Why does Jesus call us to follow Him and abide in Him? Some people assume we should follow Jesus so we can be with God when we die. While this is a significant part of a disciple’s hope, Jesus has a vision for our days between when we become His disciples and when we breath our last breath. He summons us to follow Him in order to give us a purpose. The reason He calls us to follow and abide is so He can work in and through us as we join Him on His mission to love and serve our hurting world (i.e. become “fishers of men”). He empowers all of His disciples to pray, to serve and to testify wherever we go so that His kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. Now that’s discipleship. That’s living!
Millions of people don’t know the good news that Jesus is King with all authority over the universe who loves them, died for them, rose to live with them, has a purpose for them and promises a restored future for them and the whole world. Most of these people live on islands and continents far away but some live as refugees right here in Denver. Today we will discover how Paul was brought unexpectedly to the island of Malta in order to show the Maltese people who Jesus is and what His kingdom looks like. We will also meet Ben Sooy who, along with his wife, was unexpectedly brought to Denver to be with and love refugees who would otherwise have been isolated from the knowledge of the love of God. Could it be that part of God’s plan is to direct all Christ-followers unexpectedly to places and people, near and/or far, whom we may have never imagined for the same reason He did this for the Apostle Paul and the Sooys?
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage comes from taking hold of a higher purpose that empowers perseverance in the midst of fear. Why did Paul head courageously into Jerusalem to be with those who did not accept him during his last visit and had previously killed Jesus? What fuels a follower of Jesus to be with people who oppose our Lord outside a 1st century temple in Jerusalem or in a 21st century school hall, neighborhood sidewalk or across the ocean on a village bench? Further, what could possibly empower us to overcome fear in order to testify, to speak the good news that Jesus is Lord with them? In this message we discover one of the magnificent purposes which ignited Paul and will equip you to shine the love and beauty of Christ even among those who misunderstand or are hostile toward Jesus and His messengers.
Do you desire to help others? Do you long to improve the world in some extraordinary way? The hunger that you and I have to be useful is in us by design. God made us to pray that His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven AND He invites us to show what this looks like until people from every ethnic group know Him through faith in Jesus Christ. In this message you will discover who God loves to work through and you will be called to take a specific step of courageous faith to become a more pure instrument for His service.
Just as a wildlife biologist exercises appropriate authority in the wilderness for the flourishing of an ecosystem and the enjoyment of it by people, the Apostle Paul exercises spirit-led authority in the epicenter of the “gentile wilderness” for people to flourish with the living water of Christ Jesus like never before. Paul exhibits clear vision, persistence, and responsiveness in developing a team that’s focused, firmly grounded, equipped, and ready to begin a dramatic movement. It’s empowered by the Holy Spirit Himself. When servants of King Jesus capture the opportunities presented to them by the Spirit of the Living God, they exercise authority for a flourishing movement, even (especially!) in the midst of the wilderness. What wilderness are you called into, today?
Why does God call some people to leave their comfortable home, familiar city and supportive local church? Why do churches around the world in our modern day as well as generations in the past send, support and pray for those who depart to be with people in other lands? In our journey through Acts we discover today why Paul departed for a third time from his friends and church in Antioch. In our service today we also have the privilege of hearing from and praying for 3 couples who will depart this week as part of Christ’s enduring and collaborative vision to make disciples of all nations.
When we followers of Jesus first learned and accepted the good news that Jesus is Lord of all, submitting our lives to His leadership and receiving all of His rewards, it was natural to want to share this message with others. Yet, in many cases not everyone was as interested as we would expect. This can discourage us and dampen our light. If you long to see more of your current friends and family living with God and joining Him in His mission to heal the world, the eternal realities revealed in this passage will encourage you to keep shining knowing that God often works in and through us in ways that we could never imagine or believe.
God often leads disciple making communities to send and support specific people to show and tell the good news that Jesus is Lord of all beyond their own city. In our recent journey through Acts 13 and 14 we have seen how God called Paul and Barnabas from their church in Antioch to take His message of grace throughout Galatia. In our message today, we learn that after their journey God led them to circle back to their sending partners in Antioch in order to “declare all that God had done with them.” Today we hear a brief summary of this text followed by a report from Don and Janet Guizzetti. Don and Janet are followers of Jesus and partners with Hope who have who have recently returned from their second missionary trip among the people of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (West Africa).
There’s nothing like a near-death experience to give one clarity about what’s most important. It’s in this context that Paul got thinking about succession: leaving a legacy, establishing a lasting influence, and investing in the next generation. In this text we see the shift in Paul from being primarily a sower, to becoming both a sower […]
The pervasive impact of God’s kingdom continues to change lives. Saul has become Paul and instead of breathing murderous threats, he now speaks boldly in the name of the Lord. The book of Acts now picks up again on the mission work of Peter and we see how both powerfully and ordinarily God’s kingdom grows – through the amazing acts of healing and raising the dead, as well as the humble acts of service. In the presence of everyday life, the kingdom comes.