Sermon on the Mount – Devo #22 “New Concept: God is Our Father”

Focus verse: Matt. 6:9 “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”

Thirty years of walking on the earth, our Lord watched men pray; the hypocrites to be seen by men, the pagans to use vain repetitions.  Disdainfully, Jesus tells His disciples not to do this.  He gave us the model prayer which is outlined by first addressing God as our Father.  This was a new concept to His Jewish followers who only prayed to God as Adoni (Lord) and Elohim (God).

This new concept, God is our Father, we are His children, was God’s plan from the Garden of Eden; even from the foundation of the world (Matt. 13:34-35; John 17:24).  Jesus is communicating to humanity that the heart of God is to have a Fatherly relationship with humans.  After all, He is the Father of Adam, and we are the children of Adam.  The Son of God would become the Son of Man (Matt. 8:20) so that the sons of men could become the sons of God.

When we see God as our Father in Heaven, we realize that we can come to Him to know His will for our lives, “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.  We can also look to Him for the provision of our daily bread (“Give us this day our daily bread.”), the grace to help us forgive others (“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”), and the protection to deliver us from evil (“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”).

When we see God in this way, we realize that we’re not serving some all-powerful, unapproachable Being.  Rather, we are serving the all-powerful Father God who desires us to come to Him as His children, trusting Him with every aspect of our lives (Heb. 4-16).

Stuart Fagen

Discussion question:

  • Is God’s provision only food (our daily bread)? What else does He provide to us?   Next Week’s Scripture: Matthew 6:12-15

Differences Put in Perspective

“This I Believe (The Creed)” is another one of the new songs that we will begin singing together as a congregation from Volume 2 of the MSC Playlist.

 I have a very helpful app on my phone called YouVersion  which allows me to search through a vast database of devotional plans. I came across this devotional thought shared by Ben Fielding, one of the writers of this song:

Words are powerful. They have the potential to bring us together and the potential to tear us apart. In an address to the Canadian Parliament, President John. F. Kennedy declared that “What unites us is far greater than what divides us”. He sought to bring together two countries in agreement; focusing not on their differences, but on that which might bring them together. How much more is this declaration true for those who believe in the name of Jesus? (Matt 18:19-20).

What I have seen is that while division has at times marked the Christian Church, there is one Name that ultimately unites us all. Though we place emphasis on different elements of our religious practices, it is at the point of our most fundamental beliefs that our differences are put in perspective.

This song is based on the Apostles’ Creed – a creed that for centuries has brought the Church together in unity, a proclamation of the heart of our faith. Romans 10 says that if we believe in our hearts that Jesus rose from the dead and we confess with our mouths that He is Lord, we will be saved. There is a power when what we believe in our hearts is brought together with the confession of our lips.

Our prayer is that this song would continue to do what the great creeds have done for centuries – bring people together in unity with one another and ultimately with God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ the Son.

We are individuals; a part of our local churches; a part of the great history of the global Church. We are a representation of Jesus who was there in the beginning and is beyond time itself. As we sing this proclamation together in unity, the Bible tells us that when we gather in His Name – He is amongst us.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

Verse 1

Our Father everlasting

The all creating One

God Almighty

Through Your Holy Spirit

Conceiving Christ the Son

Jesus our Saviour

Chorus 1

I believe in God our Father

I believe in Christ the Son

I believe in the Holy Spirit

Our God is three in One

I believe in the resurrection

That we will rise again

For I believe in the Name of Jesus

Verse 2

Our judge and our defender

Suffered and crucified

Forgiveness is in You

Descended into darkness

You rose in glorious life

Forever seated high


I believe in You

I believe You rose again

I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord

Chorus 2

I believe in life eternal

I believe in the virgin birth

I believe in the saints’ communion

And in Your holy Church

I believe in the resurrection

When Jesus comes again

For I believe in the Name of Jesus

Check out this devotional video behind the song from one of the writers, Ben Fielding:

You can hear the song here:

And if you wish to purchase the song on iTunes click on this link:

“This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong

Jeremy Ellis

Mountain Springs Church


Attachments area

Preview YouTube video Day 2 This I believe

Day 2 This I believe

Preview YouTube video This I Believe (The Creed) – Hillsong Worship

This I Believe (The Creed) – Hillsong Worship

Sermon on the Mount – Devo #21 “Sin or Sincerity”

Focus verse: Matt. 6:5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites.”

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Our faith determines what we do in life and how we go about doing it.  If our faith has truly been placed in our living creator, Jesus Christ, for salvation and forgiveness then we will find ourselves humbled in the presence of His perfection.  We will stop worrying about the earthly standards which are set by prideful people, and our eyes will be fixed upon the One who loves us unconditionally.

