Category Archives: Payette River Vineyard

Colossians: Changing Our Relationships Patterns

Parents-FIGHTPublic reading: Colossians 3:16-4:3

An audio recording of this teaching can be found here.

  • I spend a lot of time in prayer and research about this passage
  • The sad history is that this passage has been use and abuse in some very cruel ways over the years
  • People have used the verses as a weapon
    • Hurting wives and women
    • Children
  • They were used before and during the Civil War as justification of slavery
    • You cannot simply replace the slaves/master language with employee/employer
    • Slavery was real then and now
  • If you are going to read the parts about husbands and wives, fathers and children as a divine rule for family life
    • Then you have to say that slavery is a divine rule
    • To be consist in your reading of the Scriptures
  • As you can imagine, this can cause problems as we, hopefully, all recognize that slavery is not something Jesus or God wants or designed
    • It is a product of our pride, greed and evil
  • So there must be another way to read these verses
    • A way that stay true to the Scripture
    • And true to the heart of God as reviled in and through Jesus
  • When reading the Bible, I believe there are three very, very important lens that we must look through
  • Jesus
  • Jesus is God relived to us
  • So when we have problems understanding what the Scriptures are saying, we look to the life, ministry and character of Jesus
  • If our interruption of Scriptures does not match that of the life and character of Jesus, we MUST rethink that passage!
  • The Trajectory of the Scriptures
  • What has God been doing throughout history?
  • What has been His focus?
  • What is the overarching theme of the Scriptures?
  • The Context of the Scriptures
  • St. Paul did not write Colossians in isolation; as such, we must ask ourselves what was happening in the Roman Empire during this time
The Passage at Hand
  • I’m going to re-read this passage in the Kingdom New Testament

Let the King’s word dwell richly among you, as you teach and exhort one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with grateful hearts. And whatever you do, in word or action, do everything in the name of the Master, Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the father.

Now a word for wives: you should be subject to your husbands. This is appropriate in the Lord. And for husbands: you should treat your wives with love, and not be bitter with them. And for children: obey your parents in everything; this pleases the Lord. And for fathers: don’t provoke your children to anger; otherwise they might lose heart.

A word, too, for slaves: obey your earthly masters in everything. Don’t do it simply out of show, to curry favor with human beings, but wholeheartedly, because you fear the Master. Whatever you do, give it your very best, as if you were working for the Master and not for human beings. After all, you know that you’re going to receive the true inheritance from the Master as your reward! It is the Master, the King, that you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be paid back for wrongdoing, and there will be no favorites.

And a word for master: do what is just and fair for your slaves. Remember that you too have a Master – in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer; keep alert in it, with thanksgiving. While you’re about it, pray for us, too, that God will open in front of us a door for the word, so that we may speak of the mystery of the King – which is why I’m here in chains.

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Colossians: Shadows

Sweet sunset 6Public Reading: Colossians 2:16-3:17

Author note: While teaching from this passage I felt led to go off my notes so the actual sermon is very, very different than these notes.

Sermon Notes
•    Paul is continuing on with the theme that he introduced a few verses beforehand
•    We are to walk after Jesus

o    Not to get caught up in human wisdom or philosophies

•    Jesus disarmed all the rulers and authorities of the world, spiritual and physical

o    Let us embrace Him
o    Let us walk forward, knowing that we died with Him though baptism
o    We are new creations – the beginning of something totally different

•    It may sound fanciful

o    A pipe dream
o    But it is a reality

•    The moment we stop believing and living that Jesus changed us, at that moment, we lose

o    We have too – if we really, really, believe Jesus
o    If we really, really believe the scriptures
o    We have too life as if we have been changed

•    We have to allow Jesus to change us

o    We have to give up the things of old
o    And embrace the new

•    This can be hard

o    It can be scary

•    The devil that we know can seem better than the devil we don’t know
•    We might have tried to change before – to embrace the newness of Jesus – only to get shot down

o    We might have gotten hurt by circumstances
o    We might have gotten hurt by people who didn’t allow us to walk forward

•    I understand this…

o    However, I’m not the one telling you to walk forward
o    Paul and Jesus is

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses. –Col 2:13

•    And once you know that you have been set free

o    Once you know that things are different

•    Well, once you have not rooted deep down in your heart and life
•    Then you can move forward without fear of judgment and ridicule

Continue reading Colossians: Shadows

Colossians: Alive in Christ

berries and leavesPublic Reading: Colossians 2:6-15

An audio file of sermon can be found on the PRV website.

