The Sermon That Could Get Me Fired…

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This past Sunday I preached a sermon at Renovation Church that would get me fired in many (if not most) evangelical churches in the United States. In the message I directly contradict the “expert” advice offered by church planting and church growth consultants. If that seems interesting to you, I encourage you to watch the message below. The text that I was preaching from is John 6:22-35.

Do you agree or disagree with the message? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me a message!

Click the link below for the message:
The Sermon That Could Get Me Fired (John 6:22-35)

Lutherans, Catholics, & Renovation Church!

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Monday and Tuesday of this week I had the honor of running sound/video for a Lutheran Conference at Sioux Falls Seminary. This morning (Wednesday) I attended Mass at St. Rose of Lima in Garretson. This afternoon I began working on an expository sermon from John 6 to proclaim to the church I pastor – a nondenominational church called Renovation Church.

When I first became a Christian I decried the “dead religion” of liturgy that displayed itself in Lutheran and Catholic congregations. This week I participated in numerous Lutheran and Catholic services, allowing the Spirit of God to speak His truth into my life from preachers vastly different from myself.

Why the change?

I really believe it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. Although I have secondary doctrinal disagreements with Lutherans or Catholics, I know that we proclaim the unchanging Jesus Christ of the Bible. There is value in every Christian tradition – from the chanting of Psalms found in Benedictine Monasteries to the spontaneous worship celebrated in Pentecostal churches.

If you attend a church different from your own and you immediately jump to criticism –  that says more about the condition of your heart than the service of the church.

 

Midweek Check-Up!

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Hey Renovation Church Family!

Wednesday is a good day of the week to examine our lives and recommit ourselves to God. We spent a little bit of time last Sunday talking about the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness after his baptism – I hope this continued reflection will help you live for God’s purposes for the remainder of your week.

One of the most enticing temptations that Satan offered to Jesus was the following:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me (Matthew 4:8-9).

Satan was offering Jesus a crown without thorns. He was offering Jesus glory without a cross. He was willing to provide Jesus with a kingdom of success rather than suffering. If Jesus would have allowed himself to be seduced by this promise, the redemption of mankind would have never happened. We would still be dead in our sins, unable to respond to God.

Satan’s will for your life is to make you successful, wealthy, and happy. He would love for you to pursue the American Dream and succeed! Satan uses the pleasures & comforts of this life to numb us to the cancerous effects of sin within our souls. If he can keep us from asking existential questions about ourselves and the world, he can deceive us through empty pleasure.

God’s will for your life often leads to suffering and mourning. Jesus called his followers to take up their cross and follow Him. The author of the Gospel we have been studying on Sundays (The Gospel of John) was literally boiled alive in hot oil and then exiled to an island called Patmos. All of the other disciples of Jesus were brutally tortured and killed for refusing to renounce their faith in Christ.

Following Jesus will lead to suffering.

It will also lead to incomprehensible joy which is rooted in the Eternal God rather than temporary circumstances. If we truly taste and see how good God is, we can say in the midst of overwhelming suffering, “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).” 

Whose will for your life are you following? Are you pursuing comfort or a cross? Are you practicing radical generosity or worldly stinginess? Is your life displaying the infinite value of Christ or are you conforming to the corrupt values of this age?

In Christ’s Love,

Tyler Ramsbey

Listen… Worship… Live (Part 3)

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In my sermon this past Sunday I closed with three words: Listen, Worship, Live. This week I will be taking time to write an individual post for each one of these disciplines to help you apply the Bible to your life.
Listen… Worship… Live (Part 1)

Listen… Worship… Live (Part 2)


When I was 16 years old I was arrested for drug possession and drug paraphernalia. Leading up to my arrest, I was writing and performing Christian music as well as speaking to youth groups about the Gospel. I literally got arrested one week after performing a song in a church that warned against the dangers of drug use!

In other words – I was a hypocrite.

My lifestyle did not match my confession of faith. Unfortunately this is far too common in our churches. Many of us confess that Jesus is Lord on Sunday but live as if He does not exist Monday through Saturday. We only follow the teachings of Jesus when it’s convenient for us.

This is not a modern problem. James, one of the leaders in the early church, exhorted people with the following instruction:

James 1:22-25
22 But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like someone looking at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of person he was. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who works—this person will be blessed in what he does.

