being a pastor. It’s as if they see a career in ministry as the final stop on the train of Christian maturity. They don’t know what it looks like to be a Christian in other workplaces.

It’s not that our pastors and church staff employees cannot be great examples for the next generation—they are–but our students often fail to equate working as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, or school teacher as a godly calling. To them, the ultimate way to pursue God is to work in a church.

Often, some of our students believe they’re called to vocational ministry because they don’t often understand what it looks like to be godly in other vocations. It’s difficult to see them stuck in this dichotomy—between a calling to Christian ministry and engaging one’s faith at work and pursuing some other vocation that doesn’t seem to connect to their faith.

It may be obvious, but it seems necessary to say that our God doesn’t call everyone to be a pastor or worship leader; He is too creative to only limit Christians to one field or industry and he wants us all to actively engage our faith and the world, no matter what career field we pursue. Every week at youth group, I get to see the different gifts and talents God displays in the lives of our students as I talk with students about their favorite classes, sports, art projects, and choir concerts. God calls His children to display His glory in every aspect of life, and that happens in every area of work—not solely in vocational ministry.

How do we remind our students of this truth? As a church, we cannot make the mistake of believing that mentoring youth is only the job of church employees. There is an important place for pastors and church workers to disciple our youth and there is also a great need for our youth to be mentored by Christian mortgage bankers, IT men and women, and school teachers, too.

Godly men and women who work in the marketplace of the world must help us—the pastors and church workers of the world—show today’s youth that Christians work outside of the church, too. We want our students to believe that serving and worshiping God occurs at all times throughout the day and in every aspect of life, not just what happens inside church doors. This next generation needs to see how godliness can be displayed at a hospital, business meeting, courtroom, and classroom. We don’t need more seminary degrees (though they are helpful), we just need more people to be willing to point the next generation towards Jesus in every area of their lives and rely on His power in their life to transform lives. Period.

we believe in church that is

Real.Messy.New.

CAMPUSES


LITTLETON

620 Southpark Dr.
Littleton, CO 80120

DOVE VALLEY

14076 E. Briarwood Ave.
Centennial, Colorado 80112

LIFE CENTER LITTLETON

5804 S. Datura St.
Littleton, Colorado 80120

CONNECT


EMAIL UPDATES