What Is The Reason To Celebrate?

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What is the reason to celebrate?  

This is a great question and a pretty loaded one at that, you know?!  There are so many incredible things deserving of celebration and not the least of these the mere fact that it’s Christmas time; the time of year where we recognize and focus on the gift of God through His Son’s birth.  That’s worth celebrating!

While there are many, many reasons to celebrate, the purpose of this blog is to celebrate how God is at work in regards to our new building in Burnsville (12156 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville).  

Five reasons to celebrate our new building:

Reason #1 – This past week, Wednesday, the City Council lead by Burnsville’s Mayor, Elizabeth Kautz, voted in favor of our church taking up residence in Burnsville.  The City Council issued us our CUP (Conditional Use Permit).  This was the last step in allowing Illumination Church to take up residency in the city and begin the buildout.  Burnsville, Savage, Bloomington and Eagan (4-corners) as well as Prior Lake, HERE WE COME!!!

Reason #2 – The property owner has agreed to invest $80,000.00 This money will go toward the demolition and reconstruction of our Worship Center as well as our Fellowship Hall.  What’s more is that the property owner has agreed to invest an additional $30,000.00 of his money into a mandatory covered trash and recycling receptacle, a necessity in order for our church to take up occupancy.  That’s an invest of $110,000.00 from the owner that he is willing to spend in order for our church to be there.  That’s worth celebrating!!

Reason #3 – Having our own facility will allow us the opportunity to facilitate the ministry that we believe God has been calling us to, ministry that is real and relevant in reaching the lost for Christ as well as changing the way people view God.  We will have our own space to worship in, to host community events, a place for our children and youth, a facility to use for various ministries, and a place to pursue the people that God has called us to with a concentrated effort week in and week out.  No more set up and tearing down means more time and energy invested in the community and the body of believers.  That’s reason to celebrate…especially if you’ve been a part of the set-up and tear-down crew ;0 

Reason #4 – Multiplication.  This is always something that we’ve seen in our future as a church.  By securing our own space we will be able to multiply the amount of worship experiences we are able to offer.  Instead of being limited by time and space on a Sunday or mid-week, we will be able to have more Celebration Services as well as various other programs including SONshine Kids, FireLight Youth, Ignite classes, community ed., counseling, weddings, funerals, baptisms, dedications and much, much, much more.  Volunteers who were once limited to either serving or attending service, but never both, will now have options and can do both.  That’s a reason to celebrate!

Reason #5 – Obedience is our success.  That’s a CORE value of our church and has been sense our inception.  We’re not bogged down by the standards of this world as tempting as it can be at times.  Instead, we believe that this is something that God placed upon our hearts and we want nothing more than to be obedient to what he has called us to.  It’s in obedience that we determine our success.  The fact that we are being obedient gives us reason to celebrate!

The work has just begun…

With the incredible opportunities that lie ahead of us, the work has just begun.  Though we’ve raised $38,337.00 to date and having had our first Serve Sunday at the new facility with many projects taking place, there is still a lot of work in front of us, and while some might be overwhelmed by the projects and money that needs to be raised, we are excited because this is an opportunity like never before for us to step up as a church and to go all in for what we believe God calling us to.  With that in mind, here are some ways that we still need to work…

  1. Prayer.  We need a lot of prayer.  Prayer for God’s will.  Prayer for favor in the community.  Prayer for the finances to come through.  Prayer that we don’t come up against any snags as we move forward with the building.  Prayer that people all over will be excited about our church and want to be a part of how God is moving in Illumination Church.  Prayer for our staff and incredible volunteers to be effective in sharing the gospel.  We need prayer!
  2. We still need to raise approximately $70,000.00 additional dollars to meet our projected budget for the buildout and building launch; money that is necessary in building the stage, buying chairs, furnishings, paint, building supplies, marketing and advertising, landscaping, signs, updated ProAudio (lights and sound), and more.  
  3. December 15th is our next Serve Sunday.  You can sign up to partner up with many others from within the church on this day to help build out the administration wing, to help demo (demolish) walls and ceiling tiles, etc., to help patch and paint, to help remodel bathrooms, to help with landscaping and more.  It’s a great way to connect with others and to serve the church and community.
  4. Spreading the word.  We NEED people like you to continue to get behind the work of God in and through Illumination Church and help spread the word.  We want to reach as many for Christ and it begins with one; the power of one person and one conversation and one invitation.  Who knows how God might use you as you get excited and tell your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers about what God is doing at Illumination Church.

