Unforgettable Christmas Part 2 - We are in the business of "prettying" up our lives. We do our best to control the circumstances around us. Perfection may not be our reality, but it has become our standard. The truth is, we are looking to our situations to be our savior. Unfortunately, temporary things that are out of control, can't save anyone. Somehow we started to believe that an unforgettable Christmas occurs when perfect situations happen. But if that is true, then the first Christmas should have never happened! Today we discover that a perfect Savior is greater than our imperfect situations. Because of Jesus, even if our horizontal realities don't change, we can have the best Christmas eve.
Unforgettable Christmas Part 1 - Peace. Joy. Goodwill. These are the words we hear, read, and sing during the Christmas season. But what about the word failure? While that may not make it on to a greeting card, it has made its way into many of our stories. This season has the potential to remind us of our failures more than any other time of the year. We remember relationships that ended. We feel the weight of not being able to buy gifts. Many of us are defined by our failures. On the first Christmas, a group of failures were invited to see Jesus. Through their story, we discover that Jesus’ success is greater than our failures! Christmas is unforgettable when we choose to be defined by what Jesus did!
Pray Like Jesus Part 4 - Community is hard for us. We typically guard ourselves from other people, because we are afraid of being hurt. We present the very best of ourselves on social media, and we use filters to distort what’s really going on. You were created for humble and honest community! Imagine how different your life would be if you could be real with another person? If someone could pray with you and walk with you through hard moments in life? Today we conclude our series on prayer by seeing how Jesus chose to include some close friends in one of the hardest moments of His life. His decision to be humble and honest leads us to do the same thing with people around us.
Pray Like Jesus Part 2 - Asking God for things is a normal part of prayer. For many people, it is the definition of prayer. But how do we respond when God doesn’t seem influenced by our requests? What do you do when the person you prayed for, passes away anyway? Maybe you believe prayers aren’t answered because there isn’t enough faith. Maybe it’s because of sin. Or maybe, God doesn’t answer prayer because God isn’t real or good. Jesus asked God for something, and He didn’t get what He wanted. But He had three words that reminded Him of absolute truths about God and prayer. Knowing what Jesus knew guards us when prayers go unanswered.
Pray Like Jesus Part 1 - Each of us have a picture of prayer. People and experiences help us develop the picture that we have now. Maybe you only prayed at mealtime and bedtime. Maybe you prayed when you felt guilty, or when you were grieving. Jesus created a new, revolutionary picture of prayer when He said, "When you pray, say 'Father'." No matter what your relationship with God is now, Jesus has made it possible for each of us to call God Father.
Happily Ever After Week 4 - Choice is powerful. In the context of romantic relationships, there is a choice that each person gets to make. In between the gap of expectaion and behavior, you choose to either "assume the worst" or "believe the best." Today, we look at the words of Paul and see how love chooses to believe the best over and over again. The Gospel is the message of God filling the gap between you and Him with Jesus, because He believed in a relationship with you.
Happily Ever After Part 3 - Your ability to stay in love has as much to do with the condition of your heart as it does the behavior of your partner. What’s in you is coming out, so pay attention to what’s in you.
Happily Ever After Part 2 - We start learning at an early age the importance of keeping things fair. We expect our siblings to help clean up. We want our friends to do their part on the school project. These are the terms and conditions we bring into our relationships: “I’ll only do something, if the other person does.” We want things to be fair. We want 50/50. But that won’t get us happily ever after. Paul gives us a radical teaching on how we can make the other person more important. How we can humbly put their interests ahead of our own. We can only understand what Paul is saying when we see that this is why Jesus came to earth to save us. His love moves us to love differently, and agree to a new set of terms and conditions.
We live in a world where happily ever after doesn’t seem possible. The odds are stacked against us. What we’ve seen and felt growing up, makes us ill-equipped to stay committed to one single person. Culture tells us that if we don’t feel love anymore, we must have chose wrong and have to try again. Jesus offers something different. What he taught almost 2,000 years ago seems too simple to be true. But if we could understand what He said, we will begin building a solid foundation to reach happily ever after.