A Rant: Sin Vs Dumb

by Aaron
Sometimes I just like to rant about something that really bugs me, what's great about that is I have a forum to do it…it's called Element's blog. You don't have to read it, I don't have to write it, but I did and now you do, that's how it works.
 
I am reading a book right now, which isn't surprising if you know me. The author of this book got me thinking because he started talking about the difference between something that was a sin verses something that was just dumb.
  • If you spend all your money trying to soup up your car or your home stereo and have no savings for an emergency…it is not necessarily a sin, it's just dumb.
  • If you only have a part time job so you can play your video games to the wee hours of the night and become your clan’s next "guild leader," it may not be a sin, but it is just dumb.
Young men will often say things like "it's not a sin," like this author points out "neither is eating your cereal box instead of the cereal, it's just dumb." 
 
It's like I wrote about a few weeks ago, it is the idea of legacy, "what are we leaving behind us." Today a single woman is more likely to go to college, have a job, attend church, and have a driver's license then a young man (18-34 years old). Marketing companies target 18-34 year old males because they don't know what it means to be men as they try to fill their lives by what they consume and not what they produce.
 
I know it is easier to rant then give answers, and I want to encourage young men to actually want more than what our culture or their friends are driven by. I want young men, all men, to be those who lead those around them into something greater, who know what a true faith centered on Jesus looks like and is lived like, and are not afraid to take a stand for the truth even when assaulted by craziness from all sides.
 
If you are a reading this blog I would like you to consider praying to Jesus about:
  • Not only your rights, but also your responsibilities
  • How to give instead of take
  • How to meet obligations without expecting anything in return
  • How to wait until you can afford things rather than going into debt
  • The difference between work and fun (which goes back to responsibilities)
We must be a people a who honor Jesus with how we live…and I believe God's men must lead that way, because right now they are leading nowhere. It may not be a sin, but it is dumb. Let's move in Jesus' direction together.

A Call to Resurgence

What's Next For Element

by Element Christian Church


An update on what's happening at Element and what lies in our future. There will be much more to come, but for now we ask for your prayers. If you attend Element, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for any questions you have.

 

HALLOWEEN IS FOR MISSION

by Michael Reed
This week is Halloween, and like every year at Element we encourage you to see it as an opportunity to be missional to your neighbors (which means find a way to participate).
 

Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 
We call this the great commission. Jesus’ parting words to his early disciples (followers) after He conquered death and the grave. Read those words in light of Halloween, a holiday that celebrates death. The beauty of those words is that our Savior has conquered death by His resurrection…and then with All Authority in Heaven and on Earth, Jesus sends us, His disciples, out into the world to make more disciples. He promises that He is with us always, to the end of the age. If we believe this is true, then what can we fear from October 31st?
 
Sadly, what’s happened is we have gotten our premise all wrong, as Jesus never promised our comfort or safety. He never promised a carefree life, which is why He doesn’t call us to live as a bomb-shelter church – where we gather as a community of believers and bolt the doors behind us so nobody else can come in.
 
To be missional is simply a mindset of living your life as a missionary to a world that is in need of the Good News of the Gospel. We are called to be God’s ambassador and go out into the culture around us and make disciples who go out and make disciples who go out and make disciples. This means we need a heart for the lost, and willingness to share the gospel with those in our lives who need to hear it. It also means that we build relationships with those outside the church – that we create spaces to get to know people in our neighborhoods, places of work, our city.
 
Halloween is a fantastic night to start the process of getting to know your neighbors, and more importantly, letting your neighbors get to know you and your Gospel Community. This isn’t the night to hit them over the head with bible verses; it’s a night to participate in a cultural holiday in a redeemed way. It’s a night to show that there is something different about Christians, that you do care about your neighbors (because Jesus cared first), and that you don’t just want to pass out candy as an obligation, but you do want to take some time and talk.
 
But what do you do? I love this article: 12 simple ways to be Missional this Halloween. I would encourage you to read is written about each one of them, they are all fantastic ideas and might spark something more….
 
BE HOSPITBALE:

1.     Give out the best Candy.
2.     Think of the Parents.
3.     Be Present.
4.     Be Encouraging.
5.     Party.
6.     Learn The Stories <- Very important!

