Net Questions:

1. How long have you been at Northshore Church? Could you share a little bit of your story as it relates to Northshore Church?

2.The fact that Jesus went through the storm of crucifixion, and ultimately overcame, has given Northshore Church the inspiration and strength to overcome the various storms it has faced. How has the inspiration and strength of the Cross helped you over come the storms in your life?
Heb 12:2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb 12:3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

3. How do you think God will use Northshore Church’s latest challenge, the need to raise four hundred thousand dollars, to strengthen its ministry? Paul had faced some personal challenges and even attacks by others to which he made the following statement...  “But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Tim 4:17-18

4. Jesus had this to say about His upcoming crucifixion... But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
John 12:32 (NIV)
Now listen to the Northshore Church Purpose Statement...
"It is our purpose to see the One who gave His life for us exalted and the ones He gave His life for transformed!"
Jesus was lifted up on a cross in order to draw people to God. We want to exalt Jesus so that people will be drawn to God. What are some ways we can exalt Jesus as individuals and as a church?


Sermon Notes

Two Stories/Some Similarities
John 12

Pray

That video tells a little bit of the Northshore Story. So much has happened in the 10 years since we launched into every Sunday services on Palm Sunday 2002. We actually had our first Bible study in July of 2001 in our home in the Pinehurst subdivision in New Kingspoint.

It wasn't long before we had a praise team going. Drums, lead guitar, keyboard, bass guitar…all in a corner of our den. Pretty crowded, but really fun. By October we had to move our studies to Oak Harbor Golf Club on Wednesday nights.

Jay and Bronie moved down just a few months after that first study. It was an exciting time. By January 2002 we knew we would need to find a place to worship on Sundays. Jay and I learned a lot about Slidell as we wondered around looking for any building that might fit the need.  

We happened upon an old gymnastics facility on 2nd street. We worked things out with the owners and began a buildout.
I was beginning to realize I couldn't continue to lead the praise team and preach, so we needed to find someone who could lead the praise team.

That's when I met Andrew Ogea. Yes our outreach pastor used to be our worship leader. He was at the ripe old age of 18.
Anyway, God was doing some really cool things and our team was growing.  

On our launch Sunday we had around 167 folks come. It was an exciting time.
It wasn't long before we were in two services and the building we were in had almost no parking and one bathroom. It looked like we would have to move, yet again.  

 That's when we found the old pottery world building. We negotiated a lease purchase to build out 16,000 square feet. Palm Sunday would be in 5 weeks so we said, why not? God worked a miracle and with our own people and volunteers from all over the state, we actually had our first service in that building on Palm Sunday 2004.   

Talking about exciting!!
Fast forward about a year and 1/2, and on Sunday August 21, 2005 we had 394 people in two services. I was humbled and excited at the same time.

Then the unthinkable happened.

We couldn't have church the next Sunday, because Hurricane Katrina was on her way and everybody was "gettin' outta Dodge!"
On Monday, August 29th, she arrived with furry. I had evacuated with my family to McComb, MS. and stayed with my parents.
Of course we were glued to the tv and the reports. On Thursday I drove back into Slidell. What I found was not good.

The church, my home, 5 1/2 feet of water.
Not a soul in my whole subdivision.

I remember walking into the church. Didn't need a key, the doors had been blown open and twisted by the force of the water.

I walked back to my office. What a mess. Looked like someone had ransacked the place!

Books scattered everywhere. Wet and muddy. Sound equipments, computers, everything, a big mess.

 Video Clip!

I walked outside and looked back at the building. Sadness, disappointment, uncertainty, fear, tears. Four years of really hard work. It seemed all blown away by the storm.  

Why Lord? I just don't understand! Just two Sundays ago, we had our largest turnout ever. Now, what are we going to do? Why did this have to happen? Why Lord, and what am I to do know?
This is so sad. I'm so sad.

Like so many others after the storm, I was just numb.

Now, let's shift gears to another story.

Very different, but some similarities.


Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
John 12:1 (NIV)

We don't know the exact time that had elapsed since Lazarus had been raised from the dead, but it was recent. Jesus had traveled to Ephraim, about 12 miles out in the hill country, because the religious authorities wanted to kill him for raising Lazarus. Now He  had returned and Lazarus' family was going to celebrate...

Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
John 12:2 (NIV)

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:3 (NIV)

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
John 12:4 (NIV)

“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. ’”
John 12:5 (NIV)

He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
John 12:6 (NIV)

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “└It was intended┘ that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
John 12:7 (NIV)

You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
John 12:8 (NIV)

Wait a minute. What? Jesus is talking about His burial? Why?

He had recently raised Lazarus from the dead, and many had believed on Him. Why the negativity? His ministry was quite successful!
Let's read on...

Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
John 12:9 (NIV)

So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well,
John 12:10 (NIV)

for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.
John 12:11 (NIV)

 What was Lazarus' crime?
Simply being alive!

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
John 12:12 (NIV)

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ’” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”
John 12:13 (NIV)

Again, it seemed things were going so great for Jesus. Miracles had been done, many believed, and now crowds had gathered and were saying great things about Jesus.

Palm branches had been used years before when the temple had been liberated from Syrian invaders. Palm branches were even on their coins, to celebrate that victory.

By waving these in front of Jesus they were trying to encourage Him to liberate them from the Romans.

"Hosanna" meant, deliver us now!
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," from the book of Psalms, meant a pilgrim on his way to worship, but, the crowds reinterpreted it to mean a King getting ready to conquer.

Back to our text...

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
John 12:14 (NIV)

“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
John 12:15 (NIV)

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
John 12:16 (NIV)

 Okay, Pastor Larry. This is a great story, but what does this have to do with the Northshore Story?

Remember, I said the stories were different, but had some similarities.



 Before Katrina, things had been going pretty good for Northshore. We didn't raise anybody from the dead physically, but we sure were seeing a bunch of people coming to life spiritually. And you know what, Satan certainly wasn't happy about that. Marriages and families were being restored. Young people were coming to know Christ as their Savior.

A somewhat successful ministry in the world's eyes anyway.
But then came the storm that threatened to end the Northshore Church and her ministries.

But, wait a minute. There's no storm in the story you're reading from Scripture is there?

Let's read on...

Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word.
John 12:17 (NIV)

Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him.
John 12:18 (NIV)

So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
John 12:19 (NIV)

I would say a pretty wicked storm was brewing!

Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast.
John 12:20 (NIV)

They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.”
John 12:21 (NIV)

Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
John 12:22 (NIV)

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
John 12:23 (NIV)

Jesus had avoided the attempts of the enemy to kill Him on several occasions. However, He knew it was time for the ultimate sacrifice to be made. It was the passover season and the  people were remembering how the death angle had passed over the Hebrew houses that had the blood of the lamb on the door post.

Jesus knew He was the Lamb of God who could finally defeat death and the grave. But there was only one way for this to be done.  Listen to what Jesus said...  

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
John 12:24 (NIV)

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:25 (NIV)

What was Jesus saying here? I think He was saying this...

If a person only lives for this world, this life, he or she will end up making decisions based on what's good only for them. This person will miss out on the life that is truly life, because they'll miss out on a relationship with God and meaningful relationships with others.

 Not to mention, this life is but a vapor. It appears for a moment then it vanishes away.


 If, on the other hand, a person lives with an eye toward eternity, he or she will make decisions that place God and others first and this will give powerful meaning to their life here and they'll enjoy the rewards of that life for eternity!!

Jesus went on to say...
 

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:26 (NIV)

“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
John 12:27 (NIV)

Jesus' storm was to be the Crucifixion. The Cross. And next week we're going to about the amazing things that came out of that storm. Namely, Amazing Grace!! Can I get an amen to that one?

Nothing I've ever experienced really compares to the Cross, and the terrible cost Jesus paid for the amazing grace that I now call my own, but...

I remember that day I stood by myself and looked at all the devastation at our church building after our storm.

I wondered if there would be any hope for reviving our church. You might remember, there was crazy talk after Katrina that they might just not even attempt to rebuild New Orleans. Seems crazy now, but the National News people were actually saying stuff like that.

 It's not unlike the feelings the disciples on the road to Emaus felt after Jesus died. They were distraught and thought the Jesus thing was all done for and over. You remember the story! Jesus walked with them for a ways and they didn't even recognize Him. He then stopped in their house and broke bread with them. Then they recognized Him, but He disappeared from their sight.
But that's another story...

I left the parking lot of the church parking lot and went searching for gas. The walmart just across the interstate had opened their gas station. People were lined up in a big circle all around the whole Wal-Mart parking lot. While I was standing there by my vehicle, I watched the helicopters, sometimes three in the sky at the same time, ferrying people from New Orleans to Northshore hospital.

God put it on my heart to go over and see if I could help out. They sent me to the command center and one of the people in charge, said, "boy am I glad you came by." We need someone to go room to room and offer to pray with all these people being brought over from New Orleans. I did. It was a powerful night.

 As I drove out to the old Talasheek Baptist Church, where I would live for the next three years, I realized...
God knew Katrina was coming before He called me to come to Slidell. Nothing catches Him by surprise! He spoke to my heart that this area would need ministry now more than ever.

I guess you could say Highway 41 was my Emaus road!

 Just as Jesus knew He had been called to bear the Cross, I knew God had called Northshore Church to go through Katrina and survive. Jesus knew that after the Crucifixion,  there would be the Resurrection! God let me know that this same resurrection power would get us through Katrina so we could help others get through that very difficult time and the other storms of life that everyone eventually faces.  

