Jesus didn’t come to initiate Judaism 2.0. He came came to offer something entirely new to the world: a new covenant that would forever change humankind’s relationship to God. And with that new covenant came a new ethic—one that insisted the greatest choose the back of the line.
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The words unlimited and unconditional make us suspicious. Whether those words describe an insurance policy, cellphone agreement, or meal plan for a college student, we assume unlimited is really limited and unconditional has some conditions. That suspicion extends to our relationship with God. Unconditional love? Unlimited forgiveness? There must be a catch. But what if there isn’t?
We all have a working definition of what it means to be great. It probably includes power, prosperity, or popularity. As we journey through the life of Jesus, we can't help but stop and look at how he redefined greatness. Don't miss this message!
Jesus claimed to be greater than the temple. He made the temple obsolete. Most of his followers assumed his end game was to declare himself king. The more discerning among them sensed something else was going on. Jesus spoke with authority but refused to take charge. He wielded extraordinary power, but never for himself. What was he up to?
We all have a natural tendency to surround ourselves with people who like us. Whether we’re geeks, jocks, hipsters, Democrats, or Republicans, we surround ourselves with people who are like us. But what is the cost of isolating ourselves from those who are different?
Something in us is tempted to believe God loves his Law more than his people. We’re tempted to prioritize rules over people. Maybe you left church because somebody prioritized the Bible over your divorced mother or gay brother. But Jesus came to offer us a life greater than keeping religious rules.
If you aren’t religious or you gave up religion, you probably had good reason to walk away or stay away. You’re a reasonable person, and there are plenty of good reasons to reject religion. But reconsider Jesus. He wasn’t an extension of the old religion. He came to introduce something brand new.
When you read the Gospels, two things are abundantly clear. Being a sinner doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. And being an unbeliever doesn’t disqualify you from following Jesus. So, what does that mean for you?
“Might makes right” is the default setting for the world. Those with wealth and power write the rules, and they usually write them to favor themselves. That was true in Jesus’ time as well. But he came to turn everything upside down.
Jesus didn't come to extend an old religion. He didn't come to just clarify old truths. He didn't come to just preach sermons and offer wise teachings. From the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would give birth to a son whose "kingdom would never end," it was clear: Jesus would do something new for the world.
Being lost is frustrating because of how it makes us feel out of control. Not knowing what to do or where to go is a hopeless feeling. If you've ever felt lost or you feel lost now, this message is for you.
We all wonder. When we fix our eyes somewhere other than on God, wonder leads to wander. If you’ve wandered from the faith or are looking for the door, it’s not because of Jesus. You may think Christianity requires mind-numbing, experience-denying faith, but what if that’s not true?
We wonder because our frame of reference doesn’t provide us with all of the answers. Every version of religion works for children. But then life happens. We experience challenging circumstances that sow doubt in our childhood faith. Tragedy causes us to question if God is good and loving. Sin leads to guilt and shame. We wonder if God can really love us. Is there such a thing as a frame of reference that can accomodate a grown-up faith?
We wonder because our frame of reference doesn’t provide us with all of the answers. As our frame of reference changes or expands, some mysteries are solved. Some remain mysterious. So what do you do with the big mysteries in life—the mysteries that won't resolve no matter how much we explore them? What do you do with your unanswered questions?
Dissatisfaction with what we have and what we can afford can lead to discontentment. We live in a culture that tells us newer and shinier is better. So, what do you do when you're no longer content with what you wear, drive, or live in?
When the church does good, God’s name is made great. This year, we want to continue the wave of Be Rich good deeds we’ve experienced over the past decade. We want to show people in our communities that God loves them. And we don’t want you to miss this opportunity to be extraordinarily generous.
At the heart of the Christian faith is this idea: in Jesus, God became one of us and dwelt among us. When it comes to those around us who are hurting and in need, the God who dwelt among us calls his followers to be hands on.
Happy couples decide they owe each other everything but are owed nothing in return. But that requires effort. Every married person makes a choice every day. That choice feels more like a reaction, so most people don’t think they have a choice at all. But they do. Happy couples make the happy choice.