The appearance of having faith may be convincing to those who are focused on outward things, but our heavenly Father understands our motives.  When we lack the inspiration or compassion to carry out an objective that God desires for us to do, we must be careful not to fake it.  It would be easier to just go through the motions and make everyone around us believe that we have it all together, but God has commanded us to not be like the hypocrites.  And so He teaches us how to pray.  We seek after and pray to our Father that He will give us the needed inspiration and compassion by His Holy Spirit.  He knows what we need before we ask, and all too often what we need is not physical, but spiritual.

Only by God’s grace can we walk in humbleness with Him.  Only by seeking after Him with all of our heart can we have confidence by faith that he will reward us with those things which we desperately need.  Faith is not quantified by many words spoken, but by a heart which is directed towards God like a compass needle facing north.  We must find that place in our lives that is free from distractions; a place where other things will not pull our compass off center.  Once we seek Him in prayer and receive daily those things that God promises – will we be able to live a life that reflects Jesus, and others will recognize our sincerity and they will glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Andy Bliss

Discussion question:

  • How do we become truly genuine before God and people?   Next Week’s Scripture: Matthew 6:9-13

Sovereign Over Us

“Sovereign Over Us” is one of the new songs that we will begin singing together as a congregation from Volume 2 of the MSC Playlist. The song is written primarily by a songwriter named Aaron Keyes. I had the privilege of meeting Aaron as a part of The Worship School, a discipleship school for worship leaders that took place over the course of six months last year in Spokane, WA. Even though the song was fairly well known, the first time I heard it was Aaron Keyes sharing it completely unplugged with a guitar and his voice in a room full of worship leaders. I instantly knew that the song had to be shared with our congregation. Here are the lyrics to the song:

Verse 1

There is strength within the sorrow

There is beauty in our tears

And You meet us in our mourning

With a love that casts out fear

Verse 2

You are working in our waiting

Sanctifying us

When beyond our understanding

You’re teaching us to trust


Your plans are still to prosper

You’ve not forgotten us

You’re with us in the fire and the flood

Faithful forever perfect in love

You are sov’reign over us

Verse 3

You are wisdom unimagined

Who could understand Your ways

Reigning high above the heavens

Reaching down in endless grace

Verse 4

You’re the lifter of the lowly

Compassionate and kind

You surround and You uphold me

And Your promises are my delight


Even what the enemy means for evil

You turn it for our good

You turn it for our good

And for Your glory

Even in the valley You are faithful

You’re working for our good

You’re working for our good

And for Your glory

Michael W. Smith is one of the artists that has recorded a version of this song. Check out this video in which he shares some impactful insights about why he believes the body of Christ needs to sing this song:

You can hear an acoustic version of the song here:

And if you wish to purchase the song on iTunes click on this link:

“Sovereign Over Us” by Aaron Keyes

Jeremy Ellis

Mountain Springs Church


Attachments area

Preview YouTube video Michael W. Smith – Sovereign Over Us – The Importance of the Song

Michael W. Smith – Sovereign Over Us – The Importance of the Song

Preview YouTube video Aaron Keyes – Sovereign Over Us

Aaron Keyes – Sovereign Over Us

Sermon on the Mount – Devo #20 “Good For Him”

Focus verse: Matt. 6:2 “… when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do …”

In the parable of the widows mites (Luke 21:1-4), Jesus spoke of the rich putting their large gifts into the temple treasury while the widow put in two mites (each worth about 1/8th of a cent).  Jesus said that the offerings of the rich were out of their abundance while hers was a greater gift, as it was all she had.

In Matt 6:1-4 Jesus warns us to do our charitable deeds for the right reasons, glorifying God.  He said don’t be a hypocrite like the Pharisees.  The word ‘hypocrite’ in the original Greek described an actor; one who puts on a false face.  The Pharisees were like actors in word and deed, seeking public recognition rather than truly serving God.  They were getting their rewards on earth, while those who give in private out of a pure heart toward God will get their rewards in heaven.

During the winter of 1999 my wife, young son and I moved to Casper, WY for a new job.  We knew no one, Amy was pregnant with our second child and I was putting in over 50 hours a week at a new job.  We attended Calvary Baptist church a few times, but weren’t plugged in and didn’t know anyone there yet.  Our world was turned upside down after I suffered a series of strokes and was hospitalized.  The generous outpouring from the church congregation was overwhelming.  They hardly knew us, but the pastor sat with me while my wife tended to our son, and he even picked up my mom at the airport for us.  Others came by with meals and cards, plowed our driveway and babysat; all examples of charitable deeds and acts of kindness without expecting recognition.

Scripture teaches us that we are to do these things in secret from a pure heart and not to be hypocrites (Jer. 17:10).  As we realize that God knows the true motives of our heart (Heb. 4:13), we will want our deeds to be truly unto Him and not man.

Dirk Fess

Discussion question:

  • Do you want to bring all glory to God and encourage others to glorify Him too? Or are you looking to be praised by others for your works?   Next Week’s Scripture: Matthew 6:5-8

Sermon on the Mount – Devo #19 “Love Instead of Hate”

Focus verse: Matt. 5:44 “… love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you …”

It is easy to live our lives by the principle of “What Goes around Comes Around.”  We love those who do good to us, but hate those who do wrong against us.  We love those who give us time, resources and attention, but hate those who seek to steal, cheat and destroy us.  What good can come forth from a mentality such as this?

