Illuminate Community Church
About the podcast Illuminate Community Church
Illuminate Community Church Podcast - Pastor Jason Fritz - Scottsdale, AZ
1/23/22 - The Wisdom of Life or Death - Genesis 2:1-17 - Pastor Jason Fritz
And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 Originally, God created all things perfectly and he did not intend for any of his creatures to die, suffer, be in poverty, go hungry, get sick, or be in any kind of danger. God made it very clear that there would be an unwanted consequence to Adam’s rebellion. Now what’s interesting is that Adam did not drop dead on that day. However, the relationship between God and Adam was immediately broken. So the consequence of sin was both physical and spiritual. It’s interesting and I’m speculating a bit here…but it seems Adam was not fully aware of what death was until after this when God kills an animal to clothe Adam. Death became an immediate reality and for Adam in that moment it must have been shocking to see the life of the animal drained. Something he had never experienced before. He now understands better that his own physical existence would come to an end. Note that Adam had an invitation to eat from the tree of life. But there was no temptation in that because he already had life. It seems we humans always want what we don't have even if it costs us. So the temptation for Adam was this: to seek wisdom apart from the word of God. Let me repeat that... The temptation for Adam was to seek wisdom apart from the word of God. Moral autonomy leads to death. Adam and Eve tried to sidestep God’s wisdom. They usurped God’s role in determining what was right and wrong. Whenever man does this it always leads to his or her pain and heartache. In contrast to Adam we have Jesus, the second Adam. He too was tempted to live apart from God’s word and God’s wisdom. Satan came to Jesus in the wilderness. Consider this in Matthew chapter 4: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Do you see the game Satan plays? He’s been at it for a long time. This lie is his main source of destruction, “Don’t rely on God, rely on yourself!” Adam got his wisdom his way and it killed him. In contrast, Jesus would spend his entire life submitting to God’s word. The result? For those who believe in Jesus the curse of death that Adam brought has been undone and eternal life is given. What you do with the word of God is everything. The great temptation for both Adam and Jesus is still the great temptation for us today. Especially for us as we live in a postmodern context where truth is what you make it. Or truth is how you feel. And the choice remains - every day you are faced with eating from the tree of life or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We know how the story ends. The tree of life shows up again when the garden is recreated and at this point in time it will have been well established that God’s wisdom gives life!
1/16/2022 - The Story of Creation: Sex and Gender - Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18-25 - Pastor Jason Fritz
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27 So what does it mean that man is created in God’s image? It means that man is different from every other created being because He has God as his pattern. This means though we are biologically similar to certain animals, we are distinct in our moral, intellectual, and spiritual capabilities. This means we are also different from angels. Nowhere are we told that angels are made in the image of God, therefore angels cannot have the same kind of relationship that we have with God. This also means the incarnation was truly possible. It shows us that deity and humanity are not exactly the same, but they are compatible. This also means all human life has intrinsic value unlike any other form of life. We cannot determine the value of a human on any other quality than the simple fact that the human alone was created in the image of God. If you visit Iceland you’ll notice there are virtually no people living with Down Syndrome because those babies are terminated during pregnancy. Believe it - individuals with Down Syndrome reflect the image of God in their own unique way. Those with special needs have a special reflection of the image of God. Now in the next verse (27), the concept of man being created in the image of God is repeated to give emphasis. Additionally, God’s creation of man in God’s image also includes a unique pairing: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. This has implications for the time in which we live. The Bible is both straightforward and gracious in everything. So any conversation about sex and gender must also do the same. There are many asking sincere questions about how they feel and the experiences they’ve had. The church should be the one place where people can expect to engage with the truth in compassionate, authentic and life-giving conversations and that’s what we plan to begin this Sunday.