 
GO TO THEIR PLACE: Join what is happening

7.     Attend the party.
8.     Join the community.
9.     Head to the “Watering Holes”

 
BE PRAYERFUL: Ask the Spirit to lead, guide & work

10.    Pay Attention.
11.    Stay Dependent.
12.    Open Doors.

Remember, in the midst of having fun, herding your children, trying to stay warm or simply not wanting to participate at all: Jesus has all authority and we don’t have anything to be fear! 

 

How Many Pumpkins?

by Element Christian Church
This Sunday is our annual Pumpkin Killing and we thought we would play a little game to see who gets to launch the cannon first! How many pumpkins are in the pile pictured below? Either text in your vote to 805.310.4229 or go to our facebook page and guess in the comment section. And we'll see you Sunday at 2pm.

How Many Pumpkins?


UPDATE: Congratulations to Sarah McCool for closest guess of 275 pumpkins. There were a total of 279 total!

Sarah Launching the first pumpkin!

JESUS || NEW SERMON SERIES STARTS THIS SUNDAY

by Element Christian Church
This Sunday we begin a new series called Jesus. Each week we will look at an attribute of Jesus from different perspectives. The series will be taught by Aaron as well as different leaders of Element. If you missed Sunday's promo video, you can watch it below or check out the series page for the breakdown each week.


At Element we are all about one thing, we beat one drum, it may get old, but it is the only hope the world has ever had…His name is Jesus. Jesus is King of kings, Lord of lords, hope of the world, light to mankind, savior of rich and poor, men and women, and everyone and everything else.

Every message at Element is about Jesus, but this fall…all the way through Christmas, we will be taking an even more in depth look at the amazing-ness of who He is. Jesus has inspired people for ages, He continues to inspire, and this series is part of that inspiration.

Element U Week One Recap

by Aaron
We know some of you missed Element U week one and we wanted to give you a re-cap of it in case you were coming this Wednesday for part II. Understand, this re-cap is not all inclusive and you probably won't understand all that we talked about without LISTENING to last week's Element U.
 
Week one we discussed the differences in worldviews that are clashing in our culture today. These two world views have been described by Dr Peter Jones as One-ism and Two-ism (We recommend you read One or Two by Peter Jones and Doctrine by Mark Driscol and Gerry Breshears as most of this can be found in those books). The lie is what we call one-ism. One-ism is the pagan doctrine (of Idolatry)…it is the teaching and belief that there is no distinction between Creator and creation, and/or a denial that there is a Creator. The popular word for this notion is monism. One-ism is what our culture, TV shows, new media, government, and spiritual leaders are all espousing: the eradication of boundaries and differences to bring opposites together as one.
 
As a worldview, one-ism is antithetical to Christian two-ism because it seeks to place everything in the one circle.
  1. There is no distinction between God the creator and creation.
  2. There is no distinction between God and mankind.
  3. There is no distinction between good and evil.
  4. There is no distinction between mankind and animals.
  5. There is no distinction between mankind and creation.
  6. There is no distinction between men and women.
  7. There is no distinction between religions.
A Christian who makes distinctions (such as between God and man, Jesus and Satan, angels and demons, heaven and hell, man and animals, holiness and sin, the Bible and other texts, male and female, truth and error, good and evil) is considered a fundamental threat to the utopian world of peace, love, and oneness.
 
3 points of a Monist (or One-ism) worldview.
     1)    All is One and One is All (A Circle - O)
Every system that does not accept God as creator is a monistic system at its core.
     2)    Humanity is One
     3)    All religions are one

The push of one-ism, and our culture today, is that all religions must come together to make sure that the circle is complete. The power of the circle is the pull to unity, to coming together. One-ism defines the essence of Christianity as the fundamental problem with the world (that God makes distinctions).
 
We will be a people who can step into this dialog when we understand that there is a God and He is separate from His creation, yet stepped into it to save us. We must stop FIGHTING for victory and realize Jesus has already WON the victory, our job is to now win people over with grace and truth.
 
The fundamental distinction is that there is a creator and we are the creation. We are a people who have sinned and rebelled against our good and holy God. Yet God stepped into HIS creation in the person of Jesus to rescue a people who could not rescue themselves. Jesus died for our sin, for our brokenness, to bring us back into saving relationship with our creator. The reason Christianity is the threat that it is, why you will see more and more attacks against it, is that fundamental to who we are is the belief that there is a creator and we are creation. He is separate and distinct from us.

It's A Question of Definition Part II (Consumption or Love)

by Aaron

In the last blog I talked about how we are too often defined by what we consume and not our legacy that we are to leave behind us. This misunderstanding of our calling has led ultimately to our misunderstanding of everything including love.
 
