Compassion and Eternity

2 Kings 2:11-12
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  


Theme: When we live with a strong confidence that one day Christ will return it allows us to live with purpose and compassion.


Our life here on earth is merely to be a starting glimpse. There will be an eternal Kingdom that is beautiful beyond imagination. There will be no more pain, or tears or suffering we will dwell together with our God as it was intended to be from the beginning of creation. We will experience beauty and peace.

The historical theological view of Heaven is twofold.

One day the Trumpets will blow and Christ return will usher in a New Creation, a New Earth and A New Heaven

All who have died will rise again with Jesus.


Throughout history some church movements were so heavenly-minded that they would often neglect the environment, the poor, and injustice in this world. It is the idea that if Heaven is where we go, then we do not have to worry about the world we live in.

There is a new movement of Christians who see that indeed a new world is coming; a new beginning is starting, but it begins with the followers of Christ seeing ourselves as partners in the redemptive plan of God.

This is the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus. As we belong to the new world, the Kingdom of God, as we are children of God we live awake, active and ready with a purpose to be that light of Christ in the world.





Luke 10:29-37
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe


Theme: We are to see people the way God sees them.

The Biblical view of Humanity is twofold.

First, God Created Humanity in His image.
Genesis 1:27-28 -So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

The second Biblical view of Humanity is that we have fallen, that Humanity is awry.
We see the trajectory of humanity gone awry in Genesis 2-10 starting with Adam and Eve, then with Cain and Abel, Noah’s evil age, and the Tower of Babel. In Church history the theological term for this is Original Sin.

In order to see people the way God sees them it is both a conscious choice on our part and a dependence on God softening our heart.

Theme: Again, God calls us to see people the way God sees them.
…Beautifully created
               …But fallen, broken
                              …And in need of a Savior

1. From a scale 1-10, how would you rate yourself on seeing people the way God sees them?
  2. What is often the barrier? Cynicism? Past Hurt? Presuppositions? Judging?
  3. Is there a particular person in your life that God is nudging you to see them the way that God sees them?
  4. Pray this week for God to soften your heart.


The Church

Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  


We are in the middle of our sermon series, What I Believe, and today we will be wrestling with the topic of the Church. Let’s be honest - many of us have struggled over the years with what we believe about the Church. Some of us would even say we have become skeptical or even cynical. I am still very passionate about the mission of the Church. I am actually optimistic. Because the challenges and skepticisms we face are forcing us as Christians to go deeper.

Theme: I want us to go deeper and deeper in our faith as individuals but also as a church.

Today, I want to walk us through some parallels of the story of the Church with the story of Nehemiah.

God is stirring
Taking Inventory
Building Together
Feeding the People

Eugene Peterson and Marva Dawn in their book, The Unnecessary Pastor, begins with what they call the Lament of the Death of Depth. They claim we are losing depth in our culture and in our churches.



Mark 12:41-44
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  


Stewardship is the Scriptural practice of the beautiful tapestry of God’s people in Christ sharing talents, time and financial resources for the sake of the Kingdom.

There are three biblical principles about our money and our financial resources.

God owns it all.

God entrust us with resources.

God gives us the freedom to choose how to use what we have been given.

Tithing is an Old Testament Jewish concept that continued on to the early followers of Christ. It is the practice of proportionally giving from our income.

1 Corinthians 16:2 - On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned.  

The premise of getting started for any training program either in music, athletics, art or even in academics is that you have to start somewhere and progress one step at a time. Stewardship is the same way; regularly giving of our resources does not seem natural at first but it really is a key element of trust and discipleship. So we have to start somewhere.


Identity in Christ

Matthew 11:28-30/ Mark 3:13-15 /Mark 2:14-17
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  


“Who am I” has to be one of the most important and most asked questions in our lifetimes. Whether we ask it out loud or subconsciously we all want to know who we are. What is our identity?

Who am I?

• Am I Loved and Significant?


• Do I have Purpose?


• Do I Belong?



Romans 8:14-19
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God


Mark 2:15-17
And as He sat at dinner in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and His disciples—for there were many who followed Him. When the scribes of the
Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”


The Bible

2 Timothy 3:16-17
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  


The Bible is a comprised of 66 different books divided into the Old and New Testaments, written by different authors over a span of about 1,500 years, yet it presents a unified message of God’s plan and purpose for humanity.

Theme: The Bible is the inspired Word of God that guides our beliefs and actions.

2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

We see three powerful points from this brief passage in 2 Timothy

Scripture is inspired by God



Scripture is useful



Scripture equips




Historical Christianity accepts the position that the Bible is the authoritative text by which God revealed Himself. That is central to our Christian Belief. Yet the Bible does not stop there; through the Holy Spirit it has the power to transform us.

Christianity and reading the Bible is not simply a set of beliefs and a rule book for life that we are to master in a weekend. It is as many-sided as the world itself, full of beauty and mystery and power, and as terrifying and wonderful as God Himself. There is always much more to understand.



John 12:20-33
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  


The very essence of Christianity is that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He died on the cross and rose from the dead to save us all from sin and death. This central belief is often labeled as the Theology of Salvation. The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. To be saved means that we enter into a right relationship with God through Jesus.


Jesus was a master at layering imagery and meaning. This scene in John 12, Jesus shares a couple images and layers that foreshadow the power of the resurrection.

A grain of seed that dies to eventually bear fruit.




The image of Jesus being glorified or lifted up.




Again, Jesus’ resurrection is speaking of a world reborn. It speaks of reconciliation and redemption. God is able to take what looks dead and chaotic, and somehow turn it to good.

In Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

We are saved by grace, an undeserved gift. This gift is received by faith, by confessing Jesus as our Lord and putting our trust in Him. We can’t earn it by good works.

Jesus is inviting all of us to follow Him. Let God start restoring your life. Open yourself to God’s saving Grace through Jesus. All you have to do is surrender and respond to the voice who is calling you by name.


Personal God

Genesis 21:15-19
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe  

Personal God

Last week we discovered that God is the one true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the Creator of everything – seen and unseen. It makes sense that if we believe there is a God who created everything, then He is great.  BUT here is what most of us really want to know: is God good?

So today we will look at three stories in the Bible that describe specific characteristics of God’s personal nature.

Hagar – God sees, hears and is present




Woman at the Well – God forgives, heals and makes us new




Ruth – God provides, redeems and restores




Characteristics of God’s Personal Nature

I encourage you to read these every day this week, memorize them and pray through them. (Circle 2-3 you need to embrace the most)

  • God hears
  • God sees
  • God is present
  • God forgives
  • God heals
  • God makes us new
  • God provides
  • God redeems
  • God restores



Exodus 33:17-23
Rev. Jim Toole
What We Believe


Throughout church history and even today we have different writers, preachers and heroes of the faith that emphasize one aspect of God while often leaving out another. So what happens is our perception of God becomes too narrow or too small. I want us for the next few weeks to look at God from all angles.

Theme: We must realize that God is much larger than the constructs or boxes we often put God into.

Next week we will focus on the personal and compassionate nature of God. But I believe before we fully understand God’s personal nature we have to wrestle with two important truths about God; God is Holy and God is Creator.


God is Holy
Unless we grasp God’s holiness, glory and power we will not experience Grace.


God is Creator
I believe Christians can hold varying scientific theories while maintaining a worldview where the nature of the World was designed by a wonderful, loving creator. Through the Creator’s mere word, everything came into being.


I want to end this sermon today with all of us wrestling with the ultimate question, “Who is my God?”


Who is my God?
Take some time to write 10 adjectives you use to describe God.