Know Your Enemy

(I recently had the honor of writing an article for an internal publication at Interstates where I work as an IT Support Specialist so I figured I would share it here on my blog as well!)

The residents of a small town in Florida were nearly poisoned when a hacker used a program called “TeamViewer” to hack into a computer and multiply the dosage of sodium hydroxide nearly 100 times above the normal level. Thankfully, the employee sitting at the computer realized what was happening and was able to stop the process before it became serious. Due to this seemingly small vulnerability (they were all using the same password), this small town almost succumbed to poisoning, sickness, and death.

One of our values at Interstates is a commitment to safety. As our world – and company – becomes more reliant on technology we need to remember that prioritizing safety must extend into our digital practices. The greatest vulnerability in a computer network is not outdated systems, shared passwords, or malware. Instead, the vulnerability most exploited by hackers is the “human vulnerability.” Hackers use various forms of social engineering through email, text messages, and phone calls to deceive companies and wreak havoc on organizations (even, at times, seeking to poison water systems).

At Interstates, we are committed to all forms of safety – including digital safety. One of the ways we do this is by running “phishing campaigns” which seek to stimulate these forms of social engineering to bring awareness to this very real danger. The goal of these phishing campaigns is not to trick users but rather to come alongside of users in a friendly, helpful, and understanding way to help you succeed with this new form of safety.

Sun Tzu, the author of the famous book, “The Art of War”, explained the importance of understanding our “enemies” –

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

The reality is there are enemies who seek to manipulate, attack, and destroy others through digital technology. Our goal is to help you know yourself, know your enemy, and rise above the digital battles waged against our company.

A Warning to the Wise (Acts 20:7-12)

This past Sunday I had the honor of teaching through Acts 20:7-12. We will be meeting tonight (Wednesday) at 8:30pm via Zoom to discuss this passage in greater detail – all are invited to join us! The connection information can be found on our website: www.renovationchurchsd.com

The message is below and under that are the sermon discussion questions that will serve as a guide for our conversation tonight.

Book of Acts – Acts 20:7-12 

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

2. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

Discussion Questions

1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 20:7-12. What themes stand out to you? What questions do you have about this passage?

2. In the beginning of this passage, we see that the early church prioritized 3 things: gathering together, celebrating communion, and listening to Bible teaching. Out of these three priorities, which one does our church need to improve on the most? What are some practical steps we can take? 

3. Read Hebrews 10:24-25 and answer the following questions:

  • According to verse 24, we are to consider how we may “spur one another on to love and good deeds.” Practically speaking, what are some things we can do to be obedient to this command? 
  • In the beginning of verse 25, we are commanded to not give up meeting together. In your own words, why is it so important to regularly gather with the church? What are some things that distract us from the importance of this gathering? 

4. If we ignore these instructions from Scripture, we, like Eutychus, will spiritually fall asleep. Read Mark 13:32-37 to hear Jesus’ teaching on this subject. First, what stands out to you from this passage? Second, the main point is that we must “keep watch” rather than fall asleep. What does this mean practically? 

5. The other thing that will happen if we neglect gathering together, the Lord’s Supper, and sold Bible teaching is we will need to be restored to the Christian faith. Paul speaks more on this subject in Galatians 6:1-2. Read through these verses & answer the following questions:

  • What does it look like to be “caught in a sin”? 
  • What are the steps we should take to “restore” someone “gently”? 
  • Why are we instructed to “watch ourselves” during this process? What does this actually mean? 

Facebook Deactivated

Hey everyone!

I wanted to share a quick announcement to let you know I have deactivated my Facebook. I still have Messenger available so you can reach me via Messenger if you were formally a “friend” of mine on Facebook. This is temporarily and I will likely reactivate Facebook after a few months (maybe..)

I did not deactivate my Facebook due to any type of political motivation or fear of censorship. Instead, I discerned that I was beginning to view people differently based on their Facebook posts (because, let’s be real, people post really stupid stuff online). I no longer want to judge people based on their online persona and would prefer to build relationships through real conversation.

So, if you need to reach me and do not have my phone number, you can send me an email at tyler@renovationchurchsd.com or reach out to me via Facebook’s Messenger app.

The Impact of the Gospel (Acts 16:16-35)

I had the honor of teaching through Acts 16:16-35 this past weekend at Renovation Church. The message is below and underneath the message is the “Sermon Discussion Guide” to help you go deeper in your faith. I will be hosting an online small group this Wednesday at 8:30pm (central time) to discuss these questions – all are invited to join us!

