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Dear Resolved Church family,

As many of you already know, in our desire to love and care for our pastors well, we have started to implement regular sabbaticals for our leadership team. We started with Pastor Duane, and this year Pastor Dan and his family are receiving this gift. They are currently beginning their four-month sabbatical as of this month. We want to encourage you all to give them the space they need for their souls to be able to fully engage in the sabbatical process; to rest, recalibrate, and re-enter back into ministry healthier and with a desire to serve you all for many more years to come.

The ways that we are asking you to love and serve them well are to give them space by disengaging from communicating with them via email, phone, or social media. Doing this will enable them to be able to be fully present in their sabbatical, and to allow the Lord to minister to the deep places of their soul without distraction, which is a powerful act of love toward them. As a church, we care deeply for this wonderful family and are eager to see how Jesus will minister to them during this time. We believe that this sabbatical process is not only a God-given blessing to His ministers but also necessary for the continued well-being and care for His people. Thus, we want to give Pastor Dan and his family all the support and love we can in this

It goes without saying that Pastor Dan has some big shoes to fill during his sabbatical, and we wanted to give you a couple of people to contact when you have questions or concerns that normally Dan would be involved with.

1. For most general questions Dan's assistant, Molly, will be the person to go to. Her email address is

2. If you have questions regarding building care, LampPost Warehouse events, or ministry questions, please contact Dave Christman,

3. If you have any other pastoral concerns or questions please contact me,

If you would like to give them a special financial love gift during this time of healing, please use the designation "Staff Calvert". We would love to bless them with special meals, or vacations, or gift cards as another tangible expression of our love and support for them.

We are so glad to be able to give the Calverts this sabbatical, and are very excited for what God is doing, and will continue to do, during this time. Thank you, Resolved Church, for your love and support for Pastor Dan and his family.

On behalf of the elders of the Resolved Church,

Pastor Ryan Buss

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Trusting God Even When Life Hurts

Jerry Bridges

You may purchase his book here!

After Pastor Dave's powerful sermon on God's purpose for trials in our lives, you might be looking for some more material on what it looks like to lean on God in tumultuous times. Jerry Bridges explores this in-depth in his book Trusting God. Here is an excerpt:

The letter did not bring good news. A close relative, very dear to me, had just learned she had bone cancer. Malignant cells from a previous bout with cancer had lain dormant for eight years before invading the skeletal parts of her body. One hip was already almost destroyed; the doctor was amazed she was still able to walk. Such incidents are all too common these days. In fact, during the writing of this chapter I had seven friends, all with cancer, listed on my “urgent” prayer page.

But cancer or other physical ailments are obviously not the only sources of anxiety. Over lunch a few weeks ago a businessman friend confided that his company is perilously close to bankruptcy; another experiences heartache over a spiritually rebellious teenager. The truth is, all of us face adversity in various forms and at different times. A recent best-selling book by a secular psychiatrist put it very well with this simple opening statement: “Life is difficult.”

Adversity and its accompanying emotional pain come in many forms. There may be the heartache of an unhappy marriage, or the disappointment of a miscarried pregnancy, or grief over a spiritually indifferent or rebellious child. There is the anxiety of the family breadwinner who has just lost his job and the despair of the young mother who has learned she has a terminal illness.

Others experience the frustration of dashed hopes and unfulfilled dreams; a business that turned sour, or a career that never developed. Still, others experience the sting of injustice, the dull ache of loneliness, and the stabbing pain of unexpected grief. There is the humiliation of rejection by others, of demotion at work and, worst of all, of failure that is one’s own fault. Finally, there is the despair of realizing that some difficult circumstances-- a physical infirmity of your own or perhaps a severely handicapped child—will never change.

All of these circumstances and scores more contribute to the anxiety and emotional pain we all experience at various times and in varying degrees. Some pain is sudden, traumatic, and devastating. Other adversities are chronic, persistent, and seemingly designed to wear down our spirits over time.

