He lives! And everything changed!
The doubter became the devoted. The denier of his Master became the defender of the faith. The persecutor of the believer became the preacher of the Word. The results of the resurrection were immediate and long lasting.
The profound changes in the lives of the first century followers of Jesus both encourage and challenge us to look at the impact of the resurrection in our own lives. The resurrection means we can live with great expectation and the bold assurance of our salvation. Because he lives, we have a living hope.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5
The most important question we can ever ask, and answer, is "Who is Jesus?" Many people have answered this question throughout history. But who better to answer this question than Jesus in His own words? When Jesus tells us who He is, He also tells us who we are. In this series, we will walk through the seven "I Am" statements found in the book of John.
He lives! And everything changed!
The Power of Invitation
28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
How often do you “invite” someone to see a YouTube posting, a funny video on Facebook? We say, “Hey, look at this…” Or, “Did you see the video about....”
Clearly we invite people to what excites us. Is it fair to ask how excited are with about Jesus? In a way, I think it is.
We also warn. Consider how we warn others about bad traffic, hopefully helping them forgo the frustrations of Baton Rouge traffic! Again, is fair to ask how concerned we are about where people are headed, not in town, but life? I think so.
This series isn’t about guilting people into action. It is about showing them the Inviting God who pursues us in Love. If this is his heart, and he pursued us through another’s invitation, aren’t we motivated to consider inviting others to him?
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For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor 5:14–15
Faced with an increasing secular culture, many American Christians feel marginalized and dismissed. Some Christians have retreated into a personal faith, one to be enjoyed personally and or celebrated protectively with others, but not something to proclaim. Others have been told their faith may work for them but not for everyone, because there is no absolute truth.
These and other factors have caused churches and Christians to wonder if they should share their faith, and, if so, how? Is there power in a proclaimed, propositional message? Unsure of the answer, most say nothing.
Christianity was born in an abusive and persecuting culture, yet it spread through proclamation. It transformed the ancient pagan world of Ireland. It grew under the heavy hand of Chinese Communism. Such examples remind us that Christianity has grown even under some of the most difficult situations and cultures
How is this possible if Christianity is simply a personal faith or cultural construct? Some have observed the Bible reveals it was dual impact of the kerygma and the koinonia -- the powerful preaching of the gospel with the transformation of converts into a selflessness and sharing community. These two spirit-empowered expressions in combination with each other were unlike anything the world had seen.
A transforming message (Rom 10:17) paired with a transforming culture of love was made tangible by people who would proclaim Jesus wherever he led them. We can still offer this to the world.
This spring, we’ll consider various aspects to our Compelling Christianity and how it applies to our lives. We will look at seven aspects of our faith as they are reflected and declared in our Vision Statement. The series will end with a Vision 2020 update and review and a night of celebration.
Everyone in the New Testament responded to the news of Christ’s birth differently. Christmas from our perspective is quite different than Christmas from their perspective. We will learn from Mary, Joseph, Herod, and Jesus about the incarnation. Each perspective is unique and teaches us about responses that all of us have to the news of the incarnation.
Due to the massive flooding in our area, we turn to Nehemiah, a biblical witness of building. In this book, we see the nation of Israel rebuild following their captivity. It is a physical effort predicated on a spiritual renewal lead by Ezra as the people reclaim their city, their heritage, and in many ways their lives. The result is a nation reborn.
Through Nehemiah, God teaches us there is not separation of the sacred and secular in our own lives. The spiritual renewal in Ezra and the physical rebuilding in Nehemiah "are interwoven in a seamless fabric of vocational holiness."
Jesus ascended to heaven and is literally gone from the earth now. However, He continues to “work with [his disciples]” and us by sending the Holy Spirit, the Helper, invisible from our eyes. So who is the Holy Spirit, what does the Holy Spirit do, and how can we experience the Holy Spirit?