Our cultural default and the tradition of America is to be completely in control and to live out our dreams. The culture in Jesus’ day was to live “in-control” in a religious sense – full of prim-and-proper religiosity. When Jesus is asked a question about fasting, He replies with a veiled correction followed by 2 mini-parables that almost seem out of place, but after examination, highlight how humanity’s need for control and the familiar has to be given up if one is to have real, deep, intimate relationship with God. Jesus Himself perfectly demonstrated this, maybe no more tangibly and beautifully than in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Any look at “living out the gospel” is vastly incomplete without diving into the world of work. We often have a view of work that’s too self-centric: either we hold a defeatist view where we expect the worst and believe work is a natural evil to be endured until each successive Friday evening; or we […]
Having just spent 2 weeks on what it means to be messengers of the euangelion, we now turn to what it looks like to live out the gospel. Is it ever difficult for you to connect your life inside the church building to the life outside it? Do the truths you sing of in the […]
The world is packed full of hopeless, dark, desperate, dead-end situations. God’s people often find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations. But, how do God’s faithful ones see the world around them and respond? They see the world with God’s very own eyes! They see themselves, other people, and situations the way God sees them. This is how Elisha lived – by faith, by the eyes of God. If we are Christ’s hands and feet, we ought to see the world with His very own eyes.
Like detours on a trip, redirecting our time to serve someone in need can be frustrating. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us that, though we cannot serve everyone in need, we each can serve at least one. When we do, we embark on an unknown journey that may get messy. Yet, these types of detours are tangible opportunities to abide in Christ and join in his vision and prayer for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you ever get frustrated with God because He doesn’t work in ways you think He should? Do you ever wish God would do more to remove evil and darkness as well as violent and evil doers? If so, you are not alone. Apparently Jesus’ first followers felt this way as well. In this 2nd message from the parables of Jesus we discover what Jesus knew about God’s wise, though perplexing, plan as well as His extravagant patience in carrying it out.
Today we begin a new series looking at some of Jesus’ parables. A parable is a story that serves as an analogy for important eternal realities. In this message from the Parable of the Sower we discover that Jesus came to broadcast an eternal kind of life for us now. We also are challenged to both receive Jesus’ offer for life overflowing and to share it with others.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to many people over 40 days. In his final time with his disciples he declared that God’s vision to bless the world was still on track and that they would be a significant part of this plan. As he did in A.D. 30, God’s Holy Spirit empowers followers today to join him in God’s vision to bring people from every language, tongue and tribe to himself through faith in Jesus for the glory of God the Father.
On Palm Sunday we celebrate the day when Jesus revealed to Jerusalem that He came to be her King. Yet, as we have been learning in recent weeks, the nature of His Kingdom was different than expected. Of the many qualities Jesus unveiled during His triumphant entry, we see His gentleness, grief and glory. All three of these attributes beckon a response from all who bow to King Jesus.
After Jesus’ announcement of the Kingdom, He clarifies it and demonstrates it in numerous ways, through direct teaching and parables, through demonstrations and miracles, and ultimately through His declaration of His own impending suffering and death. Unfortunately for many, it is not what they expect. Jesus disappoints, upsets, and frustrates those who are looking for their version of what the messiah should be: a Conquering King, a Righteous High Priest, and/or a Populist Governor. Jesus supersedes all those expectations, and points to Himself as the way, the truth, and the life.