When we stop and think about the cross, what comes to mind?  We may naturally think of the sacrifice of God’s one and only Son for the sins of the world.  Or we may think about the initial suffering our Savior endured.  But, we must also stop and remember why Jesus went to the cross and who He went to the cross for.  The ‘why Jesus went to the cross’ is because of His great love for us; “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).  The ‘who He went to the cross for’ was for those who were enemies of His righteousness.  Without Christ, we are unrighteous before God and that unrighteousness makes us enemies of God.  That did not stop Him from making the sacrifice, out of love, so that we could become righteous through Christ and through Christ alone.

Let’s break this mold and mindset of wanting to give our enemies what they deserve.  Remember that if God had the same mindset we have toward our enemies, we would never have had the chance of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ.  When the world and our flesh tell us to ‘hate those who hate us’ and to ‘give what is due’, let us do the contrary and remember the words Jesus Himself spoke; “love your enemies”.  Then, we must back it up with action; loving instead of hating.  “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Prov. 10:12).

Lance Abeyta

Discussion question:

  • Do you have the mindset to give your enemies what they deserve? If so, how can you break through that mindset in order to love your enemies just as Jesus loves you?   Next Week’s Scripture: Matthew 6:1-4

Astonished – Playlist – Volume 2

Astonished – Playlist – Volume 2 (Matthew 6:5-24)

The songs below are “Volume 2” of the MSC playlist. We will begin using these songs in our services starting Sunday, March 1st, 2015. They will take us through Matthew 6:24 in our Astonished teaching series.

Here is the link for the Youtube Playlist:

For those that might wish to download the songs via iTunes or however you purchase music, here are the song titles and artists, as well as iTunes links to the songs:

“Holy, Holy, Holy (God With Us)” by Matt Maher

“Jesus I Come” by Elevation Worship

“Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong

“This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong

“Christ Be All Around Me” by Leeland

“Hands To The Heavens” by Kari Jobe

“Breathe On Us” by Kari Jobe

“Waiting Here For You” by Martin Smith

“Sovereign Over Us” by Aaron Keyes

“The King Is Among Us” by Elevation Worship

Starting next week we will begin sharing the stories and inspiration behind the songs. For more info, contact Jeremy Ellis:

Jeremy Ellis

Mountain Springs Church


Sermon on the Mount – Devo #18 “Reciprocity”

Focus verse: Matt. 5:38-42 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’

That is how I used to live. Not all that turn the other cheek stuff and blessing others, but the reciprocal stuff; “I’ll hit you back harder”, that was me. The other stuff, being forgiving when someone offends me, being willing to sacrifice my stuff when they want it, or to serve someone without getting something in return, or being generous when giving, no way, it was my stuff, my time, my money!

Looking back I see all those wasted years of living with the attitude “Me first, not you” and I shake my head considering the foolishness of this view of life. When Jesus came along and said to me “Assuredly, I say to you”, he showed me a better way to live that comes with forgiveness of my past, a hope that is found nowhere else, in no one else…sounds like a deal to me, my past for His future.

Now I see God’s hand at work, doing major surgery, giving me a brand new heart. I can tell because when the same kinds of things happen today, where in the past, well….you know how I responded.  Now, I can respond totally different; “… whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (Matt 5:39).  I can respond in a loving manner, forgiving when slapped or insulted.  If you want my stuff (really God’s stuff) so bad that you will sue me for it, just take it.  Let me help you with it.  If you force me, guilt me into helping you, let me serve you; and if you need money or some employment, let me help.

If this is the price to be paid to share the love and forgiveness Jesus Christ has for all, it is a small price to pay. Even if you wipe your feet on me like a doormat.

Are you like me in any way? Wait; don’t compare yourself to me, but to Christ and what he says.

Mike VanDyken

Discussion question:

  • In times past have you been guilty of practicing ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’? What were the circumstances? Looking back, how should you have handled that offense against you by the other person?    Next Week’s Scripture: Matthew 5:43-48

The Lord’s Army

Let’s face it, life can be messy.  As a person who likes order, at times I am reluctant to engage with others because I don’t want a mess encroaching on my order.  Coming to Mexico has challenged my order on so many different levels.  Some of the time order has gone completely out the window.  But that has challenged me to look at what “my order” has been about.  It has been about my wants, my comfort, my desires and feelings.  I sometimes jokingly say, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.  We all laugh but when I say that am I putting off someone with whom God wants me to engage?  The words of 1 Peter 3:15 come to mind.  If I am to be prepared to give a reason, I can suffice it to say that I am to be engaging those around me.  Otherwise, why would I need to be prepared?  In 2 Timothy 4:2 we see we are to be ready in season and out.  That not only speaks of preparedness but I think it also speaks to be engaged in the world around you.
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