Philippians: I Can’t Do All Things | 7-3-2022

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 5/26/2023

Sermon Prep

Last time I mentioned that life was so busy leading up to my wedding that I had only journaled twice in-between sermons. Well since late-June of 2022 up until the day of this sermon, I journaled nothing. I was doing the final weeks of prep before my USS Nationals show on June 25th in New Hampshire and that last minute training ate up a good chunk of my time. Of course the upcoming wedding ate up the rest, so with the little time post-competition I penned this message.

My final placing was 2nd to last for that show. I beat one guy in the Open Men MW (198-) class and gave arguably my worst Strongman performance ever in competition zeroing 3 of the 5 events. It was quite the dud of a showing on my part and I wasn’t even in very good shape. I showed up weighing 13lbs underweight with an incredibly lackluster strength physique going into my toughest show ever and yet I loved it.

My then-fiancée, Glory, traveled and supported me there. Which made the competition more about enjoying the show than just trying to win it. This experience in retrospect I think had a strong effect on this message in that I truly can’t do all things. I can’t win everything I try and I can’t do everything on my own, but we’ll get to why in the notes section. Speaking of which, here were the notes for this sermon:

Sermon Notes

Opening Line

  • Tonight, we’ll be in Philippians 4:10-23.
  • What should be our mindset on giving/receiving?

Intro

  • Read Philippians 4:10-23.
  • Mom’s mental breakdown grieving Grandma Rachel.

Transition To Main Point

  • To express gratitude to God for us all supporting each other, while also carefully highlighting some important Christian aspects of giving and receiving.

Main Point

Six Themes on Gifting (4:10-20)

  • Gratitude (4:10) -> “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have received your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but had no opportunity.”
  • Contentment (4:11-13) -> “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
  • Partnership (4:14-16) -> “Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.”
  • Fruitfulness (4:17) -> “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
  • Worship (4:18) -> “I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
  • Faith (4:19-20) -> “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Goodbye For Now (4:21-23)

  • “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

Why It Matters

  • Gratitude + Contentment (materials needs)
  • Partnership + Fruitfulness (social needs)
  • Worship + Faith (spiritual needs)

Explain the 1st + 2nd Mountain Concept

“All their lives they’ve been taking economics classes or living in a culture that teaches that human beings pursue self-interest-money, power, fame. But suddenly they are not interested in what other people tell them to want… The world tells them to be a good consumer, but they want to be the one consumed-by a moral cause. The world tells them to want independence, but they want interdependence-to be enmeshed in a web of warm relationships. The world tells them to want individual freedom, but they want intimacy, responsibility, and commitment. The world wants them to climb the ladder and pursue success, but they want to be a person for others… They’ve gone from self-centered to other-centered.”

David Brooks, The Second Mountain
  • The Christian life is other-centered, not self-centered. We die to self to help someone else. It’s a giving mindset.
  • Give to your neighbors, the church, your community, and even people you hate.
  • I can’t do all things, therefore God gives. You can’t do all things, likewise God gives. In all things, be giving to others as God has given to you.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, I was reading The Second Mountain by David Brooks during the summer of 2022 and started reading it in New Hampshire during USS Nationals. It had a big impact on me and especially this message I shared with Reunion Church. If there’s one thing you can extract from my life, I’m not afraid to leverage the culture for the sake of Christ.

Call it more of a Pauline approach to be culture-centered than say Peter who was incredibly church-centered. Both have their merits and all Christians take after either one or the other. I just prefer using the culture of my time to communicate Christ to all people. With that said, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.pexels.com/

Reunion Values: We Train and Send Out Excellent Leaders | 3-6-2022

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 9/3/2022

Sermon Prep

In early March, I was flying on a kite. I just had my first date on the 4th with my future wife. I had been recently promoted at work. I’ve never felt more fit in the gym training for USS Nationals, which was a Strongman show in June. Nothing could be better.

That positivity and sense of peace really poured into everything I did. Especially here with this sermon. It was a less personal teaching and more knowledgeable about the discipleship process we do at Reunion Church. Not necessarily the most invigorating, pulse-pounding message yet one that’s needed to balance those ones out too.

I can’t recall the prep all that much given I was feeling so good. All I could think about was my girlfriend. So this prep felt like a breeze and went well. Anyways, here’s my notes from that message:

Sermon Notes

Opening

  • Reunion Values -> the why behind the what
  • Tonight, we’ll continue w/ Value 6.

