I.D. – Counter-Culture

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Ephesians 4:1-6

Watching the news can be depressing.  Murder, assault, burglary, drive-by shootings, protests and disasters are the usual top stories. We are interested in them because they are shocking; usually outside of our normal, personal experience.  Many of these events represent man’s natural urges taken to the extreme.  People often act and react impulsively, without thought for the rules or laws that are supposed to govern their behavior.


For followers of Christ, we see the disconnect and wonder how people could be like this. Jesus has called us to a higher standard.  In fact, so much of the Sermon on the Mount goes beyond things like pride, adultery and murder to talk about the issues of our hearts like selfishness, lust or hatred.  Things our neighbor may not observe in us but that God sees with perfect, laser-focused clarity.


God has called us personally, individually, to look into our hearts and evaluate our motives towards one another.  And when we come together as the church of Christ, He demands that we live out His love with each other.  In obedience to Him, we learn to crucify our own urges in favor of adopting His Jesus-centered, cross-centered, perspective.  This means that there are some things that will happen among us that must be taught, encouraged and multiplied.  It also means that we must confront and discipline those things among us that are sinful, divisive, mean-spirited and wrong.


Our Christ-centered, Christian Counter-Culture contrasts sharply with the norms of the world in which we live.  This is what our focus will be today.  Membership in the body of Christ demands that we live in contrast to our natural inclinations and adopt the mindset of Christ.


Part of that ‘counter-culture’ for which we strive can be found in a commitment we have made to each other at the Shoreline Church. If you would like to view a copy of our Membership Covenant, click HERE. To view the scriptures upon which our covenant is built, click HERE.


I.D. – Grow!

May 5, 2019

Ephesians 4:11-16

Living things grow, change, reproduce, and adapt.  Dead things stay the same or decay.  These characteristics are familiar to us because life and death are realities we all experience.

Of course, living things also die.  It is the natural course of living things. 

This year thousands of churches across America are closing their doors.  This is not because there are fewer people who need to hear the gospel message.  Many of those churches are not adapting their message so their audience can hear them.  They resist change so they die.  It is not necessarily good or bad, right or wrong.  It is a simple fact of life.  They have served their purpose.

The Shoreline Church is a living body of people who follow Christ and want to grow, change, reproduce and adapt.  We do not believe God is calling us to be the same or to decay.  

Therefore, we encourage each other to grow in Christ, to change according to His will, to reproduce by sharing Jesus with others and to be ready to adapt when God calls us to change.


Visuals From The Presentation: Grow!

Ephesians 4:11-16
Servant Leaders Encourage Members to Grow Towards Mission

Five Purposes of the Church
4 Levels of Commitment


Every once in a while I still see them at rest areas along the highway or in restaurant or bank vestibules. Highway maps. Before Global Positioning Systems (GPS) these tools of travel were critically important for getting from point A to point B.

With either a map or a GPS there are two important questions that must be answered. First, my location. Where am I on the map? The second question is your destination. Where do you want to go that is represented on the map?

If you don’t have the first question answered, telling you where you are presently located, then it does little good to plan for the second question that specifies the place to which you wish to go. Without any reference point for your location or your destination you are “just driving around.” Some drivers do this a lot. They say, “We’ll figure out where we are going when we get there.” These are happy people who don’t live by the clock and have extra money to spend on gas.


It would be silly to think that you could look up Tampere, Finland, for example, on a map and then walk away saying that you have now been there. It is not the same thing. Until you have been there physically it is not logical to say that you were there because you found the city on a map.

Tampere, Finland

When you look at a map, however, you can determine how you are going to get there if you know from where you are leaving. With point A and point B in mind, you can now start planning how to get to where you wish to go. In this case you will easily conclude that you will need a car, that you will need to fly in an airplane or take a boat and that you will have to take another car, train, plane or bus and find a place to stay.



For churches it is so important to be clear about who they are and what they believe; i.e., their location on the spiritual map. People can then decide whether or not they share the same positions and enthusiasms.

It is also important for churches to know where they are going. If they are focused upon being heaven-bound then they start planning how to get there and how to bring along as many people as possible.

So, it is important now and then to remind each other of the beliefs, practices and enthusiasms that unite us. As we review them there should be very little disagreement. And so, we have listed “Our Beliefs” on a page of our website to affirm what most other followers of Christ also affirm. But, as we state at the outset…


…the problem with Doctrinal Statements about “What We Believe” generally serve to distinguish between one church devoted to following Jesus to other churches who are also devoted to following Jesus.  The truth is that this approach to following Jesus does not make sense in light of Jesus’ prayer in John 17:

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me….“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.  

John 17:21-23, NLT


It is one thing to believe some things, however, and quite another to put them into practice. That is why we begin by giving attention to how we do what Jesus has called us to do. This is when we make sure that we know the territory itself and not just the map.

Jesus said two important things that help us define our place on the map. First, Jesus tells us that when we lift Him up, He will draw others to Himself (John 3:14-16; 8:28; 12:32). So, we lift Him up.

Second, Jesus tells us that others will know that He are His disciples by how we demonstrate His love to others (John 13:34-35). So, we love each other with the love of Christ and we love the people around us with the same love so that others can see Jesus in our lives.


The sermon on maps, consequently, is a simple reaffirming of what can be found on the “Our Beliefs” page. To guide us along the way we have made a commitment to several specific keys that include the following:

  • Focus Upon Jesus
  • Talk About Jesus to People Who Do Not Know Jesus
  • Be Biblical, Not Traditional
  • Focus Upon Children and Families
  • Focus Upon Small Groups In Homes
  • Practice Meaningful Worship

I.D. – Believe!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Do You Believe?

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Mark 16:8

The abrupt ending to the gospel of Mark implies a critical question to the reader: “Do you believe?” This singular event—the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus—is absolutely critical to our faith.  This is precisely how Paul defined “the Good News that saves you” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).  If we don’t believe it then our preaching and our faith, Paul says, is “useless” (vs. 14).

We Believe!

Sunday’s service is built around this core principle: we believe that Jesus died, was buried and three days later, He rose from the dead! This is why the Shoreline church exists.  This is the reason we come together.  So, we encourage the resurrection-life  to which Jesus has called us to live.  Why?  Because WE BELIEVE!

Two videos are presented between the Lord’s Supper comments and the sermon. Here are links to Igniter Media‘s presentations:


He’s Still Risen

Belief’s Reminders

Three central reminders are important when we come together as the body of Christ: 1) The Lord’s Supper, 2) Baptism and 3) Sunday worship. All three of these markers remind us of the Gospel message: Jesus died, was buried and, after three days, arose from the dead.

We Believe! and We Remember!

I.D. – Our Salvation

April 14, 2019

Galatians 3:26-28

When someone asks for our I.D., they want to know who we are and where we live. Not just any I.D. card will do. When the police officer asks for our I.D. we don’t give him our library card! We give him our driver’s license that is issued by the government of the state in which we live.

Our spiritual I.D. centers around the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ in Whom we celebrate our salvation. It is the spiritual DNA of the body of Christ and it defines who we are, why we are here, and what we do.

This first of our 5-lesson series will focus upon how a person becomes a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Christ’s church. What is the core belief that draws all of us together at the Shoreline Church? 

At the conclusion of the lesson, our shepherd, Dean Wolf, will offer some comments and reflections about the lesson and what it means for our Shoreline Church family. His key text is Romans 8:9-17.

I.D. – Our Salvation


Identity is important. It is good to periodically reflect upon the shared beliefs that bring us together in Christ, to consider where we are going and to reaffirm our plan for getting there. For seasoned members of churches, these points of identity reassure and give hope. For newer members and our honored guests they offer hope and promise for the future.

In churches identities change. As the hairs of members grey and the culture around them shifts and transforms, living congregations must adapt and change without compromising their identity in Christ. That is why it is important to reaffirm core values and beliefs now and then.


For the next 5 weeks, including Easter Sunday (April 21) we will be focused upon those values that hold us together as the body of Christ. We will also be pointing to those values that we share with fellow believers in Christ that allow us to strive for the singleness of purpose for which Jesus prayed in the garden:

20 “And I ask not only for these disciples,
    but also for all those who will one day
    believe in me through their message.
21 I pray for them all to be joined together as one
    even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one.
    I pray for them to become one with us
    so that the world will recognize that you sent me.
22 For the very glory you have given to me I have given them
    so that they will be joined together as one
    and experience the same unity that we enjoy.
23 You live fully in me and now I live fully in them
    so that they will experience perfect unity,]
    and the world will be convinced that you have sent me,
    for they will see that you love each one of them
    with the same passionate love that you have for me.

– John 17:20-23, The Passion Translation

Our 5-Week Series Begins April 14, 2019:

April 14 – OUR SALVATION: Who are we?

April 21 – EASTER: The Core of Our Faith.

April 28 – OUR STATEMENT: What do we believe?

May 5 – OUR STRATEGY: Where are we going?

May 12 – OUR STRUCTURE: How are we getting there?


The Herod family highly valued their title: King of the Jews. So much so that Herod the Great had boys under 2 years old killed in hopes of eliminating baby Jesus (Matthew 2). His son, Herod Antipas killed John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12) and wanted to kill Jesus (Luke 13:31-32). In Herod Antipas’s court he interrogated the silent Jesus in the midst of shouting religious leaders. Herod and his soldiers mocking and ridiculing Jesus, putting the purple robe of royalty on His shoulders before sending Him back to Pilate (Luke 23:1-12).


For Luke, the purple robe forms a front bookend to the end of his gospel and the beginning of Acts through chapter 12 where Herod (Acts 12:20-25) dons a royal robe that Josephus describes:

…he [Herod Agrippa 1] put on a garment made wholly of silver, of a truly wonderful texture, and came into the theater early in the morning. There the silver of his garment, being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun’s rays, shone out in a wonderful manner, and was so resplendent as to spread awe over those that looked intently upon him. Presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another, (though not for his good) that he was a god; and they added, “Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.”


That robe event provides the concluding bookmark with Herod the Great’s grandson being eaten to death by worms because of his desire for the praise of men as the King of the Jews (Acts 12:23). From the appearance before Herod in Luke 23 and Jesus’ passion until the explosive beginnings of the church through Acts 12 the Gospel begins its advancement into the rest of the world.


1And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[ the King of the Jews.” 20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. ” (John 19:19-20)


Herod provides a significant reminder to all of us as we seek our own recognition, popularity and fame. Paul encouraged the church in Corinth:

”So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

After all, as Peter said, God’s divine power has given us everything we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3).

“Herod” and Glory


Acts 11:19-30

It had been 13 years since Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and 10 years since his failed attempt to return to Jerusalem. His hope had likely been to make amends with those he had hurt and convince his friends that Jesus was, indeed, the Messiah (Acts 22:17-21). That was when the disciples ‘took’ Saul and ‘sent’ him back to his hometown of Tarsus (Acts 9:30).

Now, 13 years later, Barnabas needs help with the exploding Gentile church in Antioch and we find him knocking on Saul’s door in Tarsus, asking him if he can come help (Acts 11:25-26). They would spend a year together. So, after 14 years since meeting Jesus Barnabas and Saul make their way back to Jerusalem bearing gifts from Antioch to help steel them for the predicted famine that would come.

This trip to Jerusalem has Saul being mentored in Barnabas’s shadow as Luke notes that the two of them, uneventfully, return to Antioch (Acts 12:25). At some point in their first missionary journey, however, Luke makes a couple of changes that are significant. First, he acknowledges Saul’s Greek name, Paul (Acts 13:9), and he now lists these two evangelists as “Paul and Barnabas” (Acts 13:14).


It is easy to think that Saul’s maturing in Christ happened shortly after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus. But, a lot needed to happen for Saul to be ready to take the gospel to the world. Those 15 years represent a lot of hard work to help Saul become the evangelist, Paul. Time well spent when we consider his impact upon churches all over the world ever since then,



Acts 9:32-43

So many things about ourselves remind us of the Apostle Peter in his early days. He thought he could walk on water…until he saw the storm. He thought he would be faithful to Jesus to the very end, even if he was the last one alive…until he denied Jesus under pressure the third time.


Something has changed for Peter since those days. Now he realizes that his power to accomplish anything comes from one, singular source: Jesus.

And so, when he approaches the bed of a man who has been paralyzed for years, he says clearly, with confidence: “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you! Get up, and roll up your sleeping mat!” (Acts 9:34, NLT). When he approaches Tabitha’s body he is reminded of His Savior, Jesus, who took little Talitha’s hand and told her “Talitha Koum” (Mark 5:41). Knowing that Jesus did this upon His own authority and might Peter knows where he must go. After sending everyone out of the room he falls to his knees, alone, in prayer, before taking her hand and commanding her:
“Get up, Tabitha.”


The name of the book in most of our Bibles is “The Acts of the Apostles.” Perhaps a more fitting title for this incredible book of the history of Jesus’ people and the early church is “The Acts of Jesus”. Masterly woven throughout the pages of this timeless documents is the thread of a cross, an empty tomb and the power, might and majesty of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit working seamlessly to bring about the vision of their Father.

Peter, Aneas and Dorcas


Choosing is very different from being chosen. When we choose from many options we are being empowered. We can say ‘yes’ to some things while saying ‘no’ to others. For example, at a church pot luck, I can choose what I wish to put onto my plate. I also choose what I do not wish to have on my plate. As I get older I realize that choosing to put a little of everything on my plate needs to be modified. I now make different choices because I have the power to do so…if I choose (once again) to exercise it.

Being chosen, however, is different. When applying for a job, I hope that I will be the chosen one from among many other candidates. When it comes to jobs that I do not wish to do, my hope is that someone else will be chosen.

In choosing, I am empowered to choose. In being chosen, I hope to have the option of deciding whether or not I wish to respond; but, sometimes, it means submitting to the one who has chosen me.


Reflecting back upon his being chosen by the Lord, the apostle Paul recognized that God had set him apart before he was even born (Galatians 1:1, 15-16, NIV). The Lord made it clear to Paul, however, that accepting God’s call would mean choosing a life of suffering (Acts 9:16).

This means that it is of value to consider Saul’s upbringing in Tarsus and Jerusalem from his earliest years (cf., Acts 26:4-5; 22:3) until he received his irresistible calling from the Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-31). So strongly influenced by his studies in Judaism according to the Pharisaical tutelage of Gamaliel himself that re-orienting the “Christ in me” (Galatians 1:15-16) to the way of the cross would take three years in Arabia, ten years in the region of his hometown of Tarsus and a year under the wing of Barnabas to anchor itself in the destiny that God had planned for him (Galatians 1:17-2:2).


We have all been chosen by God (Ephesians 1:3-14). The question for each of us is whether or not we choose to accept His calling. For those of us who do choose to follow His lead, Paul’s life helps us do as Jesus instructed us: to count the cost (Luke 14:25-35).

Today’s sermon brings together parts of Saul/Paul’s story as found in these primary Scriptures: Acts 9:1-31; Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:1-23; Galatians 1:11-2:10; Philippians 3:4-7.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Jesus is Our Shoreline

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