God’s people are not immune from such pain. In fact, it often seems as if theirs is more severe, more frequent, more unexplainable, and more deeply felt than that of the unbeliever. The problem of pain is as old as the history of man and just as universal. Even creation itself, Paul tells us, has been subjected to frustration and groans as in the pain of childbirth. (Romans 8:20-22)

So the question naturally arises “Where is God in all of this?” Can you really trust God, i.e, is He dependable in times of adversity? But the second meaning is also critical, can you, trust God? DO you have such a relationship with God and such a confidence in Him that you believe He is with you in your adversity even though you do not see any evidence of His presence and His power?

It is not easy to trust God in times of adversity. NO one enjoys pain, and when it comes, we want it relieved as quickly as possible. Even the Apostle Paul pleaded with God three times to take away the thorn in his flesh before he finally found God’s grace to be sufficient. Joseph pleaded with Pharoh’s cupbearer to “get me out of this prison” (Genesis 40:14). And the writer of Hebrews very honestly states, “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.”

In order to trust God, we must always view our adverse circumstances through the eyes of faith, not of sense. And just as the faith of salvation comes through hearing the message of the gospel (Romans 10:17), so the faith to trust God in adversity comes through the Word of God alone. It is only in the Scriptures that we find an adequate view of God’s relationship to and involvement in our painful circumstances. It is only from the Scriptures, applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, that we receive the grace to trust God in adversity.

In the arena of adversity, the Scriptures teach us three essential truths about God—truths we must believe if we are to trust Him in adversity. They are:

  • God is completely sovereign.
  • God is infinite in wisdom.
  • God is perfect in love.

Someone has expressed these three truths as they relate to us in this way: “God in his love always wills what is best for us. In His wisdom, He always knows what is best, and in His sovereignty, He has the power to bring it about.”

In order to trust God, we must know Him in an intimate, personal way. David said in Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” To know God’s name is to know him in an intimate personal way. It is more than just knowing facts about God. It is coming into a deeper personal relationship with Him as a result of seeking Him in the midst of our personal pain and discovering Him to be trustworthy. It is only as we know God in this personal way that we come to trust Him.

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How Good People Should Respond When Bad Things Happen

Sermon Discussion
James 1

I. Look In

Trial Definition: "Depravation or absence of a God intended blessing."

Do you agree with this definition? Why or why not?

How might you be experiencing this kind of trial in your life now?

What does James say is the purpose for our trials?

What are some temptations for us in how we respond to trials? How does God address these in our life?

How do trials expose what we really believe?

II. Look Up

God is the Master of all circumstances in our lives. He either sends it, or He allows it, to touch us. God is doing it for a reason!

Why ought we to look up to God in the midst of trials?

Why does God send or allow trials? Because it is the best for us and our faith at that time. Do you believe this? Why or why not? How might this view change how we respond to trials?

III. Look Out

When we experience trials in our life, often we can be tempted to focus on ourselves. What happens when we turn our eyes to look at others and seek and serve others in the midst of our trials?

How do we cultivate this kind of looking out while we are under trials?

IV. Pray for One Another!
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God Likes New Things

Pastor Duane Smets

There is something exciting and fun about getting something new. This last year I saved up some money and purchased a new surfboard, which has turned out to be one of my most favorite boards I’ve ever ridden!

Whether it’s something you purchase like new clothes or a new house or whether it’s a new friendship or relationship, there is something about something that is new. There is a longing and an excitement to new things.

I think God created and designed for newness because He’s a God who likes new things.

God promises new things.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth!” – Isaiah 43:19 

God tells us to sing new songs.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things!” – Psalm 98:1 

God’s love is new to us every day.

 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

God give us new life.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 

God will make all things new.

“Behold, I am making all things new.” – Revelation 21:5 

I think one of the many benefits of knowing God is there will always something new in a life with Him.

God is eternal and therefore there is an unending amount of new things to know and experience in Him. I think part of the joy and promise of heaven for those who follow Christ is that there will always be something new for God to show us and delight us with.

The great preacher and pastor Jonathan Edwards said this in his book about heaven titled, “The End For Which God Created The World”,

“Happiness will be increasing to eternity. If God has respect to something in the creature, which He views as of everlasting duration, and as rising higher and higher through that infinite duration, then there never will be any particular time when it can be said already to have come to such a height.

