Pastor Darrin Ronde

March 31, 2016

This past Easter Sunday I tried to communicate in a short period of time how necessary and possible it is to experience a resurrected life, something Jesus called a new birth (John 3:3). When I first heard the term “born again” being tossed around churches when I was in high school, it freaked me out. It sounded so bizarre and unfamiliar. So out of my thinking and sphere of control. Which is precisely the beauty of it! Jesus says that humans give birth to human life, but only the Holy Spirit can give birth to our spirit. We don’t control the rebirthing process—except for surrendering our dead lives to God. Even then, our surrender is initiated by the work of the Spirit, who whispers to us and awakens us to our need.

I saw this play out Easter Sunday as I watched people stand or kneel before the cross and give their lives to Jesus. They were so much like me, putting too much hope in my religion. I thank my Mother for getting me started in church. Here intentions were good. But over the course of several years, I grew uncomfortable with that upbringing. Many of the rituals of my church felt hollow and impersonal. I remember watching the clock during the reverend’s sermon and checking off the minutes. He only preached twenty minutes, but it seemed like an eternity!

Religion has a way of suffocating faith and giving us false confidence that we are on the right track with God. Jesus came to free us from religion. That was his message to Nicodemus, and is still his message to sincere religious people everywhere. God wants us to be open to the freedom, mystery and power of the Holy Spirit in the present. And isn’t that the message of Easter…that Jesus is no longer in the tomb but present to minister and communicate with us today?

I saw this in action on Sunday. I had the privilege of praying with individuals who wanted to experience the new life Jesus offers. Some chose to be baptized on Easter Sunday and forever link their spiritual resurrection with the resurrection of Jesus! One was a young man in a wheel chair. With great emotion he shared how he went to church as a kid only to appease his father. It bothered him that he didn’t have a deeper reason, but that was the best he had. More recently, as a young adult, he says he’s finding joy in coming to church. It’s like chains are falling off him and freeing him to experience a new life. It took two men to lift him from his wheelchair and carry him into the baptistery. You should’ve seen the expression on his face as he confessed his faith in Jesus right before they leaned him back into the water! We cheered as he smiled from ear to ear. Pure joy!!!

That made Easter for me!

Pastor Darrin

3-27-16 – Senior Pastor Darrin Ronde wraps up the Cross Encounter Sermon Series with a great message about Religion vs. Rebirth. This is a great message that ties in well with Easter and is good for anyone in their faith be they a Christian for years or not fully knowing who God is.

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3-20-16 – Senior Pastor Darrin Ronde elaborates on why the thief on the cross shows one of the greatest miracles in scripture and how it is that we have a great similarity in ourselves with just the few recorded words spoken by this rebel.

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Pastor Darrin Ronde
March 17, 2016

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

Jesus says I must deny myself in order to be a disciple. It’s interesting that in our culture, you can be a Christian without denying yourself. You can be a fan of Jesus, but not a serious follower of Jesus, and still call yourself a Christian. I know that because surveys show that a majority of Americans identify themselves as Christians. This, in spite of the fact that most don’t make any attempt to talk or live like Jesus.

To deny myself, I have to continually say ‘no’ to me and ‘yes’ to Him. Putting Jesus before me is not a REQUIREMENT for being a Christian, but it should be the RESULT of becoming one. I come to Christ with a selfish heart that thinks mainly about me and how to satisfy my own desires, which leads me down a dark path filled with shame, guilt and brokenness. When I give my life over to Jesus, He washes me clean of all the junk that has accumulated and sets His Holy Spirit within me to cause me to want to live for Him. If I’m listening to the Spirit, I will choose Jesus over me all the time.

In Kyle Idleman’s best-seller, Not a Fan, he questions whether most of us are genuine followers of Jesus. He says a fan is an enthusiastic admirer, one who cheers when things go well, but walks away when the going’s tough. We see that in football. A fan may appear to love a team, but in reality, they love themselves and what the team does for them. I can tell the difference between someone who follows the Broncos and someone who’s a fan of the Broncos. A follower wears team colors even in the off season. A fan puts on a jersey on game day or after they win. A follower knows the roster, while a fan only knows the major players. A follower is interested in the NFL combine and who the Broncos will draft. A fan waits until the Fall to find out who’s on the team. A follower basically stays in touch all year round, whereas a fan only tunes in during the regular season, and in some cases, not until the playoffs.