So as you can see we have a lot of reasons to celebrate!  Will you join with us in celebrating and making an eternal difference in the lives of so many who need Jesus as we partner together through our SOS (secure our own space) initiative?!  

Pastor Andrew

 

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HEROES – Final week

This past week we buttoned up our series that we called HEROES; a look at various characteristics of a biblical hero.  What a great series and what an awesome opportunity for me to share one of my favorite stories and characters in all of the Bible, Ruth.

This short 4-Chapter book is a truly amazing, heroic story that includes great love, loyalty and commitment, faithfulness and truth, all tied up with a beautiful redemption message in the end.  It almost reads like a romance novel of old, yet is full of suspense and action.  One can’t help but be drawn in to the story and the lives of the characters in the story, women like Orpah and Naomi and Ruth.  Awesome!

If you haven’t already I encourage you to take some time this week and read or listen to Ruth in its entirety with a heart open to loving in a whole new, God-focused, selfless way.  

At the end of the sermon on Sunday I posed a few questions for your consideration.  In this short blog I want to take just a minute and reflect on these questions:

QUESTION 1 – Where are you being asked to step out in faith and love someone else in a completely selfless way?  In what specific ways could you show that love? 

Could you fight the need to be right, and instead bite your tongue when dealing with someone you care about?  Maybe you’re being shown someone who needs to be served in a specific way that you know you can serve, but you’ve been struggling with finding the time or energy.    

QUESTION 2 – Where do you hide behind a mask of “this world” vs. showing your authentic you?

Do you really tell anyone that 10% that you need help or struggle with?  Who holds you accountable to living life the way that God calls you to?  Are you always “alright, fine or great”?   Who in your faith community do you connect with and take down the walls of the world?  Reach out in faith that someone else is going to love you selflessly and is not only willing but eager to walk along side you in your journey and lift you up in your pain.  

 

QUESTION 3 – Where do you need to exercise more complete faith in God as your redeemer?  

Do you live daily with the knowledge that you have already been redeemed?   Do you know in your heart that the price for your life has already been paid through the perfect life and death of our Christ Jesus?   Do you fully understand that and what Paul writes in Romans 8:28,”And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV).   If He is leading you, calling you, or asking something of you; He already has a plan that includes caring for your every need. 

That about wraps up my thoughts for this week.  I invite you to share your thoughts, findings and insights as well.  

Have a blessed week!

~Carrie Guarrero 

 

SOS Update (11.26.2013)

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SOS Update – 11.26.2013

There is so much excitement about the SOS (secure our own space) Initiative; so many wonderful and incredible things taking place surrounding the possibility of us, Illumination Church, taking residence in our own permanent facility in Burnsville (12156 Nicollet Ave, Burnsville, MN).  In this short blog I’m excited to share some of the latest updates on our new Burnsville Illumination Church space!

