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.
The gospel orients our lives around what's truly important. The community of faith plays a vital role in how we respond to the distractions of the world. Healthy connection helps us gain perspective and stay focused on the main thing.
Grace should drive us to holiness. Too often, we view grace as a license for sin instead of an incentive for holy living. Jesus' invitation isn't simply to a life that is cleansed but to a life that is redeemed and given purpose. We are invited into the restoration plan of Jesus for all of creation, and that begins as we engage in one another's lives.
It's a humbling thought when we recognize that each of us are someone that others look up to! We are called to intentionally choose those whom we will model our lives after and to live imperfect lives that, through both our action and repentance, are worthy of emulation.
We never qualify for the grace of Jesus based on our work, nor do our works disqualify us. However, both the evidence and the trajectory of our lives are clear indicators of the foundation on which our lives are built. We live in a broken world, but through Christ, we have the opportunity to see that world through the lens of redemption.
The specific calling on the life of Paul provides a model for the calling that we each have on our lives. Modeling faith and teaching truth are the right response from those who have received the gift of life through Jesus. Intentional connection always leads to gospel multiplication.
Being connected to one another isn't simply a nice way to live or a built-in support structure in case of difficulty. Connection to the faith community is one of the key aspects of our spiritual formation journey. We are always being formed—intentionally or unintentionally. Connection takes many forms, but is a vital aspect of the transformation process.