3 Tools For Today

This past sermon series, ‘Forget You’ wasn’t for everyone. I get that.

This series had a lot to do with how we think about ourselves.

People think about themselves in four different ways…

  1. They, themselves, are their own God. They are their own center and their lives worship themselves. Other people are generally expected to do the same thing.
  2. They think of themselves as a friend. They’re not bad people. There’s nothing wrong with asserting their needs and their perspectives, because they’re not bad. They’re most likely not the center of their own lives, but they most likely struggle with giving themselves too much attention.
  3. They dislike themselves. These are those people who are brutally aware of their faults, but they elevate their faults to become their identity. What’s odd is that often they are the center of their lives in all of their brokenness.
  4. They see themselves in the light of Jesus. For those people, Jesus informs their self-worth and identity. He is their center and their greatest reward.

This was a series for those of us that are 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s but want to become 4’s.

“He needs to become greater; I need to become less.” John 3:30 (NIV)

As one last revisit, I thought I’d share three tools that we all need to focus on if we’re really going to become people that see ourselves in light of Jesus and live to know Him more…

#1 – Pause & Pray

Spend time with Jesus. You’re probably like most of us: you’re extremely busy. The “to do” list is so long that something, many things, are going to get left off it! So, how do you choose what to do? You start with what’s at the center. Spend time with Jesus. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. And then respond to what He tells you!

#2 – Focus On Scripture

If you want to keep doing the same things and get more of Jesus, you’re probably in for a sad reality… that doesn’t work. You’re going to need to change! But change what? That’s where the Scriptures should be informing our lives. You struggle with fear? Memorize some scripture that talks about faith. Dealing with worry? There’s scripture for that too! When you do what’s been normal, recite what the Scriptures say to yourself and take the lies captive by the truth (see: 2 Corinthians 10:2-6 NIV).

#3 – Rely On Simple Obedience

You’re not in a race. Or a fashion show. Or a parade. Living for Jesus means that we are called to follow Him (Mark 1:17). Stop competing with your neighbor. Stop trying to look a certain way or act a certain way. Stop trying give off the right image! Jesus has asked YOU to follow HIM, and if you’re going to get more of HIM you’re going to need to respond to Him!

What tools am I missing? Leave a comment below and let me know.

ONE Way To Increase Your JOY Right Now


The world wants to be happy.

It’s just starting to warm up outside. Spring is in the air. You know what that means? The grass is growing! It’s just… the grass is greener in our neighbor’s yard, right?

Over the years, I’ve heard happiness used as an excuse for pretty much everything: “I’m just not happy, so I’m going to ____________.” Fill in that blank with divorce, leaving a church, walking away from friendships, etc.

The Scriptures never promise you happiness, but they do promise you joy.

What’s the difference between happiness and joy?

Happiness is circumstantial. It’s based on right now, and if you chase it your life will always be shifting as though it was built upon sand (Matthew 7:24-27).

Joy is eternal and the product of life lived following the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22).

Many of us think about our happiness this way…
“I would finally be happy if I just had _____________.”

You fill in the blank. Perhaps you’d say “more money”, maybe it would be “a more caring husband”, or maybe “a better boss”.

Solomon was one of the richest men in all of human history. As King of Israel during one of it’s premier periods, he was both wealthy and powerful.

In Ecclesiastes 6:2, Solomon wrote: “God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.”

That thing you think you need to be happy? That’s a lie.

You think you need that kind of husband to be joyous? Wrong.

Your life would be filled with joy if other people treated you the right way? Wrong.

More money in your bank account would surely mean more joy! Wrong.

For the last two weeks we’ve looked at moment in Scripture where John the Baptist is confronted with the growing ministry of Jesus. John has been very successful. His numbers have been great, but they’re shrinking.

His followers come to him with this complaint:
“Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” (John 3:26 NIV)

John the Baptist responded this way, and there’s a key to living with JOY hidden in his response…
To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:27-30 NIV)

John frames life this way:

  • You only have what God has given you.
  • You’re not Jesus.
  • The greatest Joy in life is Jesus.
  • To fully embrace what God wants to give us through Jesus, we must empty ourselves of us.

So what’s the greatest enemy to your joy? You are!

As John saw Jesus emerging, he embraced the change because he knew he wasn’t the Messiah! His heart was full of joy even when he was second place, because he wasn’t full of himself and found His greatest joy in Jesus.

