The Gospel of Matthew contains some of the most revolutionary words of Jesus ever recorded. It's known as The Sermon On The Mount. Never before had anyone heard teaching with such authority. Jesus gave such a compelling vision for what it really meant to live for God that it turned conventional thinking upside down. Not only that, but when we live according to theses teachings, we too will be revolutionary for Him today.
We all know what it’s like to live through a moment where everything changes. Two thousand years ago a few women heading to a tomb experienced just that sort of moment – they arrived at an empty grave. At the time, they thought the story had ended. But it was only just beginning. Jesus offers each one of us a similar moment – a moment to change everything, and live life on the other side of the cross, the other side of the tomb, and the other side of this life.
Just about everyone is looking forward to an end to 2020 and a do-over in 2021. A fresh start. A reboot. But who’s to say that many of the challenges and struggles from last year aren’t going to follow us into the next? And what’s stopping new challenges from popping up? In a tumultuous world, let’s kick off the new year by fixing our eyes on the only One Who holds us safe and secure – Jesus Christ.
Together, we are the church – the Body of Christ. And God’s purpose for His church is to grow and build His AGAPE love. So how do we do that exactly? Well, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, the apostle Paul breaks it down piece by piece. When we follow God’s blueprint for growing in and building up His love, nothing can stop the love revolution.
What the world needs now? Love. Yet these days, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of love going around. What can we do about it? Where is the love the world needs going to come from? It will come from us; the church. From people whose lives are committed to bringing love and hope to the world through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Because not only is there a better way, we’ve been called to the most excellent way.
We live in a time of unprecedented division. Yet the mission of Christ and His Church is one of unity – unity of faith in Christ, knowledge of God, and, above all, love. And as we learn how to build and grow the Body of Christ, together we will be a people rooted in just that. Because no matter how bleak the world may seem, in the Kingdom – things are getting better and better. (1 Corinthians 12)
There are three unifying themes throughout scripture: God’s desire to be glorified, God’s desire for a people of His own, and God’s eternal purpose. Even so, there are times when God appears to be silent and distant. It was true then and it is true today. But even in those moments when all love seems lost, the promise of Christ remains. And when we learn to see even the unseen love of Christ, we will be that much more equipped to be the love of Christ in the world.
The End Is Near. With the pandemic, the separation brought about by physical distancing, and all the social and political unrest, that’s certainly a popular sentiment these days. Yet Jesus was abundantly clear that even when it appears that everything is crumbling around us, when we experience troubles and uncertainty, we are to take heart – He has overcome the world. In that sense, perhaps the end IS near. For in Jesus, we find not only the end, but the beginning.
Daily distractions seem impossible to avoid --- they scatter our thinking, trip up our emotions and keep us from living fully in God's presence. But it doesn't have to be that way. Join us as we learn the importance of adopting a healthy mindset that's driven by Biblical truth, not daily distractions.
We all love stories. Ever since we were young. It’s the way we learn about who we are. So is it any surprise that Jesus uses stories to teach His children? And Jesus’ stories are so compelling that they are known throughout the world, both in and out of church. Much more than entertainment, Jesus' stories challenge all of us to continuously adjust our view of life, our thinking, and our way of living. For throughout the parables of Jesus, we are in fact being invited into a bigger story. His story.
Easter at Chesapeake is always a special celebration – this year is no exception. It's worth noting that in all four gospels, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was in many ways a quiet miracle. But not only a quiet miracle, it is in many ways a very small miracle. A very private miracle. No crowds, no cheers, no thunder or lightening. Just a quiet miracle that forever changed the hearts of every person who would believe in Him. For in the resurrection of Christ, we find not only life, but the Life.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus had extraordinary encounters with ordinary people. These were regular, every-day people who were forever changed by colliding with the living presence of Christ. And it still happens today. For when our hearts genuinely experience the grace and love of a living Jesus, we face a choice – to resist Him or to surrender. Which will we choose?
Throughout His ministry, Jesus said and taught so many amazing, wonderful, and beautiful things. But the teachings of Jesus were also often uncomfortable, difficult, and downright disruptive. Yet to fully know and follow Christ, one cannot accept the former while neglecting the latter. Over the next several weeks, we will taking a deeper look at the challenging, the inconvenient – the hard teachings of Jesus.