Connection info for the online small group is here: https://renovationchurchsd.com/online-service-information/

Book of Acts – Week 41 – Acts 16:16-35
Discussion Guide

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

2. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

Discussion Questions

1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 16:16-35. What themes stand out to you? What questions do you have about this passage?

2. One of the most fascinating things about the beginning of this section is that the demon, through the woman, was proclaiming the truth of the Gospel. In many ways, demons have a more accurate theology than the rest of us. Since this is the case, what is the difference between saving faith and damning faith?

3. The “owners” of the woman reacted violently when their personal god of money was threatened by the Gospel. What are some common “gods” in our culture that are directly threatened by the Gospel? What are some false gods in your own life you have had to repent of as a result of the Gospel?

4. As a result of being obedience to Jesus, Paul and Silas are stripped naked, humiliated, beaten, flogged, and thrown into prison. Paul was likely reflecting on this experience when he wrote Romans 8:18-30. Read through this passage and summarize some of the key points in your own words – what stands out to you?

5. Tyler said in the message that the key to worshipping during the “midnights” of our own lives is to memorize the goodness of God during the light of day. Practically speaking, how do we do this? How do we prepare ourselves for suffering so that when suffering comes, our suffering bears witness to the Gospel?

6. Finally, what is at least one way you are planning on applying this passage to your life this week?

Dealing with Division (Acts 15:36 – 16:5)

This past Sunday I had the honor of teaching through Acts 15:36 – 16:5 at Renovation Church. Below the message is the “Sermon Discussion Guide” that will help you go deeper with the text. We will be discussing this sermon discussion guide during our online small group via Zoom on Wednesday at 8:30pm. All are invited to join us and the connection info is here: https://renovationchurchsd.com/online-service-information/

Book of Acts – Week 39 – Acts 15:36 – 16:5

Discussion Guide

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

2. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

Discussion Questions

1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 15:36 – 16:5. What themes stand out to you? What questions do you have about this passage?

2. Spend a few moments reflecting on division – what aspects of the (sinful) human heart lead to division and divisiveness? What are some common things people divide about today?

3. Keeping with the question above, read through James 4:1-10. What themes and words stand out to you from this passage that apply to the divisiveness of our church and culture?

4. In the beginning of this passage, we see the pastoral heart of Paul and Barnabas in that they want to go back to see how the new believers are doing. Often, making disciples is as simple as checking on how other believers are doing. Who are 3 people you will reach out to this week to see how they are doing in their faith?

5. Read through Ephesians 4:2-6. Based on this passage, what is some advice you would offer two Christians who just had an extremely heated argument on face masks, politics, or another hot button issue of our day?

6. Jesus is adamant in Matthew 16:18 that it is His job to build the church and not even the gates of hell will overcome it. Practically speaking, what are some ways this promise from Jesus should encourage us – especially in light of where the world is at today?

7. Finally, what is at least one way you are seeking to apply this message to your life this week?

Update On My New IT Position Alongside of Pastoral Work

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share a short update for those who were unable to attend the meeting tonight via Zoom. I begin my full-time IT position with Interstates in Sioux Falls on Tuesday, November 24th. I will be working Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm and, as a result, here are some of the changes that will be happening:

1. I am putting on “pause” all of my regular/weekly meetings I have with various individuals both inside and outside of our church for a month. After a month, I will have a better idea of what my schedule and rhythm will look like during this new season of ministry.

2. The one exception is that I WILL continue to lead the Wednesday night Bible Study via Zoom. The Bible Study will begin at 8:30pm instead of 8:00pm.

3. I will continue to preach and lead the same number of services as I have been doing. You will not notice any difference on a Sunday morning.

If you have further questions, feel free to give me a call (605-359-9486) or join us for one of our Wednesday evening meetings via Zoom. Have a great week and see you all on Sunday!

Another COVID-19 Update…

Hi everyone –
I am excited to announce that the Elders of Renovation Church have decided to continue to have in-person services at the American Legion. The reason for this are the following:

  1. Due to COVID-19, we generally have 20 – 25 people in attendance so our services are small (which is a really good thing right now).
  2. Every single person in the service wears a mask (including me when I preach).
  3. The Legion offers us more than enough room to practice social distancing. Each family unit is separated by over 6 feet from others.

All are invited to join us and we will continue to do our best to offer a worship service that prioritizes the safety and health of those in attendance by asking everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Important COVID-19 Update for Renovation Church

IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE FOR Renovation Church:

There are multiple people in our church – including leaders – who have either tested positive for COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting a test result, or who are quarantined due to a family member testing positive. As a result, the service for this Sunday will be moved online from the Renovation Church Facebook page.

