The Bible is full of many wonderful, amazing promises, ones that we can bank our lives and eternities on. Yet following Jesus still requires faith, and as John Wimber (the founder of the Vineyard movement of churches) used to say, “Faith is spelled R-I-S-K.” In Luke 5:1-26, we read three different stories involving people seeking to follow Jesus. In each one, they step out in faith and take a risk, and as a result they witness "extraordinary things" (5:26).
One of Luke’s goals is to communicate that the gospel of Jesus is for everyone. He pays special attention to the neglected and minimized. One commentator said, “For Luke, the ‘lowly people’ are especially noted as candidates for God’s grace.” One such highlighted group was women. In an excessively male-centered first century world, Jesus modeled ministry to and with women in a way that shocked his contemporaries. He defied labels then, and he continues to defy labels as He offers modern women an alternative to religious and secular salvations. He offers a third way, a gospel way--it is good news for every woman.
Physical health is important to all of us. We all want to live life free of pain and physical disabilities. But if we or our loved ones are ill--particularly, when they are gravely ill--life comes to a screeching halt. We see examples in the gospels of Jesus healing all. How does this apply today? Does Jesus bring healing to us like He did when He walked on this earth?
One of the biggest struggles in the human heart is the fear of rejection. Many of us are held captive to the opinions of others and their expectations of us, such that it controls our lives. However, we see in the life and ministry of Jesus that He was completely free from that fear. He didn’t let others' opinions and affirmation affect or control him. Instead of being controlled by others, Jesus followed His Father’s voice and His Father’s will for His
Easter happened in the past, but spills into the present. The Bible teaches that if we become believers we are "raised with Christ" and "made new" through Jesus’ resurrection. We are literally plunged into the life of God and participate in His life. Sound mysterious? It is--the Bible can only describe it with word pictures. Sound important? Undoubtedly! One author described this connection to Jesus as "at once the center and circumference of authentic human existence."
Good Friday is an evening where we celebrate and remember the death of Jesus Christ and the redemption that comes through His shed blood. Enjoy this message from Tom Short as he share some thoughts on the agony that Jesus experienced in the garden.
In our last message on Jesus’ baptism, we saw the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus like a dove. We also saw His Father speak from heaven, affirming Him in His identity. As we move to Luke Chapter Four, we see the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness where He will go toe to toe with Satan. This will be one of their first battles, and Satan will throw everything he can at Jesus in order to try to get Him to compromise. However, as we will see, Jesus emerges from the battle victorious. Jesus accomplishes what Adam, Israel, and even you and I, could not accomplish.
As followers of Jesus, we know that our core calling is to become like Jesus. To become a ‘"little Christ," as C.S. Lewis put it. Yet, is that fair? I mean, He is God. How can we think as He thought, speak as He spoke, or do what He did when He has such a remarkable advantage? Surely, God was kidding. Right?! We will re-examine this Christian undertow in this message called "The Beginning." Jesus’ baptism, though told in only a few verses, opens up a flood of insights about how Jesus could accomplish all He did. Reflecting on these insights may just ignite a fire in your own vision of what God can do through you.
So far in our study through the gospel of Luke, Luke has been bouncing back and forth between highlighting Jesus and highlighting John the Baptist. The previous two messages out of Luke Chapter 2 have focused on Jesus. As we start Chapter 3, Luke switches back to John. At this point in the story though, John is no longer a baby. Thirty years or so have passed and now God is ready to call him into action.
In the last message, we explored the birth of Jesus without the fanfare of the holidays. Luke sought to show us the sovereignty, love, and wisdom of God thorough the smallest details of the birth. Into this birth account two ordinary people come, possessing extraordinary devotion--even at the dusk of their lives. They will welcome the baby Jesus, give witness to His mission, and predict what He will become. Joseph and Mary, already astonished, will have even more reason to be in awe. Through these unexpected witnesses, Luke introduces the scope of Jesus’ mission. Through these two elderly figures, we see a picture of the kind of extraordinary devotion He will awaken
Luke Chapter Two is one of the most well known and loved passages in all of the scriptures. Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas even reads from it. In our series on the book of Luke, we have a fresh opportunity to look at this familiar passage without all of the distractions and assumptions that come with the Christmas season. As we slow down and look at this story again, we will see that Luke is drawing out for us some wonderful aspects of who God is and what He is like towards us.