Background Review

  • Before we jump into today’s passage, we need to remember the context for the passage
  • It is easy to simply read a passage within the Scriptures
    • There are great things there
    • A lot of times they can stand alone
    • Yet each verse is built upon another
    • They are also built upon the history of who wrote them, to who they were written too, etc.
    • Colossians, if we recall, was written by Paul and Timothy
      • Paul penned the book, but Timothy was there with him as seen by verse 1:1
      • They are writing to a church group they have never met
        • But has heard about
        • One of their friends started the church
        • Outline so far
          • 1:1-14 – Paul and Timothy telling the church what they had heard about them
            • Offer their prayers
            • The passage underscores how we are to rejoice with what God is going around the world
  • 1:15-23 – this was a great poetic piece outline the supremacy of Christ
    • Paul and Timothy are stating the basics
    • Reminding us that the basics are really where it is!
  • 1:24-2:5 – In fact, Paul goes go after this poetic piece to tell the church that it all about Jesus
    • Suffering on behalf of the church
    • Suffering to see the message of Jesus spread throughout the world
    • This brings us right up to our passage for the week

Alive in Christ

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

  • As the saying goes, if you see the word “therefore”, ask yourself what is it “there for”
  • Therefore, because it is in Jesus that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are hidden (vs 3)
    • Continue to live in him, rooted and build up on him
    • The EVS and the Kingdom NT ways to “walk in him” or “continue your journey in him”
    • Following Jesus is not a Sunday morning thing
      • It is not a rules, a do this or don’t do this thing
      • It is a heart change
      • It is a way of life
      • A way of living
      • This is why Paul goes on in vs 12  saying that we were buried with Jesus and raised with Him again
      • We are new creatures!
        • We are no longer the same person we once were
        • Yes, we have the same memories
        • Our heart is different
        • Our motivations are different
        • Yet a lot of times we don’t live that way
        • We allow the philosophy – the teachings of this world to govern our lives
          • This is why Paul says

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

  • There is a battle going on right now for your mind
    • You may be a child of God
    • You may be ‘saved’ and will go to heaven
    • But are you going to be effective for God’s Kingdom right now in 2014
    • A lot of us have bought into the empty philosophy of the stories around us
    • We come up with different reasons why we are still breathing
      • We say that we are here to be good parents, grand-parents
      • We have to help our kids
      • We are here to work and have a good life
        • Everything is going to burn in the end, so why don’t enjoy live now?
        • You can’t take anything with you, so let’s have some fun now?
        • Oh, I believe in Jesus, I go to church…. I’m a child of the Lord
        • But are you changing the world?
          • Are you actively asking Jesus what he is doing around you?
          • Are you actively pursuing His mission to bring His Kingdom into this area?
          • This is more than forcing everyone to go to church?
            • This is more than having guilt that you didn’t do xyz?
            • I’m taking about the journey of joining Jesus, you know, the guy who Paul talks about in vs 9 and 10?

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Colossians: Suffering and Mystery

Cross on wallPassage: Colossians 1:24-2:5

Audio file of sermon can be found at the PRV website.


  • There are two themes or concepts within this passage
    • Suffering for the sake of others
    • God’s Mystery


  • The first point is Paul’s suffering
    • He is a servant of the church
    • His suffering is to their benefit

The Kingdom NT Right now I’m having a celebration – a celebration of my sufferings, which are for your benefit! And I’m steadily completing, in my own flesh, what is presently lacking in the king’s afflictions on behalf of his body, which is the church. I became the church’s servant, according to the terms laid down by God when he gave me my commission on your behalf, the commission to fulfill God’s word. –Colossians 1:24-25

The Messsage:  I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God’s way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. –Colossians 1:24-25