Due to the rapidly increasing cases in our community, we may end up moving our services completely online for a few weeks but we have not made that decision yet. Instead, we are taking it one week at a time and I will do my best to keep everyone posted.

Thank you!

Career Update

I am excited to announce that I have accepted a full-time position with Interstates in Sioux Falls as an IT Support Specialist II (Tier 2) and will be starting on Tuesday, November 24th. Thankfully, the position requires no evenings, no weekends, and no being on call. I will need to work standard business hours in the beginning but as I get trained in and acquainted with the role, there will be opportunities for developing a flex schedule.

I will be doing this alongside of pastoral ministry at Renovation Church. For those who attend our church on Sundays, you will not notice any difference. I will still be leading, teaching, and preaching at the same number of services as I currently do. I will also continue to lead the weekly Wednesday night small group/Bible Study.

All that being said, it is unrealistic for me to think I can do everything I currently do. Pastoral care will be split between me, our Elders, and members of the church. For other aspects of the church to run smoothly, those who are members of the church will need to take ownership of various areas. If you currently attend Renovation Church and feel called to serve in a volunteer role that would take anywhere from 1 – 4 hours/week, please send me a message.

Finally, as I survey the effects COVID-19 has had on small churches across the United States (including Renovation Church) I firmly believe many churches are going to have to make a choice. Either churches will close due to decreased attendance & giving (not to mention pastoral burnout) or churches will restructure and rethink leadership to become more organic and aligned with principles we see in the New Testament. This role will allow me to remain as a pastor for the long haul and measure my “success” by making disciples and teaching the Bible rather than filling pews & relying on tithes.

I firmly believe there is no such thing as “secular” work for a Christian. If you are a follower of Jesus, all that you do is sacred – including your work – because you have been set apart by the Gospel. As I move into this new role, I am going to strive to be the best IT professional I can be as a means of pointing those around me to the beauty, hope, and life found in Jesus.

How to Strengthen Your Soul (Acts 14:21-28)

In the message this past Sunday at Renovation Church, I had the honor of teaching through Acts 14:21-28. Specifically, we studied verses 21-22 to learn more about what it looks like to be a disciple and the importance of having our souls strengthened. The message is below and you can find the “Sermon Discussion Guide” underneath the message.

We will be meeting on Wednesday at 8pm via Zoom to go through this discussion guide. Connection info is here: https://renovationchurchsd.com/online-service-information/

Book of Acts – Week 35
Discussion Guide

Before working on this discussion guide, please do the following:

1. Watch the message from this past Sunday if you were unable to attend the online service. You can find the message on our Facebook Page and on our website (renovationchurchsd.com).

2. Spend 5 minutes or so in prayer. You can either pray through the “Lord’s Prayer” or simply share what is on your heart. It is also good to spend at least 1 full minute in silence so that God can quiet your heart and mind as you prepare to study the Scriptures.

Discussion Questions

1. Read slowly and prayerfully through Acts 14:21-28. What stands out to you? What questions do you still have after reading through the text? Tyler ended up only sharing two of the things we can do instead of all four from this text due to time. As you read through this passage, what are some other things we can do to strengthen our souls?

2. In the beginning of the message, Tyler shared some common signs of “mission drift” or “feeling lost.” These signs are below. Do you resonate with any of them? Why do you think that is?

1. You start to question the reason you are doing the things you do in life
2. You start each day feeling horrible
3. You feel as if you are disconnected from the people around you
4. You are constantly thinking destructive, pessimistic thoughts
5. You think that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel

3. According to Acts 14:21, disciples are created through the Gospel. This is also highlighted in 1 Peter 1:23-25 – read through this passage. What stands out to you? If a somebody asked you, “What is the Gospel?” how would you answer them?

4. One of the primary ways we continue in the faith is by practicing spiritual disciplines. Have you ever studied spiritual disciplines before or is this a new concept to you? If you have studied them, what are 1 or 2 spiritual disciplines that have been especially helpful to you on your faith journey?

5. Another way that we strengthen our soul is through developing a theology of suffering. First, share in your words what the phrase “theology of suffering” means. Second, read through 1 Peter 2:19-25. What stands out to you? What further questions do you have about the place of suffering in the life of a Christian?

6. Finally, what is at least one way you are seeking to apply this message to your life this week?