God’s respect to the creature’s good, and His respect toHimself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of the creature aimed at is happiness in Himself.”

What he’s saying is that in eternity God will always have new things to be introducing to His people to delight them. There will always be more because God is an infinite and eternal God and it makes Him really happy to see His creatures be happy and increasingly surprised by new joys.

God likes introducing His creatures to new things and because of that God will never become old and boring to us. We will never arrive at a point where we know everything about God and His goodness. There will always be more to experience.

God is the newness we long for who gives us ultimate and enduring satisfaction and joy. Enjoy Him and the life He gives to the fullest!

– Pastor Duane

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A Jesus for People Today
Gabe Hagstrom

Click here to view the sermon.

We’re hopping back into Luke after the last couple weeks celebrating Easter. Duane took us to a conversation where Jesus is approached by some religious leaders who have concerns about Jesus’s wild party lifestyle.

As we approach the scene here in Luke, think through your own life.

What was your favorite party you attended? What made it great?

Let’s take a closer look at this conversation and read the passage:

And they said to him, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours eat and drink.” And Jesus said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” – Luke 5:33-39 33 

Jesus answer to the religious leaders is rich with insight into how different Jesus is, and who He is. Duane pointed out that What we see is how Jesus is always new, always good and can’t be compared or combined with anything else.

There were three points we looked at:

Good Parties
Good Style
Good Wine

I.  Good Parties

The religious leaders start off by comparing Jesus’s seemingly liberal lifestyle to His cousin John’s very serious and ascetic life. They were in the habit of fasting a couple times a week to show haw dissatisfied they were with the world and how holy they were. And here’s Jesus eating, drinking, every day like it’s a wedding party.

When you think of church, do you think of it more as a party, or as a practice? How do your neighbors, friends, and coworkers think of church? Why? What can change that view?

Parties are usually as great as the reason for the party. Jesus gives the leaders a reason in his response, that He’s here! Duane pointed out that “God coming in Jesus is a sign that God has heard the prayers of the people and now it’s time to thank Him, celebrate that and enjoy His presence.” They had been waiting centuries, millennia for this to happen and here it was!

Does your life reflect the joy of Jesus coming to us? Do you feel the freedom to express that joy? How can you express that joy to the people of San Diego?

II.  Good Style

After announcing that He is the reason for the party, and there’s never been a better reason, Jesus moves on to a story to reveal what the heart was behind the religious leaders' question. They wanted to mix their religion with Jesus, to make it more palatable to themselves.

Why do you think they wanted to mix the two?

What do people now often try to mix with Jesus? What do you try and mix with Jesus? Why?

Duane explained that this mixing of beliefs is called Syncretism. Jesus is new and He’s given us new clothes to wear. In spite of those new wonderful clothes, we often will try and sneak back into our worn smelly, yet comfy clothes. The new and the old can’t work together.

Are there some old clothes (practices and habits) you need to let go of? Why are you holding on to them? Who in your life can come alongside and point out when you need to let go of those clothes? 

III.  Good Wine

Jesus tries again with another story to enlighten his disciples and these religious leaders. He compares himself to new wine that needs an appropriately new wine skin to hold it. If you put new wine is the same old wine skin time after time, that skin would burst, unable to hold the life happening in the wine.

Duane pointed out that inside the skin it’s always wine, always the same gospel, in order to be effective, the skin that holds the wine must be flexible. So we as a church must be flexible as we deliver to the Gospel to different cultures, peoples, and groups.

What are some examples of things we do at our church because of San Diego culture that would hinder our delivery of the gospel in other places?

What are some other things we can do to help communicate the gospel to this time and people?

As we go about connecting our friends to the gospel and Jesus we must also begin connecting with them personally as a church.

What was it like for you when you started coming to the Resolved? Easy to make relationships? Hard? What can you do to make that connection for new people happen? 

Pray Together

Pray with your group that we’d realize the joy of Jesus coming in our lives every day. Accept His new clothes and be flexible wineskins, wise about our delivery of the gospel.

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The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality
Dustin Willis & Brandon Clements

You may purchase their book here!

We have a lot of new people joining us lately. We want to encourage you to be hospitable to new folks among us! Here is a great piece on welcoming new people into our church family.