Intro

  • What is an excellent leader?
  • Like who? Any examples?
  • Cory teaching creative content role:
  1. He selected me based on potential
  2. He schooled me in his own process
  3. He sent me out to make it on my own

Transition To Main Point

  • Jesus trains and sends out excellent leaders. To create legacy is to build leaders.
  • His Leadership Process:
  1. Chose Peter (Luke 5:1-11)
  2. Chose the 12 (Luke 6:12-16)
  3. Sent the 12 (Luke 9:1-6)
  4. Sent the 70 (Luke 10:1-3)

[Jesus] had started his ministry by exposing some curious converts to the nature of ministry. This was the four-month come and see period. It was followed by the ten-month come and follow me training period, when those curious converts became established disciples. The third phase of training, come and be with me, was a twenty-month segment when those established disciples were transformed into equipped laborers.

Bill Hull,  Jesus Christ, Disciplemaker (P. 198-199)

Main Point

  • Like Jesus exemplified, we too must train and send out excellent leaders.
  • Why? Because life with God is a shared experience, not selfish enlightenment.
  • Jesus led his disciples, so that they could eventually lead their own.
  • How? Be led by a personal teacher and then lead a teachable person. That’s it.

Why It Matters

  • Jesus led personally and leads us to persons who need his care.
  • He could do everything himself, but he invites us into the process (i.e. Adam, Moses; Jonah).
  • Don’t just call for change, be the change.

Final Thoughts

For some reason, I remember more about the success of the small group that followed this sermon than the actual sermon. I loved learning under Hannah Morrison and how she navigates the small group setting. I hope she knows just how good she is at small groups and being a leader who can teach us.

As far as my preaching performance, it was good. Nothing extraordinary, yet that’s alright. Sometimes after the last one being deeply touching, the next doesn’t need to be that way.

We’re not here to play heartstrings, but submit to God’s word for us today. I’m just the translator in that process. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.pexels.com/

Reunion Values: We Befriend and Uplift Those the Rest of the World Has Given Up On | 1-30-2022

Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 9/3/2022

Sermon Prep

Re-reading old journal entries of mine during this month, I was going through a lot. I was tired and exhausted from the pace of life. My mind was bogged down and muddled.

I had a well-earned promotion coming up at work. The end of the fiscal year was within 30 days, so I had my best month-to-date in January. Producing 3x my average sales performance, which was astounding but grueling.

I was trying the dating scene going back-and-forth on the various apps trying to find connection. It didn’t really work. A couple conversations, but nothing beyond that. I was also mustering the courage to ask out my now wife on a date, but wasn’t ready yet.

Ministry was tiring too. We had survived the holidays and were moving into the slow season of church. My body ached too from training for USS Nationals, which is one of the biggest Strongman shows of the year. All-in-all, I was worn out.

I remember that David Margosian was almost too sick to teach the first value in our sermon series (2), so I began prep for it. I think he had a cold or something. At the last second, he said he was good to go and taught but I had already worked some things out. I took those ideas and scattered them throughout this message and other messages in the series.

Ideas like “Church isn’t just 4 walls per se, but is with those we walk with day-to-day.” or even the simpler “Jesus always went after the willing, not the worthy.” There were a lot of interesting, but untapped concepts from those notes. I especially liked this one:

The Kingdom of God is a people, not a place… Artificial growth is committees, but organic growth is communities… Too many of us are focused on ministries and not the mission of Jesus. We would rather have a comfortable life, instead of a life that crafts godly character.

That was all from that incomplete sermon and more, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Focusing on this though, I really enjoyed the prep because it was similar to our first value as a church. So I took those previous concepts and tweaked them for our second church value, which is the one I taught on this night (3). Here’s what I actually taught and my notes for this sermon:

Sermon Notes

Opening

  • Reunion Values -> the why behind what we do
  • Tonight, we’ll continue w/ Value 2

Intro

  • Therapy day is the one time a month I engage with my feelings because I’m a robot.
  • Therapy -> First Memories
  • Jack (One-ear, Transformers, etc.)

Transition To Main Point

  • Everyone is an outsider somewhere, but not when we’re with God.
  • For every group that excludes, God’s always including you.
  • No matter where you go, you will always be a child of God.

We are children, perhaps, at the very moment when we know that it is as children that God loves us- not because we have deserved his love and not in spite of our undeserving; not because we try and not because we recognize the futility of our trying; but simply because he has chosen to love us. We are children because he is our father… before we loved him, he loved us.

Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat (P. 135)

Matthew 9:36-38 (ESV) + Mark 10:13-16 [small groups]

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:36-38

Main Point

  • 2nd Value = We befriend and uplift those the rest of the world has given up on.
  • Jesus befriends and uplifts outsiders that the world gave up. We dare to care for those outsiders.
  • Find the people that don’t belong anywhere and include them in your life somewhere.

Why It Matters

  • If Jesus in his greatest loving act brought you in when no one would, then the least you can do is befriend the lonely and uplift the unloved.
  • Jesus saw everyone and we need to see them too.

Transition Out

  • I’m thinking about a lot of friends who used to be alone, but I could go on-and-on about that.
  • Who can you befriend and uplift?
  • Find them and friend them.
  • This is what Jesus did and does.
  • Do likewise.

Final Thoughts

This was personal for me. I really believe in this value whether or not I’m apart of this local church. It means something. To be there for the destitute. The downtrodden. The outcast.

I think that conviction was conveyed in the delivery of this sermon. I recall the emotions I felt from the audience in the room. They had a visceral connection to the message I believe because of God’s great love for them. Shining through every letter of this sermon.

I hope they still know they’re loved. I know I need the reminder every now and again. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.pexels.com/
  2. https://youtu.be/H-wNCQScPws
  3. https://youtu.be/bdcNl6JfLEk

Who Is Chris Cribari?

Photo Cred: Nathan Cribari | Updated: 2/19/2023

For those of you that are new to this blog, I figured it might be time to reintroduce myself. I grew up in Southern California for the first 10 years of my life and then my family moved to Colorado in July 2007 for my Dad’s job where I have lived ever since. I was raised by my parents in the Calvary Chapel Movement, along with my four siblings.

I came to faith in Christ when I was 9 in the summer of 2006 and have been a Christian since then. My parents strong belief in Christianity had a great impact on my path towards the Christian faith, but the decision was all my own. I privately accepted Christ walking home from my friend David’s house where we were watching Playboy DVD’s after school. I publicly came to Christ at Calvary Chapel Oxnard’s VBS summer camp a few weeks later. My group leader explained the Gospel to me after I questioned him on whether or not it was true.

I am an avid storyteller, along with an active listener to people’s stories. I started writing my first stories in either 2nd or 3rd grade and continue to write to this day. At home, I have stacks of partially-written novels, poems, sermon ideas, and short stories either on flash-drives or busting out of years-old binders. Writing allows my soul to speak truthfully, even when my high-spectrum autism disorder gets in the way.

Because I love stories, I also love watching movies! When Blockbuster was a thing, my siblings and I would watch our VHS movie collection to death. This collection that we had contained the original Star Wars trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Wallace & Gromit series, a pair of Jurassic Park movies, a few Val Kilmer movies from the 90s, and a dozen other odd films.

When we got a little older, we boys got the privilege of watching my Dad’s infamous movie collection that holds some of the best films I’ve ever seen. This collection consisted of mostly war movies like Braveheart, Gladiator, and Saving Private Ryan. It also had other genre movies like A Beautiful Mind, Equilibrium, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, The Matrix, and the Phantom of the Opera (2004). It might just be a box of DVD’s, but it holds some of my favorite memories with my Dad.

I occasionally compete in Strongman too. I have competed several times and I am preparing for future competitions as well. My favorite Strongman lifts are atlas stones, deadlift, and log press.

In faith I am largely influenced by C.S. Lewis, James White, Norman Geisler, Peter Kreeft, R. C. Sproul, and William Lane Craig. Other inspirations include Brian Jacques, George Lucas, and Michelangelo. There’s so many more, but there’s not enough time to mention the rest.

I attended the Colorado Film School and have an education in screenwriting, along with directing for the screen. I’m in the process of writing two books. The first book is a fictional novel that focuses on a married couple grieving a stillborn birth and the problem of suffering. The other book is like Mere Christianity, but better and for the modern world. My dream is to be a published writer.

I started this blog because it gave me the opportunity to speak freely about whatever is on my mind. People have also asked and encouraged me to write as well. Most importantly, I believe God put me on this planet to write for him and I will continue that pursuit in showing people what it means to be known by God.

This blog started in June of 2015 and will continue to go on as long as God wills. I’m Chris Cribari and this is just a frame of my life. With that, Godspeed and Jesus bless!