It is why today fathers don’t understand how to love their children, because we have made love a self-serving endeavor. We convince ourselves that love is simply being nice because being nice is simply a way to make our lives easier. Too many fathers will tell their children when something is wrong, but will not lead them to what is right. Too many fathers will not lead their homes, but only point out what is wrong in their homes to others. When asked they will say it is out of love (I know, I have heard it many times).
 
But God has called Himself: Father. What does love look like when our heavenly father talks about it?

  • John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son…” This tells us love is about sacrifice and hope. God’s love allowed His son to die to bring you and I into His family.
  • Romans 5:8 “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“ God’s love as a Father calls sin “sin,” but then also does something about it.
  • 1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God’s love doesn’t wink at sin and say it’s OK; God’s love points out what sin is and then leads us to grace.

Through the scriptures we read what God’s love is and does…God’s love changes us, it makes us become different people. If our lives are not changing in light of God’s love for us, then we either do not understand God’s love, or are not truly living in it.
 
Back to earthly fathers today… If the way you love your wife and your children is not changing them for the better, then your love is not like God’s love. Real love, like God’s love, brings change in those who are receiving that love. That means love will call sin what it is, not slough off responsibility onto someone or something else; it will step into a mess and help our families change. If you are not willing to do that, then you aren’t willing to love and simply want to continue to be defined by what you consume.

  • Sometimes love means we stop enabling those we care about to continue to live in ways that dishonor God in our own homes.
  • Sometimes love means we show we the mistakes people make to run the course of their consequences.
  • Sometimes love means we seek out the hurt and lonely and rescue them.

Sometimes love is all those things, but love is never inactive, and it innately calls and breeds change. Reflect and inspect what your vision of “love” accomplishes and see if lines up with God’s love as our Father, and how He loves us.

It's A Question of Definition

by Aaron
I’ve been wanting to talk about something for awhile, its more like a soapbox type issue for me so I have been waiting until I can work it in on a Sunday morning...but that won’t happen for awhile so I am going to blog about it.
 
Sunday morning I was talking to a young man, by young man I mean over 18 but under 21, the type of guy who should have a job but doesn’t. He applies for jobs (online) but spends more time playing video games than actually looking for work or thinking of his legacy. He is like most young men today and I have told him this stuff before, so if he reads this blog it will not be a shock.
 
As we are talking he tells me about this new video game he is playing, a side mission of this game allows you to train your dog to poop on your neighbor’s lawn…he thinks this is funny. He also has the strategy guide for this game on his lap while he plays this video game, and it is probably the most interest he has shown in a book the entire time he was in school.
 
Now, please don’t think I am pointing at this young man as if to say, “look how terrible he is,” I point it out because it is something that our culture encourages…it is a matter of definitions. What I mean by that is today we are allowing ourselves to be defined by what we consume rather than the legacy God calls us to leave.
 
We are defined by:
  • the car we drive,
  • the job we have,
  • the person (or amount of people) we date,
  • the clothes we wear,
  • the video game we play,
  • the house we live in,
and a million other things.
 
It is why we can think it is funny to spend valuable time training a video game dog to poop on someone’s lawn in a fake world, all the while ignoring the legacy of grace, truth and mercy that should be on display in our life. It is why it can seem perfectly reasonable to someone to not have a job yet find enough money to get a new smartphone so they can talk to everyone online, because it defines them.
 
Deuteronomy 6:6-8 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise….V20“When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes…you were to say V24 …for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. God always wanted His peoples focus to be a good legacy, but our focus today is ourselves and what we consume…and not our legacy.
 
Not only must our hearts change, but our lives must change as well. A legacy is what we need to leave, not just for our children, but also for our family, friends, neighbors, nation, and world.
 
Think bigger; think about what comes after you.

It doesn't end here....part 2 coming next week.


Spinning Wheels

by Aaron
Do ever feel like you are just doing the same thing doing the same thing over and over doing the same thing over and over in your life and yet everything is still the same and nothing changes? Maybe a bit like a rat in wheel that runs and runs and never goes anywhere (much like a person on a treadmill)? I admit that I have felt that way recently, partly because I have become so busy that my focus has become getting the next thing done and never looking up.
 
