Who isn’t running full-steam ahead these days. Our lives are so crammed with life that we’re actually crowding out . . . well, life. As the spring turns to summer, what if we as a community turned our hearts to creating more margin in our lives. And not for us. But for Christ.
Here at Chesapeake, our three core values are: All People Matter To God, Full Devotion To Jesus Christ Is Normal, and Excellence Honors God.
Excellence tends to display itself in all kinds of ways. And Full Devotion is more easily recognizable, too. But the value of All People Matter To God – this can be a bit harder to see at times.
It shouldn’t be this way.
So what if we did something about that? What if we made loving people visible? What if we so clearly displayed excellence and our devotion to Christ in the way we love people? And not just those who are easy to love – but even loving the unlovely. Imagine the community we would be if together we made our God known through the beauty of loving people.
Because if All People Matter To God, shouldn’t all people matter to us?
What If? It’s a question we often ask ourselves after an opportunity lost or an opportunity missed. That question is one filled with regret. But “What if?” is also a question people ask as they look towards opportunities yet to come. Then that same question is filled with vision and anticipation. For the next three weeks, together we are going to look at three promises God makes to His church and ask, “What if?”
From the beginning, at the core of God’s promise to His people was a land of their own. A land where they would dwell with Him and He with them. A land where they would not fight for victory, but from victory. God’s people waited for centuries for the realization of that promise. But through Jesus, the promised land is no longer something that will happen one day. So unlike the people of Israel, we no longer need to wait for the promised land. When we live in the legacy of the Kingdom, we are living in the promised land now.
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.
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.
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.