The first church, founded after the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost in Acts 1, was marked by pervasive love and care for one another. Unlike many modern churches, which are centered around a physical building, they seemed to be a people who lived hospitality everywhere they went. Consider this well-known passage:

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need, And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:42-47)

Many Christians often cite these verses as a shining example of the health of the New Testament church, and one thing that stands out repeatedly is that these believers’ faith had a profound impact on what they did in their homes. Yes, verse 46 says they met together corporately in the temple, but the same verse and the surrounding context make it clear that the church also grew in the home of ordinary believers. They broke bread and shared meals together. They devoted themselves to prayer and fellowship with one another.

Hospitality is a theology of recognition, where through simple acts we convey the truth that wayward sinners are made in the image of God where we say to those tho might doubt their worth or purpose, “I see you! You are welcome here…pull up a chair.”

This may not feel quite as glamorous as hiding a refugee in your basement, but it is equally important. When you stop to think about how many everyday conversations and meals shared in homes it must have taken for the gospel to reach you from where it started across the globe two thousand years ago, it is astonishing.

Unlike throughout history, we do not suffer from a plague in which thousands of people are dying, and if there were, we have hospitals to send them to. There likely won’t be a family from another region traveling through your neighborhood tonight looking for a place to stay. We have hotels for that. There aren’t people in our country being hunted down by an oppressive government whom can hide in our basements.

Although some immediate needs that Christian hospitality was able to meet throughout history may have changed in some ways, we must not assume the need for Christian hospitality has vanished. That is a great lie, which has kept us from using our homes as weapons in the spiritual war waging around us. The people around us may not be dying of a physical plague, but they certainly suffer from a spiritual one. They may not need a place to sleep tonight, but they certainly need somewhere they can belong, somewhere they can learn about God’s remedy to their hopelessness and loneliness. They might be able to provide their own food for dinner, but they really need a person who follows Jesus to invite them to their home for dinner in a small act that communicates, I see you, and if I see you, then God sees you.

No matter what situation or culture you find yourself in, God is still moving through His people’s hospitable actions and attitudes. He has entrusted you with this great thread of history to continue His mission of seeking and welcoming those who are far from Him, and that might be as simple as reserving one night a week for the sake of hospitality.

And while the everyday use of our homes to welcome others may not feel like the most exciting cause in the world, we must remember that ordinary does not equal insignificant. We must remember that the church has progressed through two millennia on God’s power at work around ordinary kitchen tables and living rooms. God has always been forming a hospitable people to put His hospitality on display, and if you are in Christ, you’re now a part of God’s hospitable people.

The last Sunday of the month is Food Truck Sunday! We'll have a food truck after service, so plan on eating lunch with your church family!

The first Sunday of the month is Pastor's Coffee. This is your first step for getting to know The Resolved and getting involved.

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Real Forgiveness is Costly Suffering 
Tim Keller

Imagine that someone borrows your car, and as he backs it out of the driveway he strikes a gate, knocking it down along with part of a wall. Your property insurance doesn’t cover the gate and garden wall. What can you do? There are essentially two options. The first is to demand that he pay for the damages. The second is to refuse to let him pay anything. There may also be middle-of-the-road solutions in which you both share the payment. Notice that in every option the cost of the damage must be borne by someone. Either you or he absorbs the cost for the deed, but the debt does not somehow vanish into thin air. Forgiveness, in this illustration, means bearing the cost for his misdeed yourself. 

Most of the wrongs done to us cannot be assessed in purely economic terms. Someone may have robbed you of some happiness, reputation, opportunity, or certain aspects of your freedom. No price tag can be put on such things, yet we still have a sense of violated justice that does not go away when the other person says, “I’m really sorry.” When we are seriously wronged we have an indelible sense that the perpetrators have incurred a debt that must be dealt with. Once you have been wronged and you realize there is a just debt that can’t simply be dismissed—there are only two things to do. The first option is to seek ways to make the perpetrators suffer for what they have done. You can withhold relationship and actively initiate or passively wish for some kind of pain in their lives commensurate to what you experienced. There are many ways to do this. You can viciously confront them, saying things that hurt. You can go around to others to tarnish their reputation. If the perpetrators suffer, you may begin to feel a certain satisfaction, feeling that they are now paying off their debt.

