God can replace our fears and faithlessness with a yearning for new adventure that can only be known with a spirit made bigger by Christ’s redeeming act on the cross.
Is there a more definitive symbol of summer fun than sand? Images of sand evoke dreamy thoughts of lazy afternoons, languid walks, and sounds of children laughing. But sand isn't just for escaping. It is also the environment for some of God’s deepest wisdom and understanding. What can the many characteristics of sand teach us about how to follow Jesus?
The Bible says this universe is ruled by the mighty will of a sovereign God. On the other hand, it says our prayers make things happen. How can both of these things be true? God is deeply affected by our prayers.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 32, Matthew 5
Prayer is a spiritual discipline. If you're going to be a disciple, you need to exercise discipline. Discipline isn't like eating your broccoli as much as it is creating space in your life for God to work.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:32-39
God wills that you pray; God delights in it and really wants it. Prayer is as central to the meaning of the created universe as you can get. He's near as your breathing. Just lift a finger.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:1–13
You can have a faith as orthodox as a bishop and still be a train wreck. Does the Christian life promise more than it can deliver? Learn the key to happiness, according to the Bible.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 1
The Christians at Thessalonica decided to opt out of the work force, pray and wait for Jesus to return. The tentmaking Apostle Paul was not amused. One of the most Godlike things you and I can do is get up and go to work in the morning.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Tolerance was perhaps late Roman culture's highest virtue. Jezebel, a member of the church at Thyatira, thought she should help the church evolve to a changing world. Sound familiar?
Ephesus was a big, bold and upcoming city, and its church was the most effective church of the New Testament. Peachtree has also had a big impact on its city. But is it good enough?
God invented the city. Cities can be wicked. They are also culture shapers. Even when believers are marginalized, we're to work for the welfare of our city.
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 29:4-7; Isaiah 65; Revelation 21
When his ship ran ashore, the apostle Paul learned anew how life is often beyond our control. Yet even in storms that bring damage, God remains faithful and supplies both provision and joy.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 27:27-44
In spite of its reputation for castle-building, sand is not a good manufacturing material. Jesus points out what is obvious to a five year old with a bucket on a beach: It’s not easy to make a good foundation out of sand. It is unstable.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:24-28
Like a desert sand dune that overtakes a landscape, sin can bury our best intentions.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 2:11-15
When forged under heat and pressure, sand transforms from impermeable earth to translucent glass. Similarly, the Holy Spirit has transforming power for our lives.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 4
Sand-formed shorelines are a beautiful image of the greatness of God’s creation, marrying land and sea. Such is the beauty of the thoughts of God.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 139
We go to the beach to get away from our hectic lives and recover a right pace. But it is only Jesus who is capable of washing away our worst afflictions and forming our hearts and lives.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 5:1-20
You could spend a lifetime counting the grains in a single cubic foot of sand and still fail to grasp its greatness. Likewise, God loves us so much that He wants to bless us, and our families, beyond our ability to understand.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 22:17
When it comes to sex, Jesus raises the bar. Every other commandment stops at our actions, but in matters of the heart, it’s what is in our hearts that matters. Jesus calls us to radical faithfulness.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:27-30