Why Parables?

Scott Axtmann
April 23, 2017

Parables are a form of teaching often associated with Jesus because he used them frequently. A parable employs story and metaphor to explain an idea. Sometimes parables are very easy to understand, but sometimes the point is not immediately obvious and needs to be searched out. Pastor Scott explores the question the disciples asked Jesus of why speak in parables. The answer to that question is very different than what most people think. This message serves as an introduction to the series on parables. 

The Sower

Scott Axtmann
April 30, 2017

The Word of God is sown into hearts, but all hearts don't respond the same way. Pastor Scott teaches on the Parable of the Sower showing four very different types of hearers. Some are completely shut, and others get excited but eventually fall away. Other people grow but distractions choke any real fruit from coming forth. The good heart, though, hears and receives and produces abounding fruit over the long haul. Our relationship to God's Word determines our measure of fruit, and Pastor Scott presses the point that fruitfulness is not optional. The message concludes with some practical thoughts on what fruit looks like, and how we can be fruitful. 

Wheat and Weeds

Scott Axtmann
May 14, 2017

There are, undoubtedly, many things that frustrate us as godly people in this world. We are grieved by the gross things that happen in the name of Christianity, and we are vexed by the atrocities in society. Just like the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven, we at times long for God to come and cleanse away all evil. Pastor Scott shows us in this parable that Jesus is teaching us to synch up with God's timetable and join him in the great work of extending mercy to all people. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the season of grace. Now is the time to love all people regardless of how evil they may be.

Mustard Seed and Leaven

Scott Axtmann
May 21, 2017

It is common for followers of Christ to feel small and insignificant, and to feel like progress in the mission isn't really happening. It's easy to become weary and to even wonder if the Lord has anything big in store for the future. Jesus addresses all this in these twin parables as he teaches us that the kingdom may start small, but over time it will grow to be something huge. Pastor Scott gives some strong encouragement at the end to stand firm and keep sowing seeds, trusting that in due season, we will reap a harvest. This is the perfect message for those getting weary in the work of God.

Treasure and Pearl

Scott Axtmann
May 28, 2017

What do you value the most in this world? There are so many enticing things around us and it's very easy to become attached to this present world. Jesus teaches twin parables about how the person who discovers the value of the kingdom will joyfully give up anything in order to attain it. Pastor Scott discusses the paradox of how eternal life is a life gift, but costs us everything we have to obtain it. Are we truly surrendered? 

The Family That Runs

Chris Waugh
June 11, 2017

Is there an inherent purpose to our lives? Is there an intrinsic design in our relationships with the people around us? Ren youth director, Chris Waugh, led us into discussion about the parable of the Prodigal Son. In this parable, Jesus invites his audience into right standing with a Father who runs to his children and celebrates their existence. Jesus argues that the rightful meaning and design of human life is familial intimacy with the Creator of the Universe. 

Friend at Midnight

Scott Axtmann
June 18, 2017

One of the greatest challenges in the life of any Christian is to develop a strong, vibrant, unceasing practice of prayer. The disciples who walked with Jesus quickly realized that they didn't pray the way Jesus did, so they asked him "Lord teach us to pray". Pastor Scott expounds on Luke 11:1-13 as Jesus teaches the disciples some important lessons on praying. Jesus gets at the very root of how we perceive God within because this determines whether we will be motivated or discouraged. The message is relevant to both the brand new believer desiring a prayer life and the old saint who has been walking with the Lord for several decades. Also, being Father's Day, there was also much threat throughout the message about God as Father. 

The Rich Fool

Scott Axtmann
July 2, 2017

If this message was understood and put into practice by just the Ren community, it would unleash tens of millions of dollars into the causes of the kingdom of God over the years. Jesus talks much about our relationship with money and things, and the parable of the Rich Fool is all about the vision we have for how we will use what is given to us. What matters most is not how much we give but how much we give in light of what we have. In the latter part of the sermon, Pastor Scott addresses three questions: Why does God call the man in the parable a fool? What does it look like to be "rich toward God"? And how will God tell our story when it's all over?

Great Banquet 

Scott Axtmann
July 7, 2017

What does it cost to be a disciple? We are told today that since salvation is a free gift, all we need to do is believe and receive - and we've made this as easy as possible with the creation of "sinner's prayers". The problem with this oversimplification is that the call of Jesus to be saved is synonymous with discipleship. Jesus has much to say about discipleship and it's clear that it's a renunciation of everything we have and all we are. It's costly. Pastor Scott expounds on the parable of the great banquet from Luke 14 to show what it means to be a true disciple. This is a heart searching message for all to assess whether or not we are truly ready to stand before God.

The Wise and Foolish Builders

Chris Waugh
July 14, 2017

In this message, youth leader Chris Waugh preaches a message based around the parable of the wise and foolish builders. In this parable, the foolish man builds his house upon sand and it falls down during the storm. However, the wise man builds his house on a rock, and it remains strong against the winds and rain. Jesus uses these builders as a metaphor to show that a life that is not built upon the Word of God will not withstand the storms of life; only a life built upon the Word of god will last forever. 

Lost Mission

John Michaelson
July 23, 2017

Many of those who have grown up in the church have been encouraged to perform evangelism. But what does that mean? And where does that fall in the life of a follower of Christ? Drawing from the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin, as well as the story of His interaction with Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke, its clear that Jesus' passion and greatest mission is "to seek and save the lost". In this message, Ren elder John Michaelson touches on the idea that evangelism is not just something some of us do, but a "normal" Christian discipline similar to prayer or bible study. More importantly, it is the ultimate mission of every follower of Jesus to share the Gospel message with those who have not believed in or heard it. In the second half of the message, John gives encouragement about being a living witness, as well as some practical ideas about how to share your faith. 

Pharisee and Tax Collector

Scott Axtmann
August 6, 2017

Perhaps the greatest widespread deception in people everywhere is the idea that being good is enough to get you into Heaven. Jesus tells a parable to address this very error of self-righteous pride in Luke 18. It contrasts two different kinds of people: one is a moral religious praying man who congratulates himself for how good he is, and the other is a reputed sinner who is utterly broken before God. Jesus makes the statement that the humble man crying out for mercy will walk away justified, whereas the self-righteous man will walk away not justified. This message preached by Pastor Scott is applicable to all who long to be more humble. This is an important message because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 

Unmerciful Servant

Scott Axtmann
August 13, 2017

We live in an unforgiving world. We all experience things like hurt, betrayal, injustice and wrongs against us. Some have even been abused or raped or have been violently attacked to the point of injury. Others have lost loved ones because of the careless actions of others. Forgiveness is hard but Jesus presses us in this parable (Matt 18:21-35) to not only forgive but to abundantly pardon. The whole point of the parable is that in light of us, as children of God, being so graciously forgiven by God of the enormous debt of sin we could not pay, we should readily forgive our brothers and sisters their debts against us, which are small in comparison. Pastor Scott also talks about the consequences of harboring resentments against people. It's the equivalent of practicing willful sin and results on falling under the disciplining hand of God. Everything in this sermon is a persuasive reasoning to let go of any sort of unmerciful attitudes we have toward anyone no matter how great the offense may be.


Scott Axtmann
August 20, 2017

Every human being created by God since Adam has been given life and breath and varying amounts of time, energy, gifting, opportunities and so on. Each person is responsible to do something to honor their Creator with what they've been given. God calls all people to Himself and each person chooses to respond in different ways. That's the point of the parable of the talents. What we do with what we've been given determines our end. This is a challenging message that aims to stir hearts toward greater stewardship and aims to awaken the person who presently is not truly serving God.