Fresh Air, Part 4 – Sermon Notes

[These are notes from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO by Craig Kackley. To listen to the message, go here.]

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is talked about in many ways, taught in many ways and possibly even mis-taught in some cases. This teaching is to help get some clarity on the teaching of the Spirit.

The King James Version translated it as Ghost, but that’s a poor translation. It’s not a ghost and not really even a Spirit. The original Hebrew world means a wind, a breath, a violent exhalation, a blast of breath. The first use of this is in Genesis 1:2.

The Greek work means a current of air, blast of breath. John 6:63, the Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing.
Trying to describe the Holy Spirit is like trying to describe the wind to someone who has never been outside. Using this analogy, we can learn about the Holy Spirit

1. Wind is unseen. Our faith allows us to experience what is outside the natural world.

2. Wind is unpredictable. For proof, how often are meterologist just wrong? John 3:8.

3. Wind is powerful. Think: tornadoes. We serve a God who longs to pour out His power on all people.

Million dollar question: How can I get to know the person of the Holy Spirit? (Not It. He.)

1. Let go of fears and misperceptions. Most of us have unfortunately had experiences that were not aligned with the Holy Spirit. Just because someone abuses something doesn’t mean that the whole thing is bad. It simply means that person didn’t truly know the Lord.  Psalm 45:4

2. Begin to develop an intimate fellowship with Him. 2 Corinthians 13:14 – the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. Jesus left the earth because He knew that it would allow each of us to walk in it. Isaiah 30:21.

This looks like many things in different people’s lives. It can be anything from discernment to audacious faith to miracles to knowledge.

The way we begin this process is to simply ask for it.

Romans 8:11 – life to our mortal bodies because of God living in us.

Fresh Air, Part 1 – Sermon Notes

[These are sermon notes from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO by Craig Kackley. The message can be watched here.]

For many people the New Year is a good time to think about new changes and improvements in our life. This series is about choosing to use this year to build a deeper relationship with Christ.

On the earth, there is a weather phenomenon called the Intertropical Convergence Zone. This is an area where the trade winds converge and cancel each other out. Sailors call this area the doldrums. There’s not any wind and wind powered boats can’t move through this area.

Often our relationship with God falls into this pattern where we find that we’ve lost the passion in our relationships.

Four Stages of Doldrums

  1. We try to fake it.

There’s an idea that if we go to church we often feel like we have to have it all together. We know that we’re here to worship the most powerful God, but we feel pressure to put on a face, to pretend that everything’s alright.

  1. We put it off.

There’s a lie that time heals all wounds. In truth, time will make our wounds worse. A untended tooth can lead to a much worse situation: a root canal. Yet, we often do this with our spiritual life.  (Hebrews 12:15)

  1. We give up.

The heart of COTFC is to minister to people in this place, those who don’t have any hope in church or change.

  1. Death.

The end of all things that are not in the Lord.

We need to be spiritual revived. This revival, however, is not due to anything you do. It has to do with what you choose. This goes back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). In the garden, there was two trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We tend to gravitate to the second tree, we try to understand things instead of focusing on our spiritual life. When we are feeling stuck, we move to the knowledge tree. It ends up pulling us in like quick sand and the more we struggle, the more we get sucked into knowledge which causes us to strive and struggle more and the cycle continues.

Christianity isn’t about behavior modification. It’s about living the life the Lord has for me is about deeply falling in love with Jesus, knowing Him, receiving Him and seeing Him in our life. It’s laid in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you a choice between life and death… Oh that you would choose life…”

How Do We Choose Life?

Choice 1: To Do More – OR – Receive What Has Already Been Done

Some churches teach that to be spiritual or Godly you need to do more of something. Example, struggling? Read more. Reading 2 chapters a day? Read 4. They use the example of Jesus asking Peter to stay up just an hour to show that our prayers should be an hour long. If that’s where you are, you’ve missed it. Jesus said to the Pharisees that they searched the scriptures for life, but they missed that He stood in front of Him. One of the first steps to breaking out of spiritual apathy is to acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less. We do not need to try earn His approval. Romans 5:8 Christ died for us while we sinners, not while we were getting things right.

Choice 2: Obey Out of Duty – OR – Obey Out of Delight

When we have the feeling of “getting” to do something, we are more likely to do that then when we feel like we “have” to do it. Anything that we feel like we are forced to do, we are going to stop doing when our motivation leaves us. Anything that we get to do, we are going to do because we enjoy it and not because we feel that someone is going to fail us or condemn us if we don’t.

Things become easier to do when we either love the thing we do or we love the person we’re doing it for. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” This is great litmus test of the status of our hearts. Some people hear Jesus saying, “If you love me, prove it. Try harder and learn more. Eat more of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. See how much behavior modification you can do. ” Others of use hear, “If you love me, don’t worry about it. If you love me, you’ll do what I ask. Be with me and enjoying doing what I ask. It’s about a relationship and not about rules.”

Are you in the do more camp where you will never be enough because you are seeking what you already have? Are you in the camp of life to be given life through the blood of Christ so you can then turn around and obey out of delight?

Growing a Passion to Be Like Christ – Sermon Notes

[These sermon notes are from a message given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO by guest speaker, Pastor Bill Newby. This message can be viewed here.]

The cross was not only a horrible way to die, in the sense of physical pain, but it was also considered shameful. Yet Paul talks about boasting in the cross.

The cross of Jesus Christ deals with all of our sin. God’s mercy is new every morning. If you are perfectionist or guilt prone, you feel that your sins are worse than anyone else. When God’ mercy comes in, you say, “Yes, but…” It’s not true though. You’re not especial a sinner; you’re a plain old sinner like the rest of us.

We need to have a “preference, a penchant, and a passion for the cross.” Preference means what we want, penchant mean what we strongly prefer, and passion means what we’re all about. If you can’t pray for a passion for the cross, yet, then pray for a penchant or even a preference. Think about the excitement when the Royals won; imagine that kind of passion for the cross of Jesus.

The job of pastors is to bring the church to this point: measure of the stature to the fullness of Christ. In the original language is translated perfect, and it has to do with completion or maturity. It’s about all of knowing Jesus personally and learning to grow to his standard. In Romans 8:29 the good God is trying to work in us to conform us into the image of Jesus so there are many brothers and sisters. God takes all things and uses them to make us look like Jesus. We will look, talk, and act like Jesus. In addition, we will be passionate about what Jesus cared about.

Jesus served the people with miracles to the point of raising the dead. The people’s response was to plot against Him to have him killed. The Jews could only stone without permission; crucifixion was the Roman specialty. Pilate knew he was innocent, but was too cowardly to do anything about it. After being beaten and humiliated, He should have had the right to throw those people away and condemn them before God. He didn’t though, he said, “Forgive them.” That’s the heart that we’re being taken toward.

When the preciousness of looking like the Savior is greater than the problems and troubles you see, then God becomes real. He can change our world because He’s now in it, through our submission to Him. If we are praising God for this, nothing in this life is wasted. Instead, all can be made to His glory and our blessing.


A White Christmas, Part 3 – Sermon Notes

[These notes are from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO, as a part of the series “A White Christmas”. If you’d like to see the full message, you can watch it here.]

Christmas time magnifies everything, both the warm, fuzzy ones as well as the negative ones. Suicides between Thanksgiving and New Years are more than in the rest of the 11 months of the year combined. This series is to help people experience forgiveness and have a truly white Christmas.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. – Isaiah 1:18-19 NLT

Previously, we reviewed the myths of what forgiveness is. We also talked about how much God has forgiven us and we must always remember to forgive as generously. Last week, Connor talked about viewing others through the lens of Jesus so that we can understand how to be willing to forgive.

Twisted Ways We Deal with Our Past

  1. We believe that time will remove our mistakes. Time doesn’t heal wounds. We know it’s the Holy Spirit that heals and helps us deal with them appropriately.

People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. – Proverbs 28:13 NLT

We all need a community of others where we feel safe enough to share our past without the fear of feeling judged.

  1. We beat ourselves up over our past. We feel that we owe it to carry a heavy burden because of our choices, but it’s not true. King David tried this as well and here’s what it made him feel like.

My guilt overwhelms me–it is a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and stink because of my foolish sins. I am bent over and racked with pain. All day long I walk around filled with grief. A raging fever burns within me, and my health is broken. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. – Psalm 38:4-8 NLT

When we beat ourselves up over our past mistakes it can actually affect our physical bodies.

  1. Blaming others. We try to move the responsibility of the choice made of to other people instead of owning it ourselves. The first man and woman on this earth pulled this same thing when God talked to them about the forbidden fruit they’d eaten.

The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” – Genesis 3:12-13 NLT

How do we get past our past?

How do we genuinely give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves and find healing?

Apostle Paul would have the right than anyone to beat himself up over the choices he’d made to kill Christians. Here’s what he thought on the subject.

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. – 1 Timothy 1:13-15 NIV

If we want to truly find freedom this morning, we need to stop trying to earn our forgiveness. This is easier said than done, because everything in the world teaches us to do the opposite. To have good friends, be a good friend, for example. To have a good marriage, or to have a good career, we have to earn it and work for it. It’s even more deeply engrained in our American ideal. Because it’s so deep in our culture, it’s even permeated into our Christmas tradition. Think about Santa and all the ideas of being good to get gifts from him.

Because we so used to operating this way, we transfer this idea to the forgiveness of Jesus. But that is the opposite of what the Bible teaches us about the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. – 1 Peter 3:18 NIV

He died once, not over and over. God took on flesh and was born in a manger for this reason: so we could be brought back to God. He was put to death in the body, but He was made alive by the Spirit. When He died on the cross, he paid the price for our sins: past, present, and future. If you struggle with this temptation to try to earn the right to forgiveness, you don’t have a sin problem; you have an unbelief problem. If you believe on the name of Jesus, you will be saved. Do you believe what He is, what He’s done. Do you believe there’s a God who sent His son for your sins?

The next time your reluctant to worship because of your week or your choices, remember that it has nothing to do with you. It’s about Him, that’s why we’re acceptable to Him. You need to allow God to turn it around for His good. That’s not to say that bad things in our lives happened because of God, but it does mean that any situation in our lives can be redeemed by God.

What is that sin or situation in your past that you can’t seem to forgive yourself for? Pray for the belief to accept God’s forgiveness and accept that it comes freely and fully.

White Christmas, Part 2 – Sermon Notes

[These notes are from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO, as a part of the series “A White Christmas”. If you’d like to see the full message, you can watch it here.]

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. – Isaiah 1:18 (NLT)

We sin and others sin against us. We can be white as snow, with one clarification: we obey. If God points this out, it’s probably because it’s not something we would do on our own. If we do this, we will be at free.

When was the last time someone did something against you? These things are unavoidable. Matthew 24:10, many will offend, be try, hate you. The word offended in this passage means we’ve been baited in and trapped.

Proverbs 18:19 – We begin to build barriers to protect ourselves. We live by the mantra of hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me. We build up walls and we miss out on all these good opportunities in order to protect ourselves.

There are many types of hurts, including being taken advantage of, used, ignored, lied about, confidence destroyed, or even hurt by churches. There are many types of rejection, opportunities lost, abused whether it be emotionally, verbally, or sexually. Sometimes we feel offended when we’re humiliated, becoming the butt of someone’s joke. There are so many ways that we can be hurt, far more than what’s mentioned here.

Jesus Was Hurt

Jesus knew these. He was betrayed by his own disciple for about half a year’s wages. The authorities falsely accused and misunderstood what he said. His friends scattered into the night. One of the closest disciples,Peter, denied him three times. Jesus was rejected and abandoned. Then, he was abused and beaten, whipped, stabbed and then nailed alive to wooden beams due to losing a popularity vote.

Experts say Jesus would have been unrecognizable due to the beatings and hanging naked in front of everyone. Jesus took on all these things for us and because of what we needed. Hebrews 2:17-18 says Jesus became a mediator (think modern day lawyer) that truly knows what we’re going through because he experienced it first-hand. Jesus is the authority on what it looks like to respond to offenses in our lives. Because of this, we can come boldly because He knows what it is to be abused, broken, hurting.

Responding to Unavoidable Offenses

1 Peter 4:1 says Jesus understood what you’re going through, learn to emulate him. While he was dying on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what their doing.” Jesus made a choice that we should mirror. Maybe the person who has offended you really is a bad person, but it does your heart no good to choose to believe that. We need to try to remember that others who are causing us problems or issues may be suffering in a way that we cannot imagine.

“Remind us each day that the greatest gift you give us is love. Let us open our hearts to all humanity, not just our family. Let us be patient and loving.”

Jesus didn’t enjoy what he suffered, but he made a choice to keep his heart clean in the face of evil. And that’s a choice we can access today. We can chose to pray the same prayer that others will be forgiven, just like Jesus did. We have to start doing this: learning to see people through the eyes of Jesus.

3 Steps to bring Healing Godly Forgiveness

  1. Remember that we need forgivness, too. We’re not angels; we have sin on our hands just the same as everyone else. Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fallen short. You have received, so freely give. You’re never going to have to give out more forgiveness that Jesus had to give on the cross.
  2. Acknowledge and focus on the real enemy. Jesus saw the people that were killing him as victims of the real enemy. Hurting people hurt people. It doesn’t make what they did right, but knowing that helps people begin to have compassion on them. Ephesians 6;12 says we’re fighting against powers that are not of this world.
  3. Receive God’s love. Some of us haven’t truly accepted the unconditional nature of God’s love. We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John says we can’t love God and hate our brother or we are a liar. Don’t leave today burdened by unforgiveness.

Don’t be afraid to find someone to pray for you, either for past offenses that you are struggling to forgive or for strength to keep from being offended.

A White Christmas- Part 1, Sermon Notes

[These notes are from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO, as a part of the series “A White Christmas” . If you’d like to see the full message, you can watch it here.]

As a culture, we believe things about forgiveness that aren’t true.

Myth 1: Forgiveness is minimizing the seriousness of the offense.

Myth 2: Forgiveness requires reconciliation. 

  • Forgiveness is between me and God more so than me and the person who wronged me.
  • For people who wait for the other person to start the process, that is handing over control of your life to the person who hurt you.

Myth 3:Forgiveness is forgetting what happened. Unfortunately, we will never forget what happened, especially true the more hurt-filled the situation was.

One reason that often keeps us from forgiving is that we think it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair and we should be grateful that God’s not fair. In the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35), we see a man who was forgiven a large sum of money, valued today at approximately $5 billion. Instead of offering that same extravagant forgiveness to others, he demanded repayment from one of his debtors of a sum of money equal to about $10,000-$12,000. The one who had forgiven him the $5 billion heard about it and threw him in prison until the money was repaid. We are the person who has been forgiven an amount that is impossible to repay, which is completely unfair. We need to be just as unfair in our response to others.

In order to forgive this way, we need to acknowledge two important things.

  1. This will not come easily or naturally.
  2. Waiting till you feel like forgiving means that you will never do it.

People who walk in freedom don’t rely on their emotions to determine their actions. Instead, they use the scriptures to guide and train their choices.

The scriptures tell us how we are to respond to those who have wronged us.

  1. Pray for them (Matthew 5:43-44). This doesn’t mean praying they will get “in trouble” with the Lord. It means honestly putting them before the Lord. You can’t pray for someone and hate them at the same time. Eventually, one of them will give. We must be guarding our hearts against hate taking hold in our hearts. Prayer is how we do that.
  2. Bless them (Romans 12:14). This is specifically referring to words. If you say that you’ve forgiven, and then speak badly about them every time they come up, you’re undoing any benefit of forgiveness (assuming you’ve actually forgiven them).
  3. Do good to them (Luke 6:27-28). Doing good things for those who have wronged us sounds crazy. No one operating out of the natural would do this. We’re spiritually transformed, meaning we will be lead by the Spirit of God and the truth of God’s scriptures. The only way these kinds of actions are possible is by the knowledge that God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).

Arrows, Part 4 – Sermon Notes

Guest speaker – Dan Southerland, pastor from West Side Family Church

Previous: Aim, Release, Rhythm

Remaining: Opponets, Work, Sacred

Today’s word: Work

Parenting is hard work. Three groups, 1. Parents with kids at home. 2. Parents whose children have left the house. (Parenting doesn’t end when the kids leave the house.) 3. Don’t have kids, may not know if they even will have kids. (Most people will have kids, so it’s wise to listen. )

Good parents are made not born. It’s a twenty (thirty?) year building project.

Parenting mindset:

  • Raising kids: not enough
  • Raising adults: closer
  • Raising parents: getting there
  • Raising disciples: bingo!

Four ways to work smart as a parent

1. Know your kids.

Learning doesn’t begin where the teacher is, it begins where the student is.

Parenting doesn’t begin where the parent is, it begins where the child is.

We often parent based on how we were parented. Parenting should be based on each child, instead, and may change with each child. We work with the child based on the age of a child and their learning style.

Some children learn from wisdom: learning from the experience of others. They can watch what others do and make wise choices from there.

Some children learn from consequences. Watching someone touch a hot stove means they want to touch it too.

2. Get outside help.

Great players known the value old of coaching. If you could solve all your kids problems, it’d be already fixed. Grandparents, successful parents, truth telling friends, spiritual mentors – all make great coaches.

3. Stay humble not haughty.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself; humility is thinking of yourself less. In our culture, we have many idols, one being that we .ake an idol of our kids. We want to use our kids to compensate for own our failures or to make us look like awesome parents. Stay humble and admit when you don’t know something and keep your perspective on Christ.

4. Broadcast your love.

Make sure your kids know that there is nothing they can do to lose your love. Never use withdrawing your love or your presence as a form of punishment.

Your kids are going to become who you are. You need to become the kind of person that you want to your kids to be. Work at becoming that person. One of the best gifts you can give your kids is who you become.

Arrows, Part 2 – Sermon Notes


Arrows are meant to fly. No matter how good your aim or how good your technique, if you don’t let go of the arrow, you’ll never hit your target.

1. The point of parenting is a propulsion system, not a prison system. We need to fight back against being the warden and more like Kennedy Space Center. We should use our security in order to keep the wrong people out so the right thing can be released effectively.

2. Each child has a mission. Menoah is the father of Samson. When the angel tells him he’ll have a son, he asks “What will be his manner of life and what is to be his mission?” We should be conscious of working with the Lord to help them find their purpose and teach them how to use their gifts.

3. A clean release is the result of Godly stewardship. The moment that you realize God’s unconditional love and His grace it changes things. Nothing that we own or anything we’ve accomplished is our own. We came into this world naked and screaming with nothing and that’s how we’ll leave as well. One day we’ll be held accountable for how we stewardess our gifts. Our children our one of the gifts we’ve been given. We will be held accountable for how we’ve supported and released that gift.

4. At the end of the day, the only hope we have of keeping them, is to let them go. There’s no way to guarantee a child will serve the Lord. The book of Proverbs tells us that raising a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it when it he is old. That’s wisdom and not a promise. We have to learn how to teach them without forcing love or forcing choices on them.

Remember, unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor on vain. We can’t do this parenting thing, but the Lord can.

Arrows, Part 1 – Sermon Notes

One Target: Jesus Christ

[These notes are from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO. It’s from a sermon series called Arrows, which can be viewed on the church’s site, here.]


Psalm 127:1-5

Arrows (for this series) is an an acronym  (nerds be warned: they are not coming in order)

A: Aim

Psalm says children are arrows in the hands of a warrior.
Children – arrow
Families – quiver
Parents – warriors
What is the thing that we’re aiming for? What is the target?

Things to Think On

Children are a blessing, not a burden. Once a child shows up, the circumstances of that birth no longer matter.
Kids don’t often feel like a blessing, sometimes. When we read in the scriptures that God is like a loving parent, it can feel overwhelming that we will influence our children’s view of God. Take hope in Romans 8:18 that says our reality is temporary and His glory that will be revealed is amazing. We are whittling and sharpening our arrows so they can be effective.
 There are different arrows, but there is only one target.What is the goal of this journey of parenting? Matthew 6:33 “seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added as well.” The target is knowing Jesus Christ. If we fail our children at this, we fail at all else.

Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord

 What is your family serving? What thing do you sacrifice everything for? Sports? Academics? The family business? Ultimately it’s the archer that determines the direction of the arrow.

At the end of the day, if the kids are doing their best, their success shouldn’t be number one. In our culture we sacrifice alot on the alter of achievement. We should define success as seeking first the kingdom.

 When you set the target for your family, make sure it’s an eternal way. What does it look like to parent this way? The next five weeks will equip you to answer this.

Prodigal God, Part 4 – Sermon Notes

[These notes are from a sermon by Connor Jones at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO. Today’s notes are part 4 of series Prodigal God. The whole series including this sermon can be seen on their website. My notes from part 2 are here.]
Today’s lesson:
We’re looking at part of the story where the younger brother is pondering returning home. After his return, we see the father accept him with joy and a party. What does the feast represent?
Think about your fondest memories of childhood and a time that you would like to recreate. This return represents our ultimate return to our relationship with God and being with him.
“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” Rev 19:19
Everyone is invited back into communion with God. There the longings of our hearts will be quenched. This is the feast to come.
Sometimes the focus can be, “Grab as many lost sons as possible, throw them in the back of the truck and let’s head to God’s house.” That’s great but it’s missing the idea of the celebration that’s waiting for us. God is creating delectable delights for us when we return to him. See John 6:35 and Rev 7:16-17.

We can have a taste of r his feast and communion with him. There are (more than) 4 ways we can experience this in a small way now.

  1. The Bible describes our experience with God using dense filled experiential words. This knowledge we have of God goes beyond just head knowledge. We can fully experience Him.
  2. Our salvation is a material thing. Heaven is going to be a real physical thing. If you haven’t been taking care of the physical problems of others, then you aren’t expressing an understanding of salvation. Miracles aren’t breaking the laws of physics, he is restoring things to their Gid-intended state. When we are serving others, we are expressing that we care.
  3. Salvation will be an individual thing. Just like eating fills us up; we don’t eat for someone else. We each have to partake of salvation on this earth. To forgive, love, give,be faithful, then you must experience those things through Jesus Christ.
  4. Acknowledge that our salvation is communal just like the feast is a group event. Our foretaste of salvation is to be with others. If I’m not walking with you as you walk with Christ, there are aspects of Christ I can’t access.