1/9/2022 - In The Beginning - Genesis 1:1-19 - Pastor Jason Fritz
Last week we gave an overview of the book of Genesis and we said that it is much more than a narrative about creation. It is, as the title specifies, about beginnings. Most importantly, the beginning of God’s relationship with man. This Sunday we’re going to take a deeper dive into the opening lines. We’ll see the carefully crafted narrative starts with God’s introduction of himself. And what an amazing introduction it is. If you were in a room full of people and they asked you to introduce yourself, you would give your name and perhaps talk a bit about your family or what you do for a living. So consider how God introduces himself in the opening line of the Bible… In the beginning, (that is the beginning of time) God (the Hebrew word is Elohim and it appears 35 times in chapter one catching the reader’s eye again and again) created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1 In other words, it’s as if God says, “Let me introduce myself. Look around you. Do you see the beauty, order, design, complexity, power and purposefulness in nature and the universe? I did all of it.” This is helpful. Right from the start God wants to answer the most basic question any human can ask. Where did all this come from and where did I come from? The philosopher Jean-Paul Sarte stated the essential problem of philosophy: there is something, instead of nothing. Why? Everything else in our life flows from the answer to this question. God wants us to understand that the world did not create itself nor did it come about by chance. Rather, God introduces himself as the creator in the fashion of someone who takes a lump of clay and begins to form it into something extraordinary. If you believe God created the heavens and the earth and the universe then he can remake you as well. He can bring a Genesis into your life. One of his first creation acts was to bring light where there was darkness. He still performs this today. As we will see, Genesis is about God’s grace and mercy toward people who get themselves into all kinds of trouble. The solution is Jesus!
1/2/2022 - God’s Intention for Everything - Genesis - Pastor Jason Fritz
If you asked me for one writing that appeals to all people including the scientist, engineer, philosopher, teacher, laborer, housewife and child; I would have to say it’s the book of Genesis. It answers the three basic questions everyone is asking. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? And if there was ever a time our world needed to bring clarity of purpose, meaning and direction it is now. Psychology Today posted an article titled: Welcome To The Age of Confusion: Existential Confusion Runs Rampant in the US. The author gives a list of challenges: Mass shootings, skyrocketing suicides, depression and anxiety, dramatic increase of drug use, culture of victimhood, racial tensions, troubled educational system, uncertain economic patterns, climate crisis, diametrically opposed political views, a damaging 24/7 polarizing news and social media cycle, ever changing definitions of sexuality, gender and personhood. Overwhelmingly people in America believe we are headed in the wrong direction. What is the answer? The author goes on to say that the Christian worldview is impossibly outdated. He also states that the progressive view does not embrace the reality of the human existence. What’s fascinating is that the book of Genesis, while antiquated to some, speaks directly to the today’s source of and answer for the world’s confusion. In other words, it points to the realities of the human existence and what has gone wrong and how God intends to fix it. For this reason also Genesis is about Jesus Christ. Jesus quoted from it himself many times. The book has been termed the “seed” message because in it we see the genesis of sin, grace, forgiveness, redemption and restoration. So Genesis is not just about creation, it is about order, design, purpose and meaning. The very things our world is desperately searching for. For this reason, this series is for everyone. However, it is especially for those who are 30 and under and even more so for Generation Z. I hope you will commit to attending faithfully each week and be transformed by this incredible book.
