**We will offer in-person gatherings on Sunday mornings with limited capacity in July. RSVP is required. No other onsite groups, including Kids, Youth and GroupLife, will meet during the month of July."**
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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?
They were just ordinary fishermen making an ordinary living when Jesus walked by. They were minding their own business, casting for fish and mending their nets.
With one command, Jesus changed everything. “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of me,” and they did. They left family business and familiar surroundings. They followed immediately, showing neither reluctant fear nor selfish thought. They sought no other counsel than the sound of his voice.
He didn’t map out the first step or outline a comprehensive plan of action. He explained neither corporate nor kingdom structure. He made no promises, offered no bonuses. He simply offered himself and invited them to follow him.
He spoke the language of fishing they understood and then redefined it. He redirected their perspective from the dark waters of an inland sea to fields that were ready for harvest. He replaced their jobs with a mission, and challenged them to life instead of just making a living. He called them to make his purpose theirs.
Their first step took them to places they would never have imagined. They left behind the sea to travel dusty roads. They left a thriving business along the shore to stand in sorrow at the foot of the cross. They followed Jesus from Galilee to Golgotha.
Simon, Andrew, James and John. Four men who chose to follow Jesus. His call to follow is not for these four alone. He is calling all of us to leave behind our pride and preconceptions, to discover who he is and learn from him, and to follow him to the end of the age.
We invite you to join us as we study the Book of Mark and rediscover The Lost Art of Following Jesus.