The one thing you can do RIGHT NOW to dramatically increase your joy is this: look into the mirror and say “Forget You”.

There’s no room for JOY if your life is full of you, because Jesus is joy!

How are you going to empty yourself so that you can more fully embrace Jesus today?

Saturday Selections – March 29th

Saturday Selections is a chance for me to share some of the most relevant news stores that grabbed my attention this past week. As a follower of Jesus we’re called to be informed about the world we live in, so that we can center our lives on a Savior that is not of this world.


Last year I preached a series called “SEXY” that was voted by our church to be on of their favorite series we’ve done. During that series we examined God’s plan to make us male AND female, and took a look at how this world has corrupted that plan.

Former President Jimmy Carter was interviewed about international affairs and shared his views on what the Scriptures say about gender equality.
[click this link to read the entire article]

A young girl was kicked out of a Christian school for being too much of a tomboy. This story has drawn a lot of media attention this week.
[click this link to read the entire article]


I love that we live in a world that has so much research and help available to parents. Obviously, we want our parenting practices informed first by the Scriptures, but we can also grow as parents by understanding where others have had success and failed.

Here’s a good article called “6 Things Overprotective Parents Do Wrong”. I think that one of the things the Scriptures ask us to refuse to give our children is fear, so there was a lot in this article that I liked.
[click this link to read the entire article]

This article highlights research that shows that most parents surveyed steal from their kids. This is a whole sermon in-and-of-itself, but it goes to prove that our culture views children as assets that we own not treasures we have been asked to steward.
[click this link to read the entire article]

Here’s an op-ed piece written by a guy that practices what he calls “experimental parenting”. Some of the research he quotes is interesting, but I like the fact that there is a reason for everything. Remember: Life happens by default or design. Parenting is the same.
[click here to read the article]


Part of what we’ve termed “Obamacare” is an ’employer mandate’ that would require employers to provide insurance that provides certain types of FDA approved birth-control. If you didn’t know, Hobby Lobby is a family business that is ran by Christians.
Here are several articles with perspectives on the case:
USA Today Op-Ed Piece: [click here to read the article]
Huffington Post Report: [click here to read the article]
Washington Post Op-Ed Piece: [click here to read the article]


For my teacher friends, this is one of the most disturbing articles I’ve read in a long time. With the formal classroom not so far behind in my rearview, I can see how this is not only plausible, but very possible.
[click here to read the article]


I’m going to save my opinions on this whole debate, but in my circles people have been throwing a lot of rocks at ‘Noah’ and a lot of praise at the other two films. I’ll probably write a piece next week on this.
Faith-Based Movies Are More Profitable For Hollywood: [click here to read]
A Perspective On The Making Of Noah: [click here to read]
A Good Piece On Christian Film-Making & It’s Challenges: [click here to read]


This past week the President of World Vision, a Christian Missions organization that supports missional projects all over the world supporting underdeveloped cultures and primarily children, announced that they would recognize homosexual marriages as a healthy expression of sexuality. Evangelicals went on the attack after.
Here are a few articles I thought that were good…
The original announcement, as written in Christianity Today: [read more here]
How one denomination has chosen to advice its churches: [read more here]
Probably the best response I’ve read from TGC: [read more here]


Here’s two great blogs by a clinical psychologist to his daughter about what it truly means to be beautiful. One of these has been shared a bit on Facebook.
Letter #1 “From The Makeup Aisle” 
Letter #2 “Can’t We All Agree On This One Thing”


America’s Least Healthy Counties…. WE DIDN’T WIN!!!!

Kim Jong Un is now requiring every male in N. Korea to have the same haircut. This is one of the funniest stories that I’ve read in a while. I spent about 15 minutes picturing this craziness and laughing.

Have you ever wondered which states you would most likely to die in if there was a Zombie Apocalypse? Well, if you’ve had that thought, here’s an article to scratch that itch:

Are you tired of watching the same video promoting every company? No. Well, apparently someone wanted to have a little fun and poke at how most companies are portraying themselves these days.

Why You Want To Change Right Now


We’re right in the middle of a two-week series at Vortex called “Forget You” looking at a very simple, yet profound verse in the Gospel of John that describes a life that is really abandoned to Jesus.

“He needs to become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 (NIV)

That verse says something most of us don’t like:

There’s too much of me and not enough of Jesus in my life right now, and if things are going to change, well then, things need to change!

