We live in a culture that is increasingly at cross-purposes with the teachings and life-call of the Christian faith. If we choose to live wholeheartedly for Jesus, then it is likely that we will face some type of trouble. By looking at Paul’s life and teachings in his first letter to the Thessalonians, we’ll be exploring what he has to say about what we can do when our faith leads to trouble.
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We all have our own cross to bear. What’s yours?
Before you answer that, you might want to hear what Jesus had to say about cross-bearing. And that’s exactly what we are going to do this Sunday at White Pine. As we prepare for Holy Week, we are not just going to talk about the cross Jesus bore, but the one He calls you and me to bear. You may never hear more shocking … or more liberating … truth from the lips of Jesus.
To say that God is pro-family is stating the obvious, right? So why did Jesus say so many things that challenge our natural tendency to put family first?
We are going to wrestle with the most shocking statement Jesus ever made about families. As hard as it will be to hear, I trust it will be good for us, because Jesus did not come to rob us of life at its best, but to help us find it.
Plus, He loves our families more than we do, and He knows how to lead us to a lifestyle that will shake those we love out of spiritual apathy. For their sake, let’s go where Jesus leads.
Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.” That’s the motto of Macy’s, and it also sums up what I expected from Jesus when I first began to follow Him. I thought He would be everywhere and do everything I wanted Him to do with astonishing power.
He has astonished me all right–by not doing what I expected. Everyone who follows Jesus will at some point hit the
this-isn’t-what-I-signed-up-for wall of disillusionment. Why should we keep following Him when He doesn’t exceed our expectations?
We are going to watch Jesus astonish His disciples, