The death of those we love is confusing and severe. Where are they now? What will the future for them and us be like? Will we see them again? Today we learn what happens when a follower of Jesus dies and we discover that though clarity on what lies ahead does not remove the sorrow, it adds to our sorrow, divine hope.
In Godric, Frederick Buechner wrote, “Lust is the ape that gibbers in our loins. Tame him as we will by day, he rages all the wilder in our dreams by night.” Yet in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 our Infinitely Wise Creator calls us to “abstain from sexual immorality” and “the passion of lust.” In this message we learn why God issues such a counter cultural vision for our sexuality and we discover a way of life that He uses to help us more faithfully manage “the ape that gibbers in our loins.”
Part 2 of 2: Today we focus on 1 Thess. 4.12, where Paul gives clarity as to the why behind his instructions around work: so that we can demonstrate a different way of living, and be dependent on no one. However, the unfortunate reality in our culture today is that you can work – even full-time – and still be dependent, due to stagnating wages and rising costs of living, particularly in our city. The sobering reality is that the challenges of finding good work for many in our society, particularly since the Great Recession, has led to significant increases in drug use and overdoses, alcoholism, and suicides. People despair when they can’t find dignity in their work. This presents (1) an incredible opportunity for the church to be the agent of hope and light it is designed to be, and (2) a particular call for business owners and supervisors who declare that Jesus is King, to exemplify true discipleship in the way they employ and supervise!
Part 1 of 2: The ancient Greeks separated the “contemplative” life from the “active” life, and judged labor as something to be avoided. This cultural aristocratic understanding of work likely contributed to some in the Thessalonian church desiring to be a part of the leisure class and avoid work. However, Paul makes it clear that […]
When we, as Christians, recall the ways that we have failed to love one another, the conclusion of our self-assessment should always be that we are righteous, not condemned; Christ’s perfection has overcome our imperfection. And within this mercy and grace, we are free to love more and more. “Do so more and more” was Paul’s charge to the Thessalonians. What would his charge be to Denverites?
Moses taught Joshua, Naomi taught Ruth, Elijah taught Elisha, and Paul taught Timothy. Mentoring is a Biblical model for formation. It is one of the most powerful tools that God can use to shape us to be more like Him. Much could be said for the social or vocational advantages that are inherent to the mentoring process, but one of the most valuable aspects of the unique relationship between mentor and mentee is that God uses it to shape the things we love.
Birth, crying, rolling over, scooting, crawling, standing, wobbling, walking and ascending stairs. Life is typically a progression of developmental steps and so is life in a church. God created us to eschew the status quo by continually following the voice of Christ personally and collectively. Today we discover what this looks like for a group of 1st century disciples in Thessalonica and for us today.
Resistance is the heart of weight training and pruning is required in the vineyard. So, why is it that we who follow Jesus can get so frustrated with God and / or those who oppose us when we are afflicted for living the way of Jesus and speaking of Him in our city? In this second message designed to equip disciples to share the good news of God in action and word we are reminded that affliction is not to be unexpected. Rather, it is what we were, as Paul writes, “destined” for.
Religious pluralism is a reality in cities. For followers of Jesus in Denver, as in ancient Thessalonica, a natural question is: How should I live among those who don’t know and follow Jesus and what if anything should I say to them about our my Lord and Savior, Jesus? This message is designed to answer this question by looking to the example of the Apostle Paul. More importantly, you will discover a gospel reality that can set your heart on fire to live and speak as a loving and faithful ambassador for God in our city.
In 1897 Johnson Oatman wrote, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” These opening words in the hymn Count Your Blessings align with God’s heart for us. In today’s message we count some of God’s greatest blessings because living blessed is key to living faithfully with Christ throughout our city and beyond.