Pay special attention to verse 25 (I have underlined it). James does not say that the one who looks intently at behavior modification will then be a “doer who works.” Rather, it is the one who looks intently into the “perfect law of freedom.” He is speaking about the Scriptures – the 66 books of the Old Testament and New Testament that God uses to encourage, correct, rebuke, and train His people for righteousness.

What steps can we take to make sure our lives match our confessions? How do we truly LIVE as followers of Christ?

1. Look intently at the Scriptures.
What James is describing is a far deeper reading of the Bible than we generally practice. For most of us, we spend a few minutes each day reading a passage or a chapter from the Bible. At the most, we spend a few minutes reflecting on the passage and considering its application for our lives. This is good – do not misunderstand me – but it is not enough to sustain us.

One good way to do this is to study a new book of the Bible every month. Read commentaries on the book, study the historical context, read/listen to sermons preached from the book. If you are part of Renovation Church, I encourage you to study the Gospel of John deeply. We are walking through it verse-by-verse on Sunday mornings so it would be a great way to “look intently” at the Scriptures!

2. Takes notes when you read the Bible!
James describes two kinds of people who read the Bible – the first is a “forgetful hearer” and the second is a “doer who works.” Friends, we are far too guilty of being forgetful hearers! We study a passage in the morning and by lunch time we cannot even recall what we read a few hours before.

The best way to transition from forgetfulness to memory is to write down what you learn in your Bible reading. I utilize the CSB Notetaking Bible. This is a special Bible that has large margins for the reader to take notes and write prayers. After studying a passage I try to respond to what God is saying by writing out my prayer to Him in this Bible. Another added benefit is I hope to give this Bible as a gift to Ava when she graduates high school. It will (Lord Willing) be marked up by personal prayer and reflections of mine from my daily Bible reading!

3. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.
This third point does not come from the text above but is a major theme throughout all of the Scriptures. When Jesus ascended to be with the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit to fill His people. He promised that “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26).”

Please understand that you cannot make this transition through sheer will power. The ability to live out the Scriptures is a supernatural gift – it is the result of the Holy Spirit leading you daily to the River of Life. We should continually be pleading with the Holy Spirit to fill us so that we might treasure Christ over the meaningless distractions of this world.

If you are interested in learning more about studying the Bible in an effective way, I recommend the following book:
Reading The Bible Supernaturally – John Piper 

Listen. Worship. Live.

If you have found these blog posts helpful, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or send me an e-mail (tyler@renovationchurchsd.com)

 

Listen… Worship… Live (Part 2)

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In my sermon this past Sunday I closed with three words: Listen, Worship, Live. This week I will be taking time to write an individual post for each one of these disciplines to help you apply the Bible to your life.
Listen… Worship… Live (Part 1)


We often associate “worship” with a particular music style. This has caused the church to shrink the magnitude of worship. By this definition, worship is something we do once a week when we gather with other Christians to sing a few songs. Singing IS a form of worship but it is only a tiny part of true worship.

One of the greatest theologians of the church, the Apostle Paul, described worship this way in Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.

1. Worship is our response to God’s mercy.
Paul is urging the believers in Rome to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice IN VIEW of God’s mercy. Worship is how we respond to God’s initiative in our lives. In my previous blog post, I challenged you to set aside time to intentionally listen to God. Listening is required for worship – for worship is a response to our listening.

One of the best ways to do this is by practicing “lectio divina.” This is an ancient practice that literally means “divine reading.” It is the process of slowly reading and praying through the Scriptures. It transforms Bible reading from being a quest for information to a journey towards transformation. It allows Scripture reading to become a dialogue rather than a monologue.

You practice lectio divina by allowing the Scriptures to invite you into a conversation with God. You pray the prayers you find in the Bible, you thank God for his promises, and you meditate on His acts of faithfulness in your life.

2. Worship involves the totality of who you are.
Paul defines “true and proper worship” as offering our “bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” Worship is both a physical and a spiritual act. I have personally found it helpful to kneel on the ground when approaching God in prayer. This is an act of my body that helps my spirit remember that God is the Sovereign One of the universe. In comparison to God, I am but a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow. God is from everlasting to everlasting.

True worship engages our intellect and emotions… our minds and our hearts… our bodies and our spirits. Our theology (study of God) should always lead to doxology (the worship of God). Ultimately, worship is our response to God’s act of sending the Lord Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, die an atoning death, and resurrect from the grave for the redemption of the world.