I was driving through Santa Maria just a few weeks ago and thought of all the streets that would get me where I needed to go quicker, with less traffic lights, and less people…just to get my ‘stuff’ done. As I was driving I actually looked up and saw the hills that ring the valley we live in and I was taken back at how beautiful the central coast truly is. It made me start to think about how I am trying to get things done with out the intrusion of people who will mess up MY plan…and yet God made us to be a people who are intimately involved with others. 
 
I took another, albeit mental, step back and thought about how much easier it would be for God to get stuff done with out the intrusion of people messing it all up, and yet He uses us anyway. It kind of puts a different perspective about slowing down and noticing not just the creation around us, but also the creatures around us. We serve a God who is worthy of worship and honor, yet it is when we worship ourselves and/or others that we begin to feel like we are spinning our wheels…because we think they are OUR wheels.
 
In Romans 1:25 tells us about humanity, that they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! This wasn’t just true in Paul’s day; it is true in ours as well. We have made ourselves the center of our lives, we have become consumed with ourselves, and so feel like we are spinning our wheels because we aren’t getting ahead to where we want to be…we have made it all about us.
 
How about the next time you feel restless, the next time you want to convince yourself something is OK when you know the scriptures speak against it, or you feel like you are spinning your wheels, take a step back and look around. Look around at God’s word, His creation, and His creatures and see why those wheels are spinning…and maybe whom you are actually worshipping. Maybe the rat wheel will stop; then you can step off and surrender all of your energies to His ambition for your life.
 
Worship and serve the Creator and not the creation.

Baptism Stories - September 1, 2013

by Element Christian Church

Last Sunday was our Baptisms, and we had 8 people baptized! If you didn't make it, or missed reading the stories, this week's blog is simply a link to them. Please read them, be excited for them, and always stand amazed at the goodness of our great God.

 

What's All The Fuss?

by Aaron

It’s the oddest thing when I run into Christians, who claim to be followers of Jesus for years, and yet have never been baptized. Please don’t take that as a judgment against you if you haven’t, I am simply stating that it puzzles me because it is one of the concrete things, written in black and white, that Jesus specifically said to do (or at least told his disciples to be doing).
 
Matt 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
 
Baptism is more than just a show; it is more than an awkward few moments in front of people in pool, it is more than simply another step in the life of Christian. Baptism is a public acknowledgment, in front of a body of people (that you believe are family), that you publically identify with Jesus and his calling. It is a celebration of life and hope.
 
In the early church the identification with Christianity in Baptism could also get you killed, so it was a deeply moving event. As time progressed all sorts of extraneous beliefs got laid upon baptism, such as believing that baptism forgave sins. In the later second century, and for hundreds of years, people waited until they were near death to be baptized so they could get the most sins forgiven.
 
Theologically speaking, ALL of your sins were laid upon Jesus at the cross; baptism doesn’t make God forgive you more, like you more, or love you more. Baptism is symbolic in that you understand what it took for God to declare us righteous in His sight. Jesus’ death (symbolized in the burial as we are submerged under the water), and rising to walk in resurrected life (symbolized by us coming back out of the water) is what makes us righteous before a wholly holy, wholly good, and wholly loving God.
 
Baptism is also an event that is meant to be shared, so we invite all of you to come and celebrate with us this coming Sunday…and if you would like to be baptized its not too late to sign up, we would love to celebrate with you.

Baptisms & Labor Day BBQ 9/1/13

by Element Christian Church


Join us September 1st at 1pm at 1371 Solomon Road. To learn more about baptism, click here. Baptisms are not magical, but they are a deeply spiritual event that reflects the work Jesus has done in our lives and for that we celebrate when we see life transformation within our church family!

We will then be having a BBQ afterwards in celebration. We are combining with Labor day. Kids are welcome to swim after baptisms!

What to Bring: Element is BBQing Tritip, making bread & beans, beverages. We ask you bring the following if your last name begins with:
  • AL - Desserts - (Few dozen)
  • MZ - Salad - or Side Dish

Other items to bring:

  • Folding chairs
  • Sunscreen
  • EzPopup tents
  • Lawn games
  • Extra Cookies
  • Pool Floaties
  • Swimsuits/Towels

Conscience VS Holy Spirit

by Aaron
Last Sunday we talked about the Stupid Summer misconception that our Conscience Should Be Our Guide, I am so surprised only one person asked me what the Holy Spirit's role was in all this. I tried to keep the message simple, expecting more people to ask, but only one did (she is very astute). So, I will answer her question and hopefully help you along the way.
 