There are some serious problems with this option, however. You may become harder and colder, more self-pitying, and therefore more self-absorbed. If the wrongdoer was a person of wealth or authority you may instinctively dislike and resist that sort of person for the rest of your life. If it was a person of the opposite sex or another race you might become permanently cynical and prejudiced against whole classes of people. In addition, the perpetrator and his friends and family often feel they have the right to respond to your payback in kind. Cycles of reaction and retaliation can go on for years. Evil has been done to you—yes. But when you try to get payment through revenge the evil does not disappear. Instead it spreads, and it spreads most tragically of all into you and your own character.

There is another option, however. You can forgive. Forgiveness means refusing to make them pay for what they did. However, to refrain from lashing out at someone when you want to do so with all your being is agony. It is a form of suffering. You not only suffer the original loss of happiness, reputation, and opportunity, but now you forgo the consolation of inflicting the same on them. You are absorbing the debt, taking the cost of it completely on yourself instead of taking it out of the other person. It hurts terribly. Many people would say it feels like a kind of death.

“Why did Jesus have to die? Couldn’t God just forgive us?” This is what many ask, but now we can see that no one “just” forgives, if the evil is serious. Forgiveness means bearing the cost instead of making the wrongdoer do it, so you can reach out in love to seek your enemy’s renewal and change. Forgiveness means absorbing the debt of the sin yourself. Everyone who forgives great evil goes through a death into resurrection, and experiences nails, blood, sweat, and tears.

Should it surprise us, then, that when God determined to forgive us rather than punish us for all the ways we have wronged him and one another, that he went to the Cross in the person of Jesus Christ and died there? As Bonhoeffer says, everyone who forgives someone bears the other’s sins. On the cross we see God doing visibly and cosmically what every human being must do to forgive someone, though on an infinitely greater scale. I would argue, of course, that human forgiveness works this way because we unavoidably reflect the image of our Creator. That is why we should not be surprised that if we sense that the only way to triumph over evil is to go through the suffering of forgiveness, that this would be far more true of God, whose just passion to defeat evil and loving desire to forgive others are both infinitely greater than ours.

Therefore the Cross is not simply a lovely example of sacrificial love. Throwing your life away needlessly is not admirable—it is wrong. Jesus’s death was only a good example if it was more than an example, if it was something absolutely necessary to rescue us. And it was. Why did Jesus have to die in order to forgive us? There was a debt to be paid—God himself paid it. There was a penalty to be born—God himself bore it. Forgiveness is always a form of costly suffering.


This is an excerpt from Tim Keller's The Reason for God.

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A Jesus for the Broken
Sermon Discussion | Luke 5:1-32
Sean Keefe

One of the first things Duane mentioned was the popular saying “Time heals all wounds.” Why do you think people say this? Do you think there is truth in this statement? Have you found it to be true in your life?

The take away that Duane wanted us to remember above everything else from this sermon was that Jesus heals all wounds.

God promises to heal the brokenness we bring to Him. Read through Psalm 103:2-4 before beginning the sermon discussion.

I. The Doubting

Jesus asked Peter and the other fisherman to go back out on the lake after an unsuccessful night of fishing, and throw their nets in again. Peter didn’t have real belief that he would catch anything, but out of deference he honored Jesus’ request. Peter acted out of subservience.

What is the difference between acting out of subservience (or faithless obedience), and acting with real faith?

How can we examine ourselves to make sure faith is our motivator and not just faithless obedience?

Have you ever struggled with serious doubts about Christianity or the Bible? What did that look like in your life?

Duane said you can’t really be a solid and mature Christian without asking those tough questions and getting answers to the doubts you have so that you can have an informed and rational faith.

Have you had any serious doubts answered that have led you to a stronger faith in God?

Jesus was not upset by Peter’s doubts, but instead responded with acceptance and an invitation to join Him in ministry. What do you think Jesus would say to the doubts you have right now?