  • Financial(s) to date: Our projected budget amount to secure our own space and be able to build the (Burnsville, MN) facility out for optimal use is $110,211.00.  This budget amount includes everything in the Worship Center (chairs, stage, lights, sound equipment, and more) as well as the SONShine Kid’s Wing, Fellowship Hall, Conference Room, Administration Wing and more.  *An itemized list is available at your request. Simply email Pastor Dan with an inquiry at: dan@illuminationchurch.com.  As of Sunday, November 24th, we have raised a total of $37,037, which is just over 1/3 of the way there.  Here is what it looks like broken down:
  1. ImageNOTE: We have an active graphic, which shows us weekly updates at our Sunday Celebration Services at Twin Oaks Middle School.  As you come in be sure to look for the Light House near Guest Central.  It will have the latest in financials.
  • Burnsville City Commissioners Town Hall Meeting:  At the City Commissioners Town Hall meeting last night, Pastor Dan and I sat in as the Burnsville City Planner gave a report and recommendation to the five Commissioners sitting on the board.  It was interesting listening to someone outside of Illumination give an explanation of what our intentions are both within the building as well as throughout the community.  For me, the coolest part of the whole meeting was at the end of the City Planners presentation.  Asked by the Chair of the Board if any of the Commissioners had questions or discussion items, a hand quickly shot up.  Anticipating some push-back, I sat in utter amazement as the Commissioner actively encouraged the other Commissioners to strongly support our church in our desire to secure our own space as he would be recommending approval.  What’s more is that he gave several reasons why he felt a church in their community would be a wonderful thing.  Immediately following the first Commissioners response another hand of a different Commissioner was raised who decisively agreed with the first Commissioners recommendation and threw in his thoughts on why our church in this space at this time would be a wonderful thing.  Soon after a motion was made and adopted and the City Commissioners voted unanimously, 5-0, to accept our proposal and to make a recommendation on our behalf to the Mayor and City Council at next week’s meeting, December 2nd.  What an exciting experience; one that will not quickly be forgotten, and one that is a pre-cursor for what everyone believes we will receive from the City Council as well.  Praise God!
  • Serve Sunday (11.24.2013): Last Sunday was the first of our Serve Sunday’s at the new facility.  27 people showed up and worked for nearly 4 hours cleaning, constructing, landscaping, scrubbing, smiling, working, hauling, laughing, sweating and doing life and ministry together.  All reports that I’ve heard were phenomenal; a huge success!  Here are just a few snapshots into what our Serve Sunday looked like:
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    Because of the amazing hearts and work of those who were able to make our Serve Sunday, we were able to clean the restrooms (deep clean), prep all of the SONShine Kid’s classrooms for painting, significantly clean up the yard with landscaping, frame in the offices in the administrative wing, tear out SheetRock in preparation for a hallway and much, much, much more…

Church, I am absolutely amazed at God and what He’s doing!  I couldn’t have imagined any of this had I tried.  What’s more is that I am overcome with joy and pride (a good sense of pride) at our church whom have stepped up in so many ways, whether financially or physically or spiritually and more, God is using the men and women and youth of our church to do incredible things together, things that will serve to change the way people view God in a community that is desperate for a church that is real, relevant and reaching.  Way to go church!

I’m looking forward to continuing in this journey together over the days, weeks, months and years to come…

But wait!  There’s more…

Here are just a few ways that you can still be involved in our SOS Initiative…

  1. Get signed up for our next Serve Sunday Project (December 15th) – info@illuminaitonchurch.com or sign up on Sunday.
  2. We are still $73,174.00 away from our projected budget for our new space.  We’d love for you to prayerfully consider how God might be leading you to give sacrificially in an effort to see our initiative reach it’s fullest potential.  You can give online (www.illuminationchurch.com) or give on Sunday morning at our Celebration Service.  Be sure to “earmark” your SOS Initiative offering as separate from your tithes and other gifts.
  3. Annual Commitment Cards: We are asking everyone to prayerfully consider what they might be willing to sacrificially give above and beyond their tithe toward the SOS Initiative.  You can download and print a card online at http://www.illuminationchurch.com or ask for Commitment Card at our Guest Central table on Sunday morning.
  4. Prayer: We need to be intentional about praying through this process and for our community, that God will use these efforts to advance His kingdom and to make His name famous; that God will give us favor in Burnsville in Savage in Prior Lake and in the community that we believe God calling us to.
  5. Spread the word: We’d love for you to share the exciting things that God is doing within Illumination Church with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  What’s more is that we would love for you to invite those in your community and spheres of influence to come and experience, first hand, the way God is working so that they might experience the work of the Holy Spirit through you and Illumination Church as well.

