In our hurry to be accepted by culture, have we lost the power of what is supposed to set us apart from the culture? The power of the church isn’t in degrees or pastors or business strategies, it is in the Holy Spirit. If we’re going to be a 21st century church that leads people to find and follow Jesus, we may need to bring back “That Old Time Religion,” meaning that we look at the exciting growth and example of the 1st century church as we see it in Acts.
Are we satisfied with the way things are? Maintaining the status quo keeps us in the crowd - Jesus calls us out of the crowd into discipleship of crazy faith. When we do this we commit to counting the cost and giving it all over to him.
Our culture, tired of injustices, is saying, “Enough prayers. More actions.” While action is always important, the Persistent Widow, in Luke 18:1-8, reminds us that change must always starts with praying like a crazy person. Prayer aligns our heart with Jesus’. Before we jump into action, we need to make sure our hearts are aligned with his.
The wisdom of the world says: “Get ahead at all costs.” In Mark 10:35-45, James and John tried that when they asked Jesus for a promotion: “When you take your throne, can we have thrones on each side of you?”. Jesus confronted their worldly attitudes by teaching them a crazy strategy for success: Instead of “Get ahead at all costs” Jesus told them to “Serve no matter the cost.”
Active opposition to Jesus is noticeable, but is it possible that even followers of Jesus could be passively opposing Jesus? Are we telling Jesus, “No, not yet”? Paul’s story begins by him actively opposing Jesus. However, Jesus shows up to give him a new vision, a new mission and a new calling. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul is able to move into a ministry of suffering and a life of “Yes, Jesus.”
It can be easy to be interested in Jesus privately, to hide behind the “we” of corporate worship and church experiences. But as Nicodemus’ one on one encounter with Jesus reveals, you can’t just be near Jesus, you have to believe in Jesus to be saved!
Everyone wants to be an influencer. While influence isn’t bad, it shouldn’t be the primary goal of a Christian. True influence comes as result of a much more important, and often overlooked goal: patient endurance.
What does it mean when we talk about our future home? How does the story of Christmas set us up for it? Pastor Nikomas helps us consider these questions.
Christmas, the story of Immanuel, was an invitation to a people in exile to come together as a family again. God became flesh to dwell among us in order for us to be at home with Jesus. In this season, our invitation from God is to come back home.
In this election season there is panic, fear and hopelessness. But in the church, we can’t lose sight of Jesus, whose power and reign isn’t limited by any country or government. Jesus is casting a brand new vision for the entire world, therefore we can pray, we can vote and we can work with hope.