Can I tell you something that could change your perspective:
It’s all going to change anyway.

The real question is:

Will you change because you choose to?

Or will you change because you’re forced to change?

This Sunday we’re going to look at what it really means to embrace the change of a life that says “I want more of Jesus”!

I hope you’ll make plans to join us for the last week of FORGET YOU at Vortex Church. We meet at Eastgate Cinemas in Albemarle, NC at 10am on Sunday mornings.

Between now and then, let’s prepare our hearts to embrace a life embraces more of Jesus and less of ourselves.

3 Ways To A Better Day


There’s three different type of people out there today:

Person #1 – You’re so excited it’s Wednesday, you’re like the camel on that “Hump Day” commercial.
Person #2 – You’re coasting today.
Person #3 – Today has pretty much been the worst day ever.

For everyone, no matter how good or bad today is going, here’s three things you can do to change your day for the better:

1. Call someone you know who’s hurting.

We all know someone who’s lost someone, is battling cancer, or has just been having a rough go of it. The bible asks us to celebrate with our friends, but also to grieve with them (Romans 12:15-16). The presence of their pain will help provide a better perspective of yours.

2. Take a moment and tell the people who you love deeply why you love them.

We say “I love you” a lot around our home, but those intentional conversations to stop and say “I love you because…” matter. You know who they matter to? You. They matter to you because they force you to stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about the people that you love. Those conversations encourage them, but they also refocus us on why we love them and should leave us feeling thankful that they’re in our lives.

3. Identify one thing that’s robbing you of Jesus.

It might be something as simple as checking Instagram at stoplights, which robs your commute of the ability to have a conversation with Jesus. It might be that you’re too focused on people and forget to talk to Jesus altogether. It might be that you’ve neglected the Scriptures, and you know you can find Jesus in them. Find that one thing, go after it, and let Jesus be greater in your life today.

The quickest way to joy is to empty your life of yourself:
“Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled… He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:29-30 NKJV)

Leave a comment below and let know what you’re doing today to have less of yourself and more of Jesus in your life:

Your Greatest Enemy


We’ve all been fed lines about what our greatest enemy could be.

Everything from drugs, to alcohol, to demons, and even the ultimate adversary of the Devil has worn the title of “greatest enemy”.

It’s tough to consider that you’d want to do something good and there’d be resistance to it. Why wouldn’t the whole world want you to get better, to do the right thing? (see John16:33)

Right now you have an enemy that could derail your capacity to follow Jesus.

And that enemy is reading this blog.

Yep. That enemy is reading right along with you right now.

Your greatest enemy might not be those things we’ve so readily identified as enemies through the years, but it might, instead, just simply be yourself.

In the third chapter of the Gospel of John, John the Baptist is faced with a serious situation. Some of his followers are leaving to go listen to a new preacher down the street. The guys that have been following him are concerned. They’re worried about their numbers that seem a little down and the number of people coming to hear this new preacher. His disciples start complaining.

John replies: “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV)

The new preacher with the larger crowds was Jesus.

Jesus is the messiah. Jesus came to rescue us from sin. Jesus is God’s Son.

John the Baptist was simply preparing the way. He wasn’t confused about who he was.

“He must become greater” because I’m not the Messiah and I can’t ransom the world from sin.

“I must become less.”

The greatest enemy to a growing relationship with Jesus is a large ego. You have to lose you, so there might be less of you, if there’s ever going to be more of Jesus.

Let go of you and get more of Jesus… sounds like a good deal to me!

You can ‘forget you’ because Jesus is NEVER going to forget you.

Kevin Simmons | Forget You - Sermon Series 2014

Two Reasons To Be At Church This Sunday

Here’s two great reasons to be at Vortex this Sunday:

Forget You#1 – We’re starting a new series.
If you’ve ever felt like life was a tad empty and pointless, you might just want to be with us this Sunday. I’m sharing three things we can shift our focus from to fully embrace the kinds of life that Jesus has called us to. You don’t want to miss week one of FORGET YOU.

#2 – We’re doing a few new songs.
I don’t normally get all jacked up about some new songs, but these songs are really powerful. There’s something about truth that has embedded itself into melody that resonates inside of our souls. I’m excited for you hear them!

It’s supposed to be quite nice outside this weekend, so enjoy your baseball and softball practices, walks and play time outside, but don’t forget to make time to gather together with your church family on Sunday! See you then.

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