II. The Dirty

Leprosy in the Bible is a term used to refer to multiple different ailments or diseases that affected the skin of a person. Lepers were deemed “unclean” and forced to live in special colonies where they would not come in contact with “clean” people. They spent their lives as outcasts.

What kind of psychological effects would living as an outcast have on someone?
Can you relate to lepers? Have you ever felt like an outcast? What effect did that have on you?

Physical sickness can have very real effects on our sense of self. The prolonged effects of sickness can make us feel like we are no longer ourselves.

Have you ever had a time in your life where you didn’t feel like yourself? What was that like for you? How did you get through that period?

Jesus was not put off by the leper, nor was he afraid to touch him. No one is untouchable to Jesus. No one is too far gone. He cares and He is willing to heal.

Jesus cares about our bodies, minds, and souls. Where do you need Jesus’ healing hand right now in your life?

III. The Damned

The paralyzed man was lowered through the roof by his friends so that Jesus could heal him. Before Jesus addressed his physical ailment, He told the man his sins were forgiven. At that time in history, it was a popular notion that physical ailments were a curse given by God for personal or family sin. The disabled were considered damned.

Have you ever thought that a personal tragedy, sickness, or disability was a curse from God for a sin you committed? What might you say to someone who is thinking this way?

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (v. 31-32)

If we don’t think we’re sick or broken, then we won’t see our need for Jesus.
When are you most likely to NOT feel a deep need for Jesus? How could we address this lack of a sense of need for Him?

How can we communicate the hope of forgiveness to those who are experiencing brokenness?

IV. Pray for One Another

Pray for God to give understanding and hope to those who are doubting.

Pray for eyes to see that Jesus is willing and able to heal the dirtiest parts of us.

Pray for those who feel damned and beyond hope to see the forgiveness given through Jesus.

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Picking a Church and Leaving One
By Pastor Duane Smets

Over the years I have found myself in a number of conversations with people wanting advice about finding a church and/or leaving their current one. Common questions range from things like: How you pick a church? How and when do you leave one? What are good reasons and bad for leaving? How should you go about either task, is there a proper way?

Picking a Church
From talking to many people about this subject here is what seems to be the most common criteria on people’s minds when I ask them what they are looking for in a church:

• Impressive Musical Performance
• Attractive People for Dating
• Programs Specific to My Life (singles, children, etc.)
• Entertaining Preacher
• Service Time/Location Convenience
• Size (big or small)

If you are desiring to be a part of a church, then there is a choice to be made. It is unavoidable. But there seems to be something faulty about this question itself, or at least the way it’s framed. because it is almost inherently laden in an individualistic and consumeristic mindset. These popular reasons people give seem to be especially

If you are desiring to be a part of a church, then there is a choice to be made. It is unavoidable. But there seems to be something faulty about this question itself, or at least the way it’s framed. because it is almost inherently laden in an individualistic and consumeristic mindset. These popular reasons people give seem to be especially fixed around the idea of “What church I like and want to be a part of.” Like picking a church is like picking out a new pair of shoes or what you are going to eat off a restaurant menu... "I’ll have the burger, cooked medium, with extra cheese, no pickles please.”

Is that really the way God’s children are supposed to go about it? Something just seems wrong about that method. What if the question were posed in a different way...a less individualistic and consumeristic way. What if we asked this question: “What church does God like and want me to be a part of?” What sort of criteria would we come up with? I think if that was our criteria would most likely look something like this:

1. Solid Doctrine – Cares a lot about who Jesus is and what his Word says.

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:2 

2. Godly Leadership – Leaders are called by Jesus and live holy lives like Jesus.

“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” – 1 Peter 5:2-3 

3. Loving Community – Helps each other love Jesus both with tangible care and accountability. 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

4. Missionally Minded – Longs and works hard for others to come to know and love Jesus.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” – Matthew 28:19 

5. Gifts Oriented – Has opportunities for you to use your gifts to love Jesus and one another.

“Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift...And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” When I ask the Bible the question of how you pick a church, it seems its list would be something like this second list. I just can’t imagine that at the top of God’s lists of cares and concerns about a church are the style of the worship in music band, the outward appearance of it’s members, how good the kids program is, how funny the pastor is, how easy it is to get there, or how big or small it is. All of those things on the – Ephesians 4:7,11-12

“Grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift... And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:7, 11-12 

When I ask the Bible the question of how you pick a church, it seems its list would be something like this second list. I just can’t imagine that at the top of God’s lists of cares and concerns about a church are the style of the worship in music band, the outward appearance of its members, how good the kids program is, how funny the pastor is, how easy it is to get there, or how big or small it is. 