 The storms for us were not over. We found out our contract to lease purchase the 16,000 square feet we had built out at the old outlet mall had been ruled null and void. We weren't going to be able to get back in and fix up the place. Shocker!



Later we would purchase 12.8 acres on Alan road, and after traffic studies, meetings to rezone the property and wetland mitigation, we got the bids back and the cost of building a 12,000 square foot building(not nearly big enough) with parking and retention ponds, would be over 3 million.

 Talk about devastating! I began thinking maybe I should have tried harder to get us back in the old pottery world building.
That's when God used one of our staff members to speak to me in a powerful way.

Jeff Nave asked me…"What would we have done if we could have gotten back into that old building?"


 I told him we would have fixed it up and would not be homeless as a church.

Jeff said, "Yep, but what did we do?"
I said, "What!"
He said, "What did we do and what have we been doing since Katrina?"

I said, "well you know, cutting trees, gutting houses, and starting to rebuild houses!"

Jeff said, "That's right. What do you think God wanted us doing? Working on our own place or out there helping the hurting people and showing them the love of Jesus?

Talk about conviction!

As it turns out, God knew exactly what He was doing!!  He always does!!! He used this closed door to lead me to talk to the Rouses about this building. Although I knew they had been asking 6 million for the whole building, God put it on my heart so I called them.



 God worked a miracle on our behalf and we were able to purchase the 44,000 square feet we have now, along with the parking from the lane that comes right up to our front door all the way around the back. And we have cross easement agreements to use the other parking areas!!

And by a miracle of God, it wasn't 6 million, or 3 million, but 1.3 million. We borrowed the money to buy the building from a bond company in California that has financed church building projects for many years. And despite the 360,000 cash we had spent on the land we couldn't use, God gave us enough money to build out about half the space we had bought.

Okay fast forward a couple of years.

We have been faithfully paying our mortgage payment and have never missed a payment. God is good!!

About a year ago, we got a letter from a bank in California, stating that we owed them around 536,000 dollars.
 

We said, "Sorry, but we don't think so!"

Ends up they were right, and I was like, "Lord, here we go again! Another storm! Why is this happening?"

You'd think I would have learned by this time to just trust God through the storms, right?
I struggle with being a worry wart. I was like, "Don't tell me we're going to loose this building too?"

Here's what happened...

The bond company we borrowed the money from got a bridge loan from a bank so we could go to closing on the building. It was a ninety day loan and was to be paid back with the sale of 1.3 million in bonds. The company we were working with was to handle the sale of the bonds.
Ends up they only sold around 800,000 in bonds but never informed us of the shortage.

During this time, the banking crisis in America was at it's peak and the bank that made the bridge loan went under, so the bond company wasn't under pressure to finish selling the bonds.
However, another bank bought the assets and the loans of the bank that went under.

 This is the bank that wrote the letter.

But here's the miracle. The bank that bought the 536,000 loan, bought it for much less than 536,00. We don't know how much less, but we do know this. They have told us to make them an offer and we're pretty sure they will take 70 cents on the dollar and maybe less.

 Counting legal fees and everything, we believe we can pay off this 536,000 dollars for around 400,000. That's a savings of at least 136,000, but there's more to this story. Our interest rate on our bond loan is just under 8 percent. When we take 536,000 off of our mortgage, our loan to value gets so good, a local bank has said they would be interested in making a loan to us for a much lower rate!

 This would not only allow us to pay our building off faster, but probably at a less amount per month.
This is why we are calling this effort, 400 Forward. It will allow us to move forward and embrace God's future for Northshore Church.



 You know how crowded it gets in here some services? Well, if we had the money to move this wall and build out the back, we could more than double the size of our worship center. And the children's area and the youth area.

In fact, I will let a couple of our other staff members tell you a little about our vision as we move forward to embrace the future ministry God has called this church to do…



VIDEO

I want to end today's message with what Jesus said next in our text just after stating He knew it was time for the storm of Crucifixion…

Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
John 12:28 (NIV)

The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
John 12:29 (NIV)

Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.
John 12:30 (NIV)

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
John 12:31 (NIV)

But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
John 12:32 (NIV)

He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
John 12:33 (NIV)

 Jesus knew He would be lifted up on the cruel Cross of Calvary, but He also knew when He was lifted up, it would cause people to be drawn to Him. Drawn to Him for forgiveness, for mercy, for amazing grace, for strength, for peace, for being made right with God.
 

 Today, I shared, two stories with some similarities. Today I shared with you our newest challenge as a church, but we must not miss one very important similarity today between our story and His story.

 Listen again to verse 32...

But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”
John 12:32 (NIV)

Now listen to the Northshore Church Purpose Statement...

"It is our purpose to see the One who gave His life for us exalted and the ones He gave His life for transformed!"

Let's pray!