12/26/2021 - New Year New Love - John 15:12-17 - Pastor Jason Fritz
2021 is almost in the record books and 2022 is right around the corner. What will this upcoming year bring for you? Joy, sorrow, pain, pleasure and sometimes all in the same day. Many of us will make a new start. We’ll put forth the effort to change things in our lives..at least that’s our intention. However, some things never change like our desire to be in meaningful relationships. It’s the desire to be loved and love others. This longing is at the heart of Christianity. Many think Christianity is little more than a self-imposed code of conduct. Not so. The Bible describes Christianity as a relationship with Jesus. It might surprise some to know that Jesus wants to be your friend. Now if you think about it, this raises an interesting question – How in the world does one be a friend to the co-creator of the universe? Well the answer is found in John chapter 15. The author was one of Jesus’ best friends. We know this because Jesus asked John to take care of his mom as he was dying on the cross. But there’s more here than meets the eye because Jesus was demonstrating his love for John at that very moment. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 Jesus was laying down his life for John…and me…and you. Friendships are built on the pillars of respect, trust and communication. Of these three, I think perhaps the one we struggle with the most is trust. In my life the greatest hindrance to developing a close friendship with Jesus is my bent to live my life in my own strength, to rely on my own insight, to think that I know what God wants me to do. I can easily distance myself from Jesus by trusting my feelings and my inclinations. Remember your friend group from High School? You shared a similar appearance, listened to the same music and probably got into the same trouble. In other words there were identifying characteristics that connected you as friends. The same is true with Jesus. His original group certainly didn’t start this way but overtime you could see them praying, choosing self-control, resisting anger, showing love to all and serving others. These are the marks of Jesus’ friends. We should never forget that Jesus was the one who initiated the love himself through his death on the cross. No better compliment can be had than to be called the friend of Jesus.
12/24/2021 - Christmas at Illuminate - Pastor Jason Fritz
We really need Christ in our Christmas this year. Don’t you agree? Silent Night and Peace On Earth sound pretty good too. How about some Joy To The World? Seems to be a lot of shouting right now but it’s not the sound of joy. Lines are drawn. Hostilities, dissension, anger, violence are at the top of our social media feeds and on every news broadcast…every single day. We need the hope of Jesus who is the Christ. The name Jesus means “the Lord is our salvation.” The title Christ means messiah. Christmas is the celebration of God’s promised messiah born to save us. I’m always amazed at the way God works. The sights and sounds and smells of a stable were the first sensations of the new born king. An improbable cast of characters surround him. A teenage virgin and her betrothed who has only been shaving his face for a few years. This is majesty in the midst of the mundane. God in a barn. Jesus emptied himself of his rights and privileges as deity and arrived to the earth in humility so that he might taste death for us all. We need to be saved. Saved from guilt, shame, sin and death. Saved from the many false messiahs we think will save us. We need something that will unite us. We need the manger and everything it represents - light, freedom, forgiveness, mercy, grace and love. Think about this…if Jesus was willing to show up in a stable, then what place could possibly be off limits for him? No place is too dark. Max Lucado tells the story of Father Josef Mohr who pastored the small church of Arnsdorf near Salzburg, Austria. The congregation, like the village, was comprised of simple people. They were farmers and woodworkers. There was more poverty than affluence. They worked long hours and endured harsh winters. Christmas was one of their few respites. The pastor did his best to make the holiday service special for his flock. But this year, 1818, he had a problem. The organ had become unfit for use. It was old. Mice had eaten at the bellows. The church needed a new one. But they didn’t have the money. Father Mohr went to his organist and expressed his chagrin, “We must have something special for midnight mass.” What is Christmas, they wondered, without music? On the day before Christmas Eve, the Father was called to administer last rites to a dying woman. By the time he returned to Arnsdorf, the hour was late. The valley and the village lay in darkness. The priest paused on a height overlooking the town. The events had left him sad: the useless organ, the death of a parishioner, the cold night and long journey. His heart, like the valley, was lost in shadows. But then he saw a faint light of a distant home. Against the black curtain of night, it shone even brighter. The priest pondered the light, then thought to himself: It must have been something like this–that silent, holy night in Bethlehem. Suddenly inspired, he hurried home, sat over his desk and wrote: Silent Night, Holy Night, All is dark, save the light, Yonder where they sweet vigils keep, O’er the Babe, who, in silent sleep, Rests in heavenly peace, Rests in heavenly peace. Silent night, peaceful night, Darkness flies, all is light; Shepherds hear the angels sing. Alleluia! Hail the King, Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born. Upon arising the next morning, he took his lyrics to Franz Gruber, his organist. Within moments, Gruber imagined the perfect melody. When he sang the song to his wife, she told him, “We will die, you and I, but this song will live.” The song lives on because the world still exists in shadows and we hold hope to the promise that light has entered and still shines.
