Paradox - Following the Contrarian Wisdom of God

Talk Less to Say More

May 21, 2017

In a modern culture of self-promotion on social media and the constant chatter on our smart phones, texting and tweeting about every opinion that pops in our heads, the Bible says, “Be quick to hear and slow to speak.” That’s biblical wisdom, godly wisdom. Stop talking so much and start listening more. Even when we keep quiet, in our heads we’re already thinking of what we’re going to say. No wonder we’re having so much trouble in our society. Divisions within and without. Arguments everywhere. But no one is listening. And no one is really being heard.

What can be done? The book of James offers the paradoxical wisdom that we can actually talk less in order to say more. For real communication, real understanding to take place, we need less talk and more listening, and more appropriate action. The book of James is one of the most practical books of wisdom in the Bible. It is sometimes referred to as the New Testament’s book of proverbs. Written by James, the brother of Jesus, and the pastor of the first church of Jerusalem, it is also a very pastoral book, and a very practical one too.

In the first chapter of James, he told believers that the first place to apply this paradoxical principle of talking less to say more should be in rightly responding to God’s Word. We can learn to rightly respond to God’s Word.

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Lose to Find

May 14, 2017

How do you answer the question, “Who am I?”  For many of you, you’ve tied your identity to your name, “I’m John or I’m Susie.” Others might say, “I’m a father or mother, or I’m a husband or a wife, I’m a son or daughter, I’m a teacher, I’m a nurse, I’m a coach, I’m a dog-lover or cat-lover. How do you answer the question? In Tim Keller’s book, Making Sense of God, he describes two ways that people have found their identity. One, he calls the “traditional path,” where the individual finds identity from the community in which they are born and grow up. The second path, Keller calls the “modern” or “secular” approach. This is the new emphasis on looking “inward” to find the true self, where one’s desires and dreams are to dictate one’s identity.

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus told His followers that they must lose their former sense of self in order to find their true identity in Christ. The only way that we can discover our true, God-given identity is by losing our former one and finding our true identity in Christ. How can we find our true identity in Christ? The text gives three steps to finding your true identity in Christ.

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LIFE - Why Easter is a Game Changer

Spiritual Life

May 7, 2017

There has always been a great search for meaning and purpose. In today’s culture that search often leads into spirituality and religion, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people will discover true spiritual life. They only way is to place our faith in the resurrected Christ!

In the book of Romans, Paul encouraged believers to understand the benefits of their new spiritual life in Christ. We can be encouraged by the benefits of our new spiritual life in Christ. What are the benefits of our new spiritual life in Christ that should encourage us? The text gives three benefits of our new spiritual life in Christ.

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Reconciled Life

April 30, 2017

If we could be reconciled to God, reconciled to others, and even reconciled to ourselves, what joy and peace might that bring into our lives? What if Christ’s death and resurrection, could mean a reconciled life for us?

In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome to show them how they might rejoice in the reconciled life they have through Jesus Christ. We too can rejoice in the reconciled life through Christ. Why are we able to rejoice in the reconciled life through Christ? Today’s text gives us three reasons we can rejoice in the reconciled life through Christ.

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Better Life

April 23, 2017

Who of us wouldn’t say, “I want to have a better life”? But what does that look like? What is the “good life”?

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he taught them that they had the freedom to choose between sin and death and righteousness and life. We can experience God’s purpose for our lives when we willingly offer ourselves to him. How can we redefine success from what the world tells us the “good life” is? Today’s text gives three ways to live life with Christ’s purpose.

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New Life

April 16, 2017

Have you been playing your version of the game of life and realized you were either following the wrong rules or aiming for the wrong goal? You thought more money would make you happy, but it made you hungry for more money. You thought new stuff, a new car, new house, new boat would make you happy, but you still feel empty. You thought a new relationship, a new boyfriend, a new girlfriend, a new love would make you feel like a winner. But you still feel like a loser.

So, how do we get a new view of life? Is there a way of starting over, starting fresh, with a new life? In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that those who identify with Christ’s death and resurrection might live in newness of life. We can experience this new life by identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus.

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Last Words

The Word of Reunion

April 9, 2017

In the gospel of Luke, the seventh and last word of Jesus on the cross was a prayer that expressed His total dependence in the Father to bring Him home. God hears and answers the prayers of those who will express their total dependence in Him.

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The Word of Triumph

April 2, 2017

Do you ever feel defeated? Have you ever felt as if you were a failure at everything? School, work, marriage, parenting…? Do you ever feel defeated by sin? Like certain sins continue to beset you? Jesus took what looked like complete failure and turned it into total triumph!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus let out a triumphant cry from the cross that He had finished the work of salvation. This salvation is a finished work, yet we still have to respond to it. How can we respond to Christ’s finished work of salvation? The text gives three ways to respond to Christ’s finished work of salvation.

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The Word of Distress

March 26, 2017

What are you thirsty for? What desire goes unsatisfied, so that you thirst for it always? Have you tried to quench your thirst with material things? You spend money you do not have to purchase things that will not satisfy. Yet, the thirst remains, so you keep spending. You thirst for love and relationship, so you give your body away, and settle for lust rather than waiting for covenantal love. So your thirst remains. We thirst for significance, for meaning, for happiness, yet the more we have, the more we drink from every worldly fountain, the more we thirst!

In the gospel of John, Jesus cried out from the cross “I thirst,” so that the deepest thirst of humanity might be fully satisfied. We can have our deepest thirst fully satisfied in Christ. How does the cross of Christ fully satisfy our deepest thirst? The text gives three ways that Christ fully satisfies our deepest thirst.

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The Word of Despair

March 19, 2017

Have you ever cried out to God like Jesus did? Have you ever felt forsaken and alone? Have you ever felt distant from God? Have you cried, “God, where are you?” We all feel lonely at times. We all want acceptance. We want to be accepted and approved. But instead, we often feel rejected and alone.

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus cried out in despair to God as He experienced the extravagant exchange that it cost Him for our reconciliation. We can understand the cost of this extravagant exchange. Why did Christ cry out in despair when He paid for this extravagant exchange? The text offers three reasons for why Christ cried out in despair when paying for this extravagant exchange.

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