Blessed to be your Pastor and co-laborer in Christ!
Andrew's Signature

Pastor Andrew

What If? – Vision

What If? – Vision (click to watch the video)

We finished up our “What If?” series this past Sunday, and what an incredible time together as God shared the power of living out a vision.

The question that was posed Sunday was this: “Have you ever believed a lie, lived a lie or sold a lie?”

Too often we accept the lies of this world, which ultimately become something that we live out and eventually can turn into something that we sell to those around us.  This is common in nearly every area of our lives and is something that we have to intentionally wrestle against.

One of the lies that we, as individuals and as a church, have come to believe is the lie that tells you and me, “You can’t make a difference.”  What’s crazy is that the more we hear this crap, the more we believe it and the more we live it out.  We actually become so accustomed to believing this lie that we begin to sell it to others and justify why we can’t make a difference, making excuses like “If people only knew my past” or “I don’t have the skill set to make an impact” or “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the money” or “I don’t have the experience” and on and on and on.  It’s awful, these lies that we listen to, believe, accept, live out and recreate to others.  It’s just awful, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Let’s take it to Scripture for a minute.

There are many significant figures throughout the Bible, that nearly goes without saying, and no where do I find a more significant man when it comes to living out a vision than that  of Ananias.  In the book of Acts, Luke shares a testimony about a vision that Jesus gives to this man, Ananias, as well as his response and the power of obedience in living out a vision.

10 Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord!” he replied.

11 The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. 12 I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”

13 “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! 14 And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”

15 But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. 16 And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

17 So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength.
(Acts 9:10-19 | NLT)

Here’s what I think is so significant about Ananias obedience in living out the vision that Christ gave him and a question that we need to consider.  Because of Ananias’ choice to actively pursue the vision that God gave him in spite of the circumstances of this world, his obedience literally changed the trajectory of the Christian faith…literally!  Now, the question.  If Ananias had not been obedient to the call of God in his life by way of the vision that Christ gave him, would our faith be nothing more than antiquates; a faith that is talked about as a novelty?

So if God could use someone like Ananias: a man without a PHD or a MBA, a man without a ton of experience or all of the skills necessary to make a difference; if God could use his simple act of obedience in living out the vision that God gave him, what can God do through you?  What can God do through us, the church?

Let me take out all of the guess work for you and just tell you…God can do more than you or I could ever imagine in our obedience and in living out the vision that Christ gives us.

You don’t believe that.  Check out what Jesus tells his disciples: a group of misfit teenage guys who are trying to figure out this whole life and ministry thing by the minute:

Jesus: 12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 | NLT)

Let me give an example for you to chew on.  Jesus, after he kicked death in the teeth and conquered the grave, went and showed himself to his disciples and followers; 120 in all (Acts 1), and commands them to go and take their ministry to Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  120 men and women; guys and girls without the power of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Instagram, Snapchat, you get the point), and to share their lives and faith with a world in need.  There were no cars.  There were no trains.  There were no planes.  They didn’t even have the latest in foot fashion (Nike, Adidas, Reebok, TOMS, etc.).  What they had was a vision from Jesus to change the way people view God.

Here’s the thing, within a few hundred years, better than half of the Roman nation were Christians because of the disciples commitment to living out their vision.  Did you get that?  Men and women gave up everything in pursuit of the vision that Jesus gave them and literally walked thousands of miles into hundreds if not thousands of communities to share their lives and faith with others.  And it changed a nation; the most powerful nation on earth in that era.

If God did all of that with a group of 120 people who were simply willing to live out their vision, what could/would God do through you, through me, through Illumination Church today if we were committed to the call and cause of Christ today, tomorrow and into the future?

What if you lived out your vision?

What if we, as a church, lived out our vision?

Obedience is our success and I believe that God is calling us to share and to live out our vision in our community: Shakopee, Savage, Prior Lake, Burnsville, Jordan, Bloomington and beyond.

Buckle up!  It’s gonna be quite a ride!!

– Pastor Andrew