"Found it!" Whenever we hear that phrase or get to say it ourselves, it's typically followed with some sort of celebration. A high five. Arms up in victory. Tears of joy. Why? When we find something we've been looking for, an internal longing is satisfied. It's a big deal. Our conversation this weekend revolves around a story that is fulled with seeking and finding. The principle characters are Philip, an Ethiopian, and God himself. There's so much seeking and finding in this story it's hard to keep up, but we'll give it a go. See you this weekend!

The expression "love at first sight" is familiar to all of us. I certainly remember the uptick of my pulse when I first met my beautiful wife over 30 years ago. Now however, my love for her is informed by all these years of life together. True knowledge as opposed to mere physical and emotional attraction cause my heart to beat a little quicker. God's love for us is unconditional, undeserved, immeasurable and from full and complete knowledge of who we are from moment one. The wonder for you and me now is encountering this incredible love and growing to love him in return. During this series, we'll pull up a chair and watch as others encounter Jesus for the first time and consider together the implications for what we see for our lives. 

Pure Gold

 

Describing something as pure gold is to identify it as trustworthy, reliable, and priceless. The Golden Rule was spoken by Jesus near the end of his Sermon on the Mount. This timeless command represents the heart and soul of what it looks like to be a Jesus follower. When, with God's help, a person is living consistently with it, they are that bright light shining to the glory of God. This week we'll journey back to it again for the very first time. The Golden Rule has not lost its luster over the centuries and remains positioned to take your life and mine to amazing new heights. I look forward to the journey with you this weekend.

 

Keep On

What ever happened to words like resilient and relentless? More to the point, what ever happened to those qualities in our collective character. It seems as if resistance, delay or challenge can shut people down from even the most noblest of pursuits. Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, called any who would choose to follow him to practice endurance. He challenged them to never walk away from their pursuit of God. He proceeded then to explain why. The reasons he gave are truly staggering. I can't wait to wonder at them with you this weekend!

The world we live in is enamored with stuff. New stuff, old stuff, big stuff, shiny stuff, fast stuff, stuff that enables us to do stuff. Yikes, there's a lot of stuff! In and of itself stuff is not bad or good. It's just stuff. Jesus knew, however, that people often times hold unhealthy relationships with stuff. They love it. They think about it. They worry about it. They can even be owned by it! When stuff takes over, it derails people's great adventure with God. Jesus loves us too much to stand idly by and let that happen. This week we'll discover together Jesus' timeless plan to keep stuff in its place. See you then!

Him and them

This week’s theme finds us standing in front of one of the most well-known passages from Jesus’ teachings. Most of us find it so familiar that we can pass by it perhaps a little more inspired but overall unaffected. That is until we take a quick look at what Matthew pens before and after the Lord’s prayer. These bookends force us to pause and reflect on our relationships with others because everything that we are communicating to others is what we are in turn, directing toward God. No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape our responsibility to love. We cannot divorce the way we treat Him from the way we treat them.

In many of his letters, Paul addressed concerns he was seeing in the churches. One concern addressed was motives. In one letter, he compiled a list of good deeds that people could do only to pronounce their worthlessness if love wasn't the driving force for those deeds. He was just saying what Jesus had said in a different way. Our culture is enamored with external appearances just like theirs was. Too often, we want to play a part for the crowd, to have them think how great we are. Jesus invites us onto a different path, one with real substance and real reward. This weekend we'll explore that path together. See you then!

Last week, Jesus took us all by surprise by saying that anger and murder are one in the same. As we work our way through one of the most studied sermons ever preached, we are given the chance to see that God wants us to be extreme, not just in the way that we act, but also in the way that we think. How does a Jesus follower think about sexuality, and how do we navigate a world that preaches self-gratification rather than self-sacrifice? Jesus has a word for us, and we'll hear that word this weekend. 

In the aftermath of hurtful words and destructive actions, many will say, "I was mad" or "They made me angry" as if to say that what they said or did was justified. There are numerous verses in the Bible about anger. It is a rarity to find any speaking positively specifically about the anger of people. It is no surprise then to find Jesus directing his followers away from anger and fractured relationships. Chances are really good that anger is negatively impacting our lives today. Let's explore what Jesus said and how it is we can move to a healthy place. 

Thermometers and thermostats are not the same thing. One simply reflects the temperature. The other changes it. In Jesus' sermon on the mount, he left no doubt as to which one his disciples were supposed to be. In our verses for this weekend, he made it clear. Change your environment. Make it better. He did this by employing two very powerful metaphors, salt and light. These were two very precious commodities in Jesus's day which were present in thought every day of their lives. What was Jesus telling them that challenges us 2000 years later? Let's search it out together this weekend.

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