Nehemiah tackled a city restoration job on the order of post-Katrina New Orleans. Chaos and death reigned in the streets as rival war lords battled for control. His task, and ours today, is to restore compassion, service, justice.
We often think of our life as a mishmash of hundreds of individual moments in time. But what if everything we experience is really part of one great narrative? When we see the Bible as one seamless narrative, we can find a daily purpose in God’s eternal plan.
When friend requests are digital and we move an average of 11 times in a lifetime, community can be hard to come by. The early followers of Jesus knew each other, cared for each other and shared life together—and people noticed. Where is your community?
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42-47
The Bible is consistently one of the best-selling books in the world. At the same time it is one of the least understood. We respect the Bible – but we don’t read it. Many simply lack the confidence to open this book on their own. The best way to develop skill in reading the Bible for yourself is to simply read it for yourself.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42; Psalm 119
Three men on a long road trip stop and ask directions. No, it’s not the first line of a joke; it’s the truth. What they asked, and what they found, changed history forever.
SCRIPTURE: Wise Men
If this is the infinite infant, God, naked and vulnerable, here with us tonight, that changes everything. A warm, happy holiday response won’t do. There is no more important need than to fall to our knees and give ourselves totally to him.
SCRIPTURE: John 1, Luke 2
When Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, her life is in shambles. But at her meeting with Elizabeth come joy, excitement and comprehension. This is the importance of family and friends.
Mary simply took news of her out of wedlock conception on faith. By surrendering her life, Mary became the girl through whom God changed the world. In becoming a part of God’s mission, Mary found significance.
After Gabriel’s announcement to Mary we might expect that she would know exactly who her son was. But when the infant Jesus was on the threshold of adolescence he baffled his parents by calling God his “Father.” Like Mary, our grasp of who Jesus is may strengthen slowly, over time.
Ever notice that the best news is the hardest to believe? Over the years Zachariah and Elizabeth found ways of coping with the pain of not having had a child. The one thing they could not handle would be to get their hopes up again. So Zechariah says to a singing angel, ”Go away… Get out of my life.”
SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:5-25
Common grace is the idea that God can bring us a touch of his love and make us smile through the simple, everyday things of life. What are the simple gifts right under your nose that you’re missing?
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 145, James 1:17
If we stand tall like Hezekiah, God will prove faithful. No matter how insignificant or marginalized you may feel, or how mighty our culture's pressure, be strong. God is in control.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 37
Solomon had riches beyond compare, yet died unhappy. His wealth had created a lukewarm cauldron that eventually cooked him. God gives to us not for our sake but in order for us to give.
SCRIPTURE: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
David forgot that everything he had came from God. God reminds him, "I am building my house and yours. All you have and all you are and all you ever will be are all mine.”
SCRIPTURE: 2 Samuel 7:1-7
Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest family of the weakest nation - with weak faith. Our weakness, combined with trust in God, becomes incredible strength. The most important thing we can do is strip away every layer of self sufficiency.
SCRIPTURE: Judges 6:7-16
From the point where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, the Promised Land is a journey of just a few weeks. But instead they wandered forty years. Why? How do our wildernesses shape us?
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 32:11
God’s presence in your life is all you need. Like Moses, you know him! Now you get to go through life doing miracles like Moses did. Salvation is not a human project. Jesus is the human name of God. This table is our Passover.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 3:11-15
When we align our lives to God's grand story, we find strength like Joseph to handle all the bad things life throws at us. Despite all evidences to the contrary, God knows what he’s doing in your life.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 37:18-28
Sometimes God's way seems foolish and naive. We become impatient and lose sight of our role in the story. We want to trust the Ishmaels of our own plan B rather than the Isaacs of God's plan A.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 16:1-2; 17:15-22