The subject of calling can be a confusing one. In common vernacular we talk about “finding our calling” and it mostly has to do with following our dreams. Many of us can feel a sense of angst if we haven’t “found” it. But if there’s a calling, then there is a caller. And if there […]
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 […]
God and His will are unchanging. It has always been His desire that the gospel be nondiscriminatory and that it eventually be received by all nations and all peoples. This was revealed to Peter, yet his Jewish heritage made it difficult for him to overcome his prejudice against the Gentiles. By submitting to God, he was able to bridge the gap with people he despised in order to share the truth and love of Christ. We ought to do likewise.
You can sometimes tell a lot about a person, from the way they die. Stephen, the “Jesus is Lord” movement’s first martyr, is one of those cases. The narrative of Stephen in Acts 6 and 7 gives us great insight into someone spiritually mature – someone described as “full of grace and power,” “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” and wise beyond his peers. So how is it possible that someone like that would drive the leaders of a nation into a mob frenzy that ends up killing him? The answer is a surprising one: because God was looking for someone to deliver a strong message to his leaders (“your God is too small!”), and in so doing plant the seed of a disciple-making movement beyond the understanding of anyone else living at that time.
Throughout the Bible Jesus is portrayed as The Good Shepherd. In this well-known Psalm, we see many of the benefits of following Christ including living with Him in Heaven for eternity. To receive the benefits, we must see ourselves in the proper perspective and follow Jesus, The Good Shepherd, wherever He leads us.
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.
Most of us feel a little uncomfortable when we hear the word “obedience”: it conjures up feelings and/or memories of punishment and pain, or a long list of “shoulds.” Samuel and Saul are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to obeying God. Their juxtaposition provides an avenue into seeing what God is really after when He asks His people to listen to Him, wait for Him, and walk humbly with Him.
We all face change and change can be hard. In this message, Dr. Scott Wenig shows from Prov. 3:5-6 how God wants us to grow in our trust in Him in the midst of change. When we learn what “trust in the Lord,” “lean not on your own understanding,” and “in all your ways acknowledge Him” really mean God’s promise for us is sure. He does not promise the absence of difficulty but to give us direction, purpose, fulfillment, a positive impact in our world and then when we die God will lead us straight into His presence to spend an eternity with Him.
While there are many challenges we face in our employment, one of the most difficult is when we are treated unjustly. In this message Dan Kaskubar points out that, except for rare situations, God’s general pattern is for Christ followers to follow the humble example of our Lord Jesus who “did not revile … and did not threaten… but entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Though it can be tempting to skirt around the laws of our land, God does not want Christians to overlook the impact it has when we honor our government’s leaders and laws. When Christians submit to governing authorities they both honor God and are used to help some who do not yet believe stop their criticisms of Christ and in some cases, eventually come to know and glorify God.