All of those things on the first pop culture’s list are things which can change and do not matter so much. The things on the second list are much stronger, much more long lasting, and have God as the first and primary concern. With that said then how do you know when you ought to leave a church and how are you supposed to go about it?

Leaving a Church
In my own personal life, I have been both on the side of being the one needing to leave a church and on the side of having people leave the church I pastor and planted. Both sides are equally as heartbreaking and difficult. One of the things at the very heart of being a church is that it is a family. When you really become a part of a church it actually does start to feel like that, which is why it makes it so difficult to leave or to see someone leave.

I’ve left two churches in my life. The church I was a youth pastor at and later the church I was a college pastor at. I am still in close relationships with people from both of those churches...they left a permanent imprint in my heart and it was so hard to leave when I did. On this side of now being a pastor, I have never forgotten a single person who has left The Resolved Church and I have a scar left for everyone. It is so hard when you truly love a person, pray for them, and work so hard to teach them...to see them go, whether it be for good reasons or bad ones.

So what are the good reasons and what are the bad ones? I could be wrong but I suspect that very few people leave churches for good or Godly reasons. Many times people leave because of the same reasons listed above that people pick churches...they want a church that has better music, more people or better looking to potentially date, better or more programs, a more funny preacher who tells better or more stories, a church that is easier to get to because of its time or location, or a smaller or bigger church numerically. In addition to these reasons I’ve also witnessed people leave churches for the following reasons:

• Have a conflict with someone
• Get confronted about a sin from someone
• Get tired of serving with their gifts (“burnout”)
• Don’t like the way the church is doing: service, mission, and/or community etc.
• Cannot submit to the church leadership
• Get a new job in a different location
• Break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend in the church
• Get a boyfriend/girlfriend who doesn’t go to church
• God “calls” them to a new ministry post or education

Some of these may be good reasons if handled properly, or they can be terrible reasons. The primary and most important reasons for leaving a church are the same as good reasons to pick a church. You can and ought to leave a church if they are in doctrinal error with false teaching, have ungodly leadership, have an unloving community, are not attempting to reach the lost, and/or they do not encourage people to use their gifts. In addition to those reasons a person should leave a church if:

1. They are living in sin and are unrepentant after going through the three steps of biblical confrontation.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone (STEP ONE). If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses (STEP TWO). If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (STEP THREE). And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector (LEAVE). – Matthew 18:15-17 

“I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler – not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” – 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 

2. They are divisive to the church community and unwilling to follow the church leadership.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” – Hebrews 13:17 

“As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” – Titus 3:10 

How to Leave a Church
Many people may have good reasons to leave a church or have worked through the bad ones as best as possible and still simply need to leave. So if you are going to leave how are you supposed to do it? Does the Bible have anything to say about that?

1. A Last Resort
Leaving a church ought to always be a LAST RESORT after you have tried everything! We are not to avoid problems or difficulties but appeal to one another and if need be the church leadership.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault.” – Matthew 18:15 

“Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 5:19

2. Self-Examinate
Scott Thomas (Former Director of the Acts 29 Network) has written, “After prayer and fasting...a careful self-examination to deal with personal selfish motives and divisive attitudes...should be made. A person must not neglect this step of self-examination. It is all too easy to take a step of separation with the wrong spirit (bitterness, rebellion or a factious spirit). Unfortunately, many people leave a church with a schismatic spirit that denies the unity of the body of Christ.”

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – Psalm 139:23-24 

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bear(ing) with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:2-3 

3. Have A Godly Decision-Making Process
Don’t hear voices in your head and say “God is telling me.” That’s not how God calls us to make decisions.