12/19/2021 - Jesus is Savior - John 4:1-14 - Pastor Jason Fritz
Merry Christmas Illuminate Family!!! Don’t forget to share the Christmas Eve invite with your friends and family. Let’s pray that many will hear and receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. What gifts will you enjoy this year? Can I remind you of the gift already given to you from Jesus? I love the stories of people receiving what Jesus offers. One of my favorites is the woman at the well. Jesus said this to her... “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 For many years in the eastern world water has been a metaphor for life. We Phoenicians understand this better than anyone because we live in the desert. If you are dying of thirst you will be tempted to drink anything, including that which is poison. So how does Jesus' water satisfy? Here’s how - you have needs. You have a need for purpose. You are not here on accident. God has a will for your life, get to know your creator and you will discover that will. You have a need to be loved. You need a father that is perfectly patient, committed to your growth, all wise and accepting you always. This is what God does for you. No one but God can give you this perfectly. You have a need to be forgiven. Otherwise you are going to carry a lot of guilt. Jesus removes the guilt and replaces it with forgiveness. You need to know where you’re headed. The water of Jesus’ life gives you this assurance. That’s what the resurrection is all about. Jesus having power over death and extending that power to you! Notice the water Jesus gives is spring water. There were two main sources of water in the desert. A cistern and a spring. A cistern was built to catch and hold rainwater. But they would often dry up. Jesus does not describe himself as a cistern, instead he describes himself as the spring. Springs are persistent. They are continuously bubbling up. You try and cover up a spring and what happens? It pushes forth, it finds a way out. This is the Christian life. The more freely that spring water flows the more it cleans out the pollution in your life!
12/12/2021 - Jesus Is King - Hebrews 1:1-3, Philippians 2:8-11 - Pastor Hudson Garcia
Last night I went over to my in-law’s house to watch the Christmas movie, Elf. This is a tradition in our family that signals the Christmas season is officially upon us! One of the things I love most about this time of year is holiday traditions. One of the longest-running traditions in my home growing up was reading the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible before opening gifts. When reading from the account in Matthew, we would often start at Matthew 1:18. Now, if you have younger kids I would recommend starting there as well, but starting at Matthew 1:18, is actually missing one of the most important aspects of Jesus’ birth. Part of the significance of Jesus’ birth is rooted in a promise that came hundreds of years prior to King David. 2 Samuel 7:16, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” Israel suffered as a nation under the evil and wicked leadership of one king after another. Their only hope was the promised Messianic King who would come from the line of David. The genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17 makes it clear that Jesus comes from David’s kingly line. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, people realized that Jesus was the long-awaited king of Israel and on a few occasions tried to forcibly make him king. The problem was that the Jews were not ready for how Jesus would earn his title as King. They expected him to earn it by overthrowing the oppressive Roman government that ruled in Israel. Hebrews 1:3 and Philippians 2:8-11 paint a different picture. We find out in these passages that Jesus earned the title King not by taking a crown of jewels, but by taking a crown of thorns. Though Jesus subjected himself to death for the sins of the world, He was exalted by the Father, earning the title King of Kings. Jesus is not only the King above every other King, but He is a King worth following. The reason that Advent season is so sweet, is because we do not just look back at Jesus’ first coming, but we wait in anticipation for His return. Jesus may have come the first time on a donkey, but when He returns He will be on a white horse with a sword in His hand. When He returns, He will defeat death and evil once and for all. This is why we celebrate Advent, to pause and remember our King is returning.
About the podcast Illuminate Community Church
Illuminate Community Church Podcast - Pastor Jason Fritz - Scottsdale, AZ