As a criminal dying on a cross, taking his last breaths on earth, Jesus looks at the man and says some of the most shocking, grace-filled words in all of history: "Today, you will be with me in Paradise." Really?! He deserves to die and receive his due penalty for his sins, doesn't he?
We believe the goal of marriage is "oneness." God says, in fact, the result of marriage is "oneness." Today we'll explore Jesus' shocking statements about marriage, divorce and remarriage... and He explains why trying to "un-one" what God has joined may just be harder than we think...
"You don't want to leave me too, do you?" Some of the shocking statements of Jesus made being His follower challenging. Today we'll hear a statement that those gathered to hear Jesus simply didn't understand. But maybe, more important than the statement, was the reaction of His disciples. In the face of trial - temptation or transition - do we want to leave Jesus too?
How many of us, if we were honest, could explain what it means to someone who doesn't know? If a friend, co-worker, neighbor asked, "What does it mean to be born again?" How would you respond? When the phrase first left Jesus' mouth it was something yet completely unheard of; it was astounding to his listeners. So while we may have heard this phrase a hundred times, do we really understand what it means?
Love your neighbor as yourself...
There can be a thin line between love and hate... like when your child screams, "I hate you!", then a few hours later snuggles up to you for TV and a bowl of ice cream. But as today's shocking statement reveals, Jesus drew a very clear line between love and hate - one profound enough to be a prerequisite for true discipleship.
During His time on earth Jesus invited people to follow Him-and you and I are invited to follow Him as well...but there is something that you need to know about following Jesus. It will cost you something eventually... it may cost you money, career advancement or relationships. That's because Jesus offers us the choice of denying ourselves now, or losing ourselves later. But you will find that when you pay the price of following Jesus, you'll be glad you did.
We want to follow Jesus - but where is He leading? What is the payoff for following Him? Is it being a better person? Is it a life in heaven after we die? Is it a pain-free life? If you follow Jesus, you will be a better person - you will go to heaven... but that's okay because Jesus offers much more - a faith so strong it frees us from fear...
"Why didn't God do something?" Sometimes, despite our most fervent prayers, God doesn't show up the way we want Him to... the cancer isn't cured - the company fails - the foreclosure goes through. Today we'll talk about what to look for when it feels like God forgot to show up.
Is God's silence a sign of His absence? Or does it mean something else? Today we'll jump into the story of a man Jesus said was the greatest man who ever lived...and yet, even this man struggled with God's inattentiveness...The message Jesus sends him in the middle of his doubt contains a secret reassurance for us 2,000 years later.
The more we experience life, the more we realize that life isn't always fair. Today, we will discover the Bible's perspective on how to respond to life's inequities.
What does living your life free in Christ really look like? The Apostle Paul tells his spiritual "son in the faith," Timothy, to pursue righteousness. But what does righteousness look like? It starts with understanding that righteousness is a gift that we have received, not earned. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
All religions point to three things: you ought to - you don't - you're toast. Religion is all about following the rules, but Jesus had something different in mind. He calls us to follow Him.
It's difficult to solve a problem when you don't understand what's wrong to begin with. Many of us have been trying to solve the problem of "us" for a long time. Some of you have lost friends, family, or jobs because you couldn't solve you. Some of you have paid someone good money to solve you. But what if the real problem is that you don't know what the problem is?
Experience the fulfillment in living beyond yourself...
There are many resolutions we could make for 2014. There is one resolution, though, that should be front and center in our hearts and minds: Let's make family-and the family of God-a priority for the upcoming year.
The Bible is going to challenge us with this thought: Joy is not found in having more stuff--but it is found in having more of God in our life.
This season - probably like no other season of the year - can make you just a bit crazy, but today we're going to find out that we can find real joy, even when the Christmas season gets crazy.
1 Peter was written to early followers of Jesus who, because of their circumstances, had a hard time with the whole joy thing... but even with all of that, Peter in this opening chapter uses this line, "There is wonderful joy ahead..."
There are a lot of voices vying for our attention. Sometimes those voices are in direct conflict with the voice of God. Jesus reminds us that "My sheep hear My voice." Our challenge is to learn to ignore all other voices and focus squarely on the voice of God.