“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 

Here’s how to be transformed by the renewal of your mind and thus make Godly decisions that won’t steer you wrong:

• Be Slow. "The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty." – Proverbs 21:5 

• Be Careful . “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise...therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” – Ephesians 5:15, 17

• Be Prayerful. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

• Be Counseled. “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers (COMMUNITY & PASTORS) they succeed.” –  Proverbs 15:22

• Be Biblical. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises (BIBLE), so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” – 2 Peter 1:3-4 

• Be Sure. “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.” – Psalm 37:23 

4. Seek a Blessing of Grace from the Church
Nobody ever wants to leave on bad terms and it is just weird when a person disappears, especially when they are like family to you. Things shouldn’t be done in secret, instead if a person is thinking they may need to leave they should ask church members and/or leadership for prayer and counsel (being careful not to stir up dissension & division), so that when/if they do leave they can be released with love and blessing and not bitterness or resentment. Sometimes you have to let people go and entrust them to the Sovereignty of God.

“There arose a sharp disagreement, so that they (Barnabas and Paul) separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.” – Acts 15:39-40 

“Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” – Matthew 18:21-22 

I pray this will serve not only the members of The Resolved Church but several others who need the guidance of God’s Word on this very important issue.

Pastor Duane


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Sermon Discussion | Luke 4:16-44
Pastor Ryan Buss

The text shows Jesus starting His earthly ministry. Everything before has been a kind of preparation for when we see Jesus start His ministry. The first thing we see Him doing is to show us what His church would be about.

Duane started the sermon by giving a little history on the structure of the church in the first century. The way that the church started was based on the Jewish synagogues of the time. Thus, in a way, Jesus grew up going to church.

Synagogue = church: the structure of the gathering of Gods people had been happening for centuries before Jesus comes on the scene.

What has been your experience with church growing up? What kinds of things did you like or dislike? Was it good? Bad? What makes a church a good church or bad church? What is church supposed to be about?

Duane started by giving some statistics about the decline of churches in America and why it is shrinking so quickly and so intensely. What do you believe are some of the causes of that? How do you think you have contributed to this? How can you help be the change?

I. Jesus and Church Pastors

Jesus quotes from the prophet Isaiah who prophesied about the coming Messiah and what He would be like, and Jesus tells the congregation that He is, in fact, this Messiah. Jesus is pointing to Himself as the Son of God, and the bad church pastors reject Him.

Pastors are to point people to Jesus, the Son of God, and to minister to His people that they might know and love Jesus.

What we see from Jesus is that the church is meant to be a hospital, not a club. The Church is meant to help care for the poor, outcast, hurting people. How can you help do that in your life now? What prevents you from really living that out?

II. Jesus and Church People

The church is to be a welcoming church which extends the mercy and love of Jesus to all people. Anyone and everyone are to be welcomed in. Are you willing to welcome into your life people who are new? Are you willing to welcome in people who look and act very differently than you? Why or why not?

Why do you think we need people who are unlike us to cause us to grow?

As a church, we care for one another like a family. What kind of care does this look like? How are doing in looking after the others in our church like family?

Jesus calls us to be His hands and feet. How can you be His hand and feet to hurting people this week?

III. Jesus and Church Power

A few times in the text Jesus’ power, in His teaching and healing, is highlighted. What are some of the ways that His power is shown in the text?

Why is it significant that Jesus defeated the devil in the wilderness and casting out demons in the text? What does this signify for us? How does Jesus’ power encourage you today?

We need to have a healthy, balanced view of evil and the devil. That the devil is real and is very powerful. However, he was defeated by Jesus and does not hold the kind of power over mankind that he uses to.

And that Jesus is true God and Lord, and His kingdom is breaking through now and will be fully consummated in the future. Jesus came to set is free from the bondage of our sin. Are there places in your life where you are bound and need Jesus to set you free?

IV. Jesus and Church Preaching

Jesus came to preach the good news to the poor, both physically and spiritually. This is the clearest statement by Him of why He came; to preach. We need God’s word in our life to minister to us.

Jesus came to open blind eyes to Him. How do you need Jesus to open your eyes? Do you feel lost or adrift in your life?

Jesus came to set the oppressed free. How do you need Jesus to lift the burden from you?

V. Pray for One Another