  • St. Paul’s conversion
    • Commissioned to “carry my (God’s) name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
    • Acts 9:15b
    • Yes, St. Paul’s commission is not for everyone… I understand that
    • But each of us has a commission from Jesus to preach the Gospel and to love others as ourselves
    • This means that there will be times when we will have to celebrate, as Paul did, our sufferings on behalf of the church
      • Meaning, that there are times when we must set aside our own passions and dreams
      • Set aside our wants
      • For that which benefits and blesses the whole body
      • This is called humility

For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. –Romans 12:3-5

Colossians: The Preeminence of Christ

preeeminence of christSermon Series Intro

  • Last week we started a study on the book of Colossians
  • We looked at how Paul did not start the church there
    • Instead he rejoiced to hear that someone else took the message there
    • Starting new churches and spreading the gospel is not just for superstars, but for all believers
    • Today we are looking at the preeminence of Jesus

Public Reading: Colossians 1:15-23

An audio recording of this sermon can be found here.

A Hymn

  • Some Bible’s indent these verses
  • They are poetic – as in it is thought that Paul is quoting an early hymn or creed of Jesus followers
  • Others think that the hymn came into being through Paul
  • Either way, verses 15 through 20 provided us with an amazing look at who Jesus is
    • As well as the nature of God Himself

The Image

He is the image of the invisible God,  

  • Jesus is the “image” of God
  • Jesus said in John 14
    • Verse 7

If you had known me, you would have known my Father also”

  • Verse 9b-11

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.”

  • To take this seriously, is to read the entire Bible through the lens of Jesus
  • Jesus is God; if you want to know God, know and follow Jesus
    • You want to know how God would act, look at Jesus
    • You want to know what God said, look at Jesus

Continue reading Colossians: The Preeminence of Christ

Colossians: Introduction


Sermon notes for PRV’s new study through Colossians. Audio file can be found here.


  • Today (originally taught on January 5, 2014) we are starting a new series
  • Working through the book of Colossians
  • This book has popped up several times over the past month or so,
  • Looks to be in line where God is taken us


  • The theme, or overall message, of the book is
    • “Christ is Lord over all creation, including the invisible realm. He has secured redemption for his people, enabling them to participate with him in his death, resurrection, and fullness.”
    • Colossians is one of the most Jesus centered books of Paul’s
    • Focused on teaching the believers at Colossae that Jesus is the King and ruler of every area of their lives
    • Paul was also encouraging them to participate with Jesus
      • Embracing the good news that we have died with Jesus and been resurrected into a new life through Him
      • Now we can join with Jesus in changing the world for His sake
      • This, to me, fits with us in our journey with  Jesus
      • It is easy to forget that we are new beings through the power of Jesus’  blood
        • When we  bowed our knees to Jesus and gave our lives to  Him, the old stuff of the past was wiped away
        •  We are now new
        • With a new mind, heart, passion and mission
        • With a new year upon us, we need to stand  strong in this reality
        • We also need to embrace the part in Jesus’ mission that each of us have
        • We were not saved – set free from the evil one’s chains simply to live a good life
        • We were called – are called – to work with Jesus in changing the world
          • Setting things right
          • Crying with people, rejoicing with others
          •  Telling folks about the good news of God’s active and dynamic rule and reign.

Public Reading

  • Colossians 1:1-14

Continue reading Colossians: Introduction

Wild Goose Chase: Big Changes Coming In 2014

Wild Goose Chase PaintingWithin each life there are markers that one can look back upon knowing that they changed the trajectory of that life. This past Sunday was one such marker in Emily and my life as well as in the life of the Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

Namely, Emily and I asked the church to release us as pastors and to send us out on a new adventure with Jesus.

Yes, you read that correctly. Over the course of the next six to nine months, Emily and I will be stepping down as senior pastors of the Payette River Vineyard Christian Fellowship. We will also be selling our house this year and moving back to Boise for a time of sabbatical rest (hopefully by this fall if possible).

While there are many motivators in our lives pointing us this way, one of the biggest motivators is our desire to share the message of Jesus to others. Basically we would like start another church, as crazy as that may sound… there are just too many places that need a healthy, spirit-filled, kingdom of God community….and, well, we are craziness enough to “yes, Lord, send me.”

No, we don’t really know where we would start another church. We have a few places on our heart, but we don’t know for sure if that is where we are going to end up or if Jesus has another location in mind… at the present moment all we know for sure is that we are to transition out of PRV and get ready for the next adventure.

The really cool thing is that the Lord had prepared the PRV church members without our knowledge. We were all nervous about telling them what God had placed on our heart only to find out that God had already told most of them that we were leaving. It was an amazing thing! God had prepared the way for us, all we had to do start walking. 🙂

As you can imagine, we have a lot of work to do in 2014 to get ready… not only do we have to finish some repairs on the house and sell it, we have to locate a new pastor for the PRV Fellowship…. We are meeting on January 19th as a body to start a discernment process with that goal in mind… we will see what the Lord does (by the way, if anybody knows a good pastor, say one who wants to semi-retire to awesome mountain village in Idaho, let me know!)

All in all, 2014 should be an interesting year.  😛

The Power to Choose: Re-Thinking the Traditional Christmas Gift Giving Programs to the Financially Insecure

empowerBeing the season of giving, it is common to see advertisements and promotions for Christmas gift programs for the financial insecure. Groups such as Toys for Tots or Angel Tree cover the airwaves solicited toys to give to children whose parents are unable to purchase Christmas gifts. Churches across the country partner with these groups, or create their own program – all designed to bless families during this time of celebration. There are different types of programs created to ensure that families have what they need but cannot afford during the holidays. Some churches even have sought out unique gift-giving guides, similar to this instant pot holiday gift guide as well as others to ensure that they not only keep up with the latest trends but also have gifts that would bring great joy to those families.

It’s no shock that Christmas is an expensive time for families, even for those who are financially stable. Heading to sites like Raise for coupon codes and discounts can help, but for those who are financially struggling as it is, buying presents can be an impossible task, which is why these Christmas gift programs are so important. Of course, so many people do struggle to fund Christmas gifts for their friends and family. This can be difficult for a lot of people, but there are ways that people can purchase some gifts. By applying for online loans, those struggling with bad credit can gain access to a loan. This will help them to purchase some gifts, making sure that their Christmas is still magical.

Our church was no different. That is, until we feel into a game changing worldview shift on these traditional Christmas gift programs.

It all started last year at our food pantry and clothing closet. The food pantry director was tired of during with the paper work and regulations surrounding the Toys for Tots program as the benefit didn’t seem to match the work it took to pull of the program. Yet, she still wanted to do something for the families in the area…. so she started talking to some of the other pantry volunteers and they came up with an unique solution that “fit” our community and culture.

Before I tell you what they did, allow me to set the stage a bit more. Our church is located in a small rural village of 200 to 300 people tucked into the Idaho mountains with a strong sense of community. Many churches are now receiving donations to help continue with their sense of community, as well as helping those in need when they need it the most. According to these Church Giving Statistics, 49% of all donations are made with a card, (see data here). With this amazing help, churches can go from strength to strength, and I’d love to see this happen with our church too. In 2008 a few community gals (some connected to our church, some not) got together and started a clothing exchange in the back room of our local restaurant, The Triangle (a great place to eat by the way!!), where folks could get some ‘new-to-them‘ clothes for free (or in exchange for their old stuff, either way). This “clothing closet”, as it is known, was absorbed into the food pantry started by our church in the fall of 2009. Since then, we have given literally tons of clothes, shoes, boots, coats, and various household goods to people who needed them. (One of my favorite stories is of a young girl of ten who started bouncing with joy at getting her second pair of blue jeans. Just a small act, but one that carries a powerful message.)

The culture that developed out of this clothing closet was one of ‘shopping‘ – as in, folks were used to coming to the food pantry and browsing through the racks of clothes, looking for that perfect shirt or pair of pants. Knowing this, the volunteers thinking about the Christmas gift program came up with the idea of having a “Christmas Store” in which parents could ‘shop’ for gifts. Running with the concept, they set out long tables in the back dining room of the Triangle loaded with toys (new or gently used) according to various age ranges. Parents were then able to browse through the “store“, picking out presents for each of their kids before having the gifts wrapped and tagged. They also had bowls of punch, trays of cookies and some cakes there for the folks to munch on as they browsed. All in all, I believe about 50 kids received presents that year through the “store” (this year we are on track to provide gifts for 80 or so kids).

Yet the biggest impact of the “Christmas Store” was not the number of kids who received presents – nor the number of volunteers who gave their time, energy and/or funds to make it happen. The biggest impact – the game changer, so to speak – happened among the parents. Instead of receiving a box of toys chosen by a stranger, the parents were empowered to choose a toy themselves for their children. Little Johnny likes XYZ while Annie likes ABC; each parent, or grandparent as the case may be, had the opportunity to choose a gift for their love one.

Continue reading The Power to Choose: Re-Thinking the Traditional Christmas Gift Giving Programs to the Financially Insecure

Challenged by Jesus

thechallengingwordsofjesusLuke 20:20-47


•    Last week we talked about the authority of Jesus
•    The religious and social leaders of the day confronted Jesus to find out who gave Him permission to speak

o    Was it from man or God

•    Jesus responded with a story shaming them and highlighting Himself as the Son of God
•    Today we continue with this debate in a slightly different manner

Being Challenged by Jesus

•    This time instead of confronting Jesus straight on, the Chief Priests and Sadducees (social leaders) tried to trap Jesus through cleverly crafted questions
•    Jesus not only escapes these traps, he challenges them right back!

o    This is something Jesus has done to me multiple times
o    I go to Jesus with a certain viewpoint on a scripture thinking I know what it means only to be challenged by Jesus in seeing another part of God

•    Have you ever had this happen to you?

o    Yes?

•    God is SO HUGE and MYSTERIOUS that each of us can live a lifetime and still not know Him fully

o    St. Paul at the end of his life – after he had planted multiple churches, successful debated multiple enemies, changed the face of history and written some of the most read letters in all of human history – says that he is among foremost sinners (chief sinner in some versions).
o    St. Paul was, of course, one who experienced one of the biggest challenges of Jesus ever recorded.

*    He was passionately against Jesus – thinking that he was right on every verse in the OT
*    Jesus challenged him on the road to Damascus and changed his entire life

•    The Gospel of John records Jesus telling his followers that he was going to send the Holy Spirit to guide and teach them as he was unable to teach them everything at that time

o    In other words, there was to be this ongoing process of learning and being challenged by the Holy Spirit

  12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.  (John 16:12-15)

Continue reading Challenged by Jesus


sorrowLuke 19:28-48

Entry into Jerusalem

•    Jesus has finally reached Jerusalem

o    He has been walking towards the capital since Luke 9:51 – when a Samaritan village refused to let him path through because he was going to Jerusalem
o    Luke 18:31-34 Jesus told his followers that he was going to Jerusalem to die

•    It was an emotional day
•    Jesus sent two of this followers into Bethphage to get a colt

o    A great example of faith and following the words of Jesus!

•    As Jesus rides into Jerusalem the crowds starts singing praises

o    A blessings from Psalms 118:26

•    They also lay down their cloaks and wave palm branches

o    A sign of respect for the coming of a king

•    Zechariah 9:9

o    God will judge the nations around Israel
o    Jerusalem will shout in triumph for her King will come
o    The people of Judah and Israel (the northern tribes) will be delivered because of the blood of the convent with God

•    Some of the Pharisees told Jesus to stop the crowds

o    Jesus said that if he did, the stones would cry out
o    Reminds me of Romans 8 in which Paul says that creation itself awaits the coming King
o    Psalms 19 also talks about creation declaring the glories of God

Cries over the City

•    As Jesus drew near the city, he stops and begins to weep
•    As he cries, he gives a prophecy about Jerusalem and the nation

o    If they would have recognized Him, they would have had peace
o    But now peace is hidden from them
o    War and pain would be their lot and the city would be destroyed

•    This happened in 70 AD when the people of Israel revolted against the Roman Empire

o    They were catching another Messiah
o    They thought that they could send up God’s Kingdom by themselves

Continue reading Sorrow