Some of us think we are true followers of Jesus when in reality, if you examined our lives, you’d find that we are only fans. We act like Jesus is a big deal on game day (Sundays), but not so much the other six days of the week. We don’t open the Bible to hear God has to say. We wait for the preacher or teacher to digest the Word and give us the main thoughts. We put in an offering when we’re in attendance, but not when we miss.

In your relationship with Jesus, which are you: a fan or a follower?

3-13-16 – Senior Pastor Darrin Ronde encounters the cross by looking at the interaction of Simon of Cyrene with Jesus and the Cross and what carrying the cross means and signifies. Christianity is a challenge, prepare for one!

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Pastor Darrin Ronde

March 10, 2016

Last Sunday’s message sparked some interest in the identity of the Roman Centurion who witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross and affirmed him as the Son of God (Luke 23:47). In Catholic Church history, there’s a legend that this Roman soldier was named Longinus and had an eye ailment. When his spear pierced the side of Christ to validate his death, some of the blood and water sprayed out onto his eyes and miraculously healed them. Shortly after, he stood guard over the tomb where Jesus was buried and resurrected. The Jewish leaders tried to bribe him and his men to spread a claim that the body of Jesus had been stolen from the tomb, but they refused.

The story says that Longinus and some of his comrades were baptized by the Apostles and left their military positions to preach the gospel. The former centurion returned to his homeland of Cappadocia and led many to faith in Christ. He was eventually hunted down and beheaded as a martyr. Some versions of the story are truly macabre. For example, one account says a blind woman dug through a trash heap to find the head of Longinus and when she touched it, was instantly healed.

We’re used to Hollywood taking fragments of truth and building an elaborate story that is largely fiction. They’ll protect themselves by saying, “Based on real events” or something like that. We are seeing a lot of ‘biblical’ movies in recent years, like Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and more recently Risen and Young Messiah. I think these movies have a value is we look at them as family-friendly entertainment. But if we are searching to have our faith strengthened, you need to stick with what is known to be true! The Apostle John told us that what we have in the Bible is sufficient to establish and grow our faith.

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:30-31

Enjoy the legends and movies, but build your faith on the clear and solid revelation of God’s Word!

Pastor Darrin

Pastor Darrin Ronde
March 8, 2016

This past Sunday we began a new series that will take us up to Easter. I’m calling it Cross Encounter, because the cross became a pivotal moment in the lives of individuals in the Bible. More than that, it has become life-changing for so many of us. We often say, “You had to be there!” when something memorable happens. But in this case, it’s fine that you weren’t, because Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” It’s been nearly 2000 years since Jesus died on the cross, and yet it still is impacting men and women, young and old, all around the world.

Some crosses are made to look polished, smooth or decorative. The cross that Jesus died on, however, was not like that at all. It was rough. It was splintered. It was stained with the blood of other men who had been executed. The cross was not pretty. It was brutal, reminding us what our sins did to Jesus. The crucifixion was an ugly and painful event. But the effects are beautiful! Through the cross we find forgiveness and healing! Such a contrast of our hearts and the heart of God! In the cross we clearly see the brutality of our sin and the beauty of God’s grace.

In spite of our rebelliousness and selfishness, God responded with grace, which means we don’t get the judgment and wrath we deserve. Instead, in sending Jesus to die on a cross in our place, He gives us a new lease on life. This message that was true then it still true today for all who trust in Him!

3-6-16 – Senior Pastor Darrin Ronde dives into a new sermon series looking through the eyes of different people who encountered Jesus at different moments of his crucifixion. This message looks through the eyes of the Roman Centurion who was there when Jesus breathed his last and how just a few hours were enough to impact this soldier.

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