One occasionally bumps into a paradox while examining the Christian life. In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul says that spreading peace is a weapon of our warfare. This Sunday, we'll examine how one "wages" peace in Jesus' name.
Every day we face spiritual choices. We want them to be minor, but they're not. What if life is actually a great, cosmic struggle between good and evil? The good news is a victorious life is available to each of us, if we put on the full armor of God.
See Jesus’ compassion for bereaved people. His heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones in the past year.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:11-23
Jesus meets you in the ordinary - so ordinary that, like his own disciples, you may not recognize him. It was only when they’d sat down at the kitchen table that the disciples recognized him. Open your eyes, and things will never be the same.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 24:13-35
Greatness is lifting up from underneath. Jesus says to his disciples that the gentile rulers “press down on them...” The donkey presses up from underneath. Greatness, like the donkey's, means lifting up.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 21:1-11
During his ministry, James earned the nickname “James the Just.” James was a man of action who refused to tolerate a church that consumed the good news of Jesus but did not respond with good deeds like Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:22-25; 2:14-26
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” ... Oh yes, they do. You remember some words that were said to you as a child, don’t you? And they still haunt you. James says words can set your life on fire. That’s why God cares deeply about the words we say to each other.
SCRIPTURE: James 3:1-12
Mercy is the kind of thing that we all want to experience-when we are merging lanes, when we have three items and the person in front of us has a cart full. But in ever deepening ways, the Bible calls us to live out mercy, not to seek it for ourselves.
SCRIPTURE: James 2:1-13
Today we don’t simply want advice. We say to an expert, “help me navigate this process." The more complex our lives become, the more we need navigators. Navigation is more than advice; it’s access to higher wisdom.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:5-8, 3:13-18, 4:13-17
Perseverance rocks. We have more clichés, mottoes and slogans about perseverance than any other virtue. Hang in there. Tough it out. And so on. Perseverance is how you go from wish to fulfillment. All it takes is stick-to-it-iveness.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:1-4
Unlike armor you wear, the shield is a tool used for specific times in battle, such as for protection when advancing. If you’re getting fiery arrows in your life, that means you’re a strategic person in God’s kingdom.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 6:10-18
How do we wear spiritual armor in 21st century culture? The best defense is a good offense. We need to stay constantly on the offensive, using a simple strategy with three parts.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Why do so many of the Bible’s glowing phrases feel like unfulfilled promises? We’re not wearing our armor. The world, the flesh and the devil are creaming us. We’re unarmed with what we think is clunky spiritual discipline and unable to wear Christ’s victory.
For many of us, prayer is something we do, like brushing our teeth. For Jesus, it was a way of life that opened the floodgates of heaven.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 11:1-13
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.