What happens to our routines and the normal when God visits? For the initial characters in Luke’s gospel, normalcy lost its meaning. The old routines received fresh wind after a heavenly visitor turned their world upside down. These highly relatable characters mirror for us what can happen in our own lives when God visits.
* There was some technical issues with the audio this last Sunday. The video audio is from the camera only until about 8 minutes in to the message. Sorry for the inconvenience.
In the previous message, we saw God fulfill His promise to redeem the world through Jesus by announcing to Mary that she would give birth to the one who will be called the Most-High. In this message, will continue to journey through the birth narrative of Jesus, and on our journey we will see how Elizabeth and Mary each respond to this incredible news they have received.
In our previous message, we looked at the opening words of Luke’s gospel. One of the statements he made about his gospel was that he wrote an “orderly account.” One way we see Luke write in an orderly way is how he sets stories and scenes alongside of each other so that you naturally compare and contrast them. In this message, we will look at the parallel birth announcements of John the Baptist and Jesus. In doing so, we will see the faithfulness of God in fulfilling his promises.
In this message, we kick off a new series on the book of Luke, The Gospel For Everyone. Luke is not only the longest gospel, but it’s also the longest book in the New Testament. The book contains many unique stories and parables that are not found in the other gospels. As well, Luke paints a beautiful picture of how Jesus displayed and expanded God’s kingdom and covenant to all. Whether to the Gentiles, or women, or the poor or social outcast, Luke shows in a unique way how Jesus’ mission and message extended to those who would have been thought unworthy of it.
This message is the last of our four part series, Breaking Free From the Past. We have learned how generational sins and relational patterns are passed down from generation to generation. We have taken a journey through four generations of a family to underscore the sinful patterns that can be handed down to us. Then, we took a look at our own individual stories to ask the question, "What scripts are we living by and are they true?" In this message, we turn the corner toward healing as we revisit the same family line of Abraham and learn how the gift of a blessing can make all the difference in changing our story and becoming more like Christ.
Galatians promises us a glorious spiritual freedom. But how do we walk in and experience that freedom? In the first two messages, we have explored the unconscious imprints we've received from our families. Some of those are life-giving; some are not. In this message, we will turn the focus to our individual stories. Our past has created in us a story that frames how we see ourselves, others, and even God. But is our "reality" correct? Are the scripts we live by true? Some of the scripts that make up our reality may be why our lives and relationships are not working. Freedom comes in renewing our minds and it is vital to repairing our past.
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How do I experience the freedom Paul promised in Galatians? Freedom from anxiety, crippling fear, or enslaving sins. How do I come alive in the way God wants for me? Is freedom just a nice platitude Christians wave about meaninglessly? Or can it be a reality? I believe it can be a reality, but it means getting Jesus deep into us--into our bones. To do that, we have to first go backwards.
We are all shaped by our past and for most of us, the primary shaper was our family of origin. Our moms. Our dads. Our grandparents and siblings. We inherit much more than wealth or things. As the saying goes, Jesus might live in our hearts, but grandpa lives in our bones.
In this series, we will gently unpack some of these "soul-shaping" characteristics passed down through families--realities like generational sins, relational patterns, scripts, and generational blessings. The freedom promised to us in Galatians empowers us not only to face our past, but to grow from it--not only in self-awareness, but in turning from destructive to life-giving patterns that can bless the generations after us.
When we think about investments, we are told to think about the long haul and not the quick return. We want to make sure we have enough when it comes time to draw from what we have invested. That means we expect there to be a greater return than what we put in. Psalm 90 looks at our lives as investments and looks very carefully at the maturity dates.