As we talked about during the message, our conscience, like all of us, has been contaminated by sin. It is why Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 says he doesn't trust his own clear conscience. When we are brought to life (spiritually speaking) by the grace of God, we are told that the "old self" (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15, 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-11) has been put to death with Christ, but not necessarily "the flesh." There is a difference because "the flesh" continues to wage war in us versus what God desires.
 
The conscience is something we have nurtured for years before being remade and renewed by the Spirit of God, which means there will be many times God's Spirit and our conscience are at war (not all times, but some times). Our conscience, because it has been with us from the beginning, will many times try to find ways to condone or excuse our actions when they are sinful. Essentially our consciences don't go away when we follow Jesus, but they are now subjected to the Spirit of God.
 
A good way to tell the difference many times between conscience and Holy Spirit is that the Spirit of God will NEVER contradict the WORD of God. Over time the Spirit of God will also renew and reshape our conscience as we WASH it in the word of God. This is why sometimes I believe people are torn in a decision because God's Spirit in us is pulling one way and our conscience the other.
 
Charles Stanley once wrote, "When you became a Christian, a change began to occur in your conscience. The basic moral code that everyone has at birth started to be overhauled. The Spirit of truth took up residency in your heart. Then, whether you were aware of it or not, He immediately set about to reprogram your conscience. Whereas before you had a general sense of right and wrong, the Holy Spirit began renewing your mind to more specific and complete truths (1 Corinthians 2:10–13)."
 
Something else I read while researching this message said that it is like the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our hearts in the same way that Christ intercedes for us in heaven. The Holy Spirit is like the "Co-Regent" of the Conscience (John 16:7), He is a conscience renewer (Romans: 12:2) and He is a conscience washer and regenerator (Titus 3:5).

We must understand that our consciences are pliable but the Spirit of God does not change. The conscience can be an extraordinary gift, but it has no standard on its own. The Spirit of God, on the other hand, is God and as such has a standard of life and holiness; the Spirit's standard won't change, and when rightly listened to, can change the conscience. The Spirit is the external standard of holiness in the sinner as well as the saint.
 
The renewal process of our conscience takes place every time we read the Scriptures, attend a worship service, integrate into a Gospel Community, memorize a verse, or pray. The Holy Spirit uses all this input to change how our conscience evaluates every opportunity, thought, invitation, word, and deed.

Jesus Is A Liberal?

by Aaron

I get some bizarre emails from some bizarre people (that would be you). People are always asking my opinions on things I really have no idea about (like stocks, cars, unladen weight of European swallows), but every once in a while I get a question about something I do know about (cookies, Jesus, or Spiderman). I was kind of happy this week when someone asked me this question, "I just saw a bumper sticker that said, 'Jesus was a liberal,' what do you think about that?" Now that is something I can answer because they asked, "what do you think about that," and if I know anything, it is that I have opinions about everything.
 
For a very long time people have been trying to attach Jesus to their cause to give it validity; these causes can be good, like the abolition of slavery or the civil rights movement, or they can be bad like burning people at a stake for opposing views or trying to justify slavery. Almost every cause has a "god" attached to it in one form or another to try to make it more valid. It seems as though most people can't hold their opinions strongly enough without dragging God into it.
 
So what do I think about the bumper sticker? I think that if you are liberal and you have to drag Jesus into it, maybe you don't have enough conviction in your cause to begin with. This is also true for conservatives who say the same things, so don't think I am only picking on one group of people…I am picking on everyone (it's fun).
 
The point of following Jesus means we follow Jesus, we don't make Him follow us. We do not get to say, "I like this set of beliefs, therefore Jesus must like this set of beliefs." Maybe Jesus sees the things you like as idolatry, maybe He is sickened by how many things we tolerate as healthy today that are destroying us, maybe Jesus is calling us to repent of ourselves and our causes and actually follow Him and the things plainly laid out in the Scriptures.
 
In 2014 we will be going through the Sermon on the Mount, and I am going to steal my own thunder by taking the wrap up to one of my messages…but in Joshua 5 God's people are entering into the promised land and we read  Joshua 5:13- When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” There's the question. War is coming and Joshua asks "whose side are you on?"
 
V14 And he said, “No;"  No is the word "neither." "Which side are you on, you have to choose side A or side B." And God says "I choose option C." V14-15 And he said, “No but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
 
Our impulse is to say, "whose side are you on," but Jesus is on His own side and we must understand His holiness because only that will give us the larger perspective that we all need.