We need to engage spiritual formation with intentionality because we are being formed unintentionally, whether we have chosen to be or not. Choosing intentional spiritual formation is at the heart of the call to repentance—it's not a one-time event, but an ongoing ethic.
The startling declaration of Jesus to His disciples is that they/we would do even greater things than He did. The death of Jesus is a sacrifice for our sin and a gateway to the Father. The life of Jesus is a model for what it means to live as One led and controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we recognize the power for Jesus' life, we are called to respond to His invitation into that same kind of life.
Is change truly possible? The expectation for the apprentice of Jesus is that we would become like our Master. This doesn't happen solely through our own effort, but it does require our effort. As we engage the training of Jesus through teaching, practice and community, the Holy Spirit transforms us to be like Him.
If we are to be apprentices of the Way of Jesus, our first step is simply to be with Him. This was the invitation given to the earliest disciples, and it's our invitation as well. We are called to constantly live in two places at once—where we are physically and also in the presence of Jesus. It's His presence that changes us. Too often we jump to the actions of the apprentice without first spending time with the Master.
Jesus' invitation to His first disciples is the same invitation given to us today: follow Him and become His apprentices. We are invited to be with Him, to become like Him, and to ultimately do what He did. The intentional choice is foundational for us to follow the Way because His way is the only pathway to the fullness of life.
The Importance of a Name: There are many instances in the Old Testament when God named people… but then He changed the name! While there are many choices of names, it matters what name is given to each of us.
Two Great Names:“Immanuel” and “Jesus” are names given to the Son of God and are vital in giving us understanding that God being with us paves the way for God saving us.
The Secret Name: In Revelation, we discover that God has a name for us that only He knows. This God-given name is promised to those who overcome and endure to the end.
Following Jesus isn’t simply an addition to a busy life or a way of thinking or believing. Rather, it’s a recognition of my sin and need of grace along with an acknowledgement that the source of that grace is the source of life itself. We are each called to step into that life.
There are many things that are uncertain and unknowable within the spiritual realm, leading us to live by faith. However, in the midst of a faith-based life, there are key things of which we can be certain. Learning to rest in the certainty of life with Jesus compels us to draw near to Him and, thereby, to become more like Him.
God Himself testifies to the reality of Jesus and His love for us. He has provided us a variety of witnesses to the truth of the Gospel. If we build our lives on the truth of the Word of God and sacrifice of Jesus, we build on a solid foundation.
On our journey towards Jesus, certain habits or practices accelerate our progress. For two thousand years, disciples have followed spiritual disciplines practiced by our earliest leaders and other great men of God. In today's message, we look at those "holy habits."
When we have truly received the love of God, we are changed by Him. As we are with Him, we find ourselves loving what He loves, living like He lived, and doing the things He did in the world around us. Just as Jesus has overcome the world, we also can overcome as we become more like Him.
Love is the ultimate test of our faith. True love is always more concerned with other than with self, and the only way that we can love selflessly is when we have been loved selflessly. When we receive the love of Jesus, we boldly love others in that same way.
Through Jesus’ work on the cross, our broken lives are offered complete healing. However, over time, we often settle in our faith, and our excuses and lack of belief keep us from entering into Jesus' transforming power. It’s only when we recognize our inability to heal ourselves that we can receive true healing from Him. As we are healed, we can offer that healing to others through Jesus.
In a world replete with the spiritual, it's vital that we learn to recognize the true gospel of Jesus amidst the impersonators. It is in beholding the beauty of Jesus, not in persuasive speech, that we can discern truth from error.
The life of Jesus shows us a different way to live and a different way to love. Love is no longer simply a word that we express, but it becomes a way of life for those who follow Jesus.
Jesus didn't simply live a perfect life. In living that life, and then in His sacrificial death, Jesus defeated our enemy the Devil. Jesus came so that we might be freed from the power of sin and redeemed to live new lives in Christ.
Belief always leads to action. If we remain steadfast in our belief, we will also find that we remain in Christ, and that our lives reflect that reality. One day we will be like Him but, until then, we remain in Him, become more like Him, and do what He did. We do this because we are His kids.
Every generation has a part to play within the community of faith. The pull of the world is strong but, when we truly love God, we will encourage one another not to fall in love with the things of the world but, rather, to fall in love with God who gives us everything we need.
The message of Jesus is not an abolition of the law, but rather, an invitation into the perfect law of the Kingdom of God. The way of Jesus doesn't save us, but His way is the fullness of life that comes to our life after salvation. The apple tree can only produce apples, and the life of Jesus can only come from the light of Jesus within us.