So what does this actually mean? What does it look like for each of us to live a life of worship? 

First, it begins by listening to what God is saying. This is done by spending daily time in Scripture reading, silence, and solitude. After reading the Scriptures, spend a few minutes thanking God for what He has spoken to you. A helpful way to do this is by writing out a prayer of response. This can be extremely beneficial because your writings will provide you with a monument of your time with God. These prayers are moments with God that you can return to regularly to be reminded of His faithfulness.

All of life is worship. Your work, your family, your “free time” – all of it belongs to God. Is Jesus the Center and Sustainer of all that you do? Or are you ascribing worship to yourself rather than God? 

 

Renovation Church – Year End Letter!

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This is a letter that will be going out to all the people who have given to Renovation Church over the past year. I also wanted to share it on my blog and thank all of you for your prayer and support!

P.S. – If you would like to give to Renovation Church, you can give online easily and securely! 


Dear Renovation Church Family,

I want to take a minute to thank you for your incredible generosity. Renovation Church officially launched in the beginning of October with exactly zero dollars. We were truly uncertain on whether or not we would be able to pay expenses – let alone have resources set aside for outreach. Although we did not have the answer, we continued to take the steps that we felt God was leading us to take.

The Apostle Paul, in his short letter to the church in Ephesus, says it this way – “Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Friends, we serve a God who is more than able to provide for our needs – both as a church and as individuals. In November, only the second month of Renovation Church, we were able to give over $1,300 back to our community through a turkey giveaway and angel tree program. This was only possible through YOUR incredible generosity!

As we continue to grow, God continues to provide for our needs through the giving of His people. We currently have over $14,000 saved so that we can quickly mobilize for outreach and benevolence in our community and beyond. On Sunday, February 4th we will be meeting the first missionary organization that we will support as a church – Simba Educational Ministries. Simba Ministries has a mission “to further the Kingdom of God by equipping and empowering Kenyan children with the boldness of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the Gospel, through a Christ-centered education.” On Sunday, February 4th, Chase Ward (a local Garretson resident) will be coming to our service to share more about the vision of Simba Educational Ministries and give us an opportunity to support the people of Kenya through prayer, giving, and serving.

I seriously cannot wait to see what God is going to do in 2018 through our church and other churches in the area. I really believe the best is yet to come. It is an absolute honor to be one of the leaders of Renovation Church – thank you for allowing God to use you through your prayer, serving, and giving so that we can fulfill the mission God has given us of making disciples of all the nations.

In Christ,

Tyler Ramsbey

Listen… Worship… Live… (Part 1)

listenIn my sermon this past Sunday I closed with three words: Listen, Worship, Live. This week I will be taking time to write an individual post for each one of these disciplines to help you apply the Bible to your life. 


Most days I feel as if I am drowning in sound. The constant barrage from the television… the never-ending statuses on Facebook… and the persistent buzzing of my cell phone threaten to cause death by distraction.

We are polluted with messages from our culture. Messages which instruct us on living a better life, purchasing a new product, or even experiencing a special church service. These messages darken our minds and distract us from the One who really matters.

God is far more willing to speak than we are to listen.

Are you intentionally setting aside time on a daily basis for solitude, silence, and listening? I want to challenge you to practice this ancient art of listening to God speak every day for one week. The specifics are below:

Set aside a 30 minute block of time each day this week. Maybe you need to wake up 30 minutes earlier… utilize a portion of your lunch break… or stay up after putting the kids to bed. I want you to structure these 30 minutes in the following way:

  1. Spend time in complete silence (2 minutes).
  2. Slowly read through a passage of Scripture (20 minutes).
  3. Choose one or two verses from your reading and commit them to memory (5 minutes).
  4. Spend some more time in complete silence as a response to God’s Word (3 minutes).

If you take this challenge seriously you will be amazed at the spiritual growth that results. To make this as simple as possible, I would encourage the following reading plan this week. It will allow you to read the entire book of Galatians in the New Testament:

Monday: Galatians 1
Tuesday: Galatians 2
Wednesday: Galatians 3
Thursday: Galatians 4
Friday: Galatians 5
Saturday: Galatians 6


If you decide to take this challenge, I would love to hear from you. Either leave a comment or send me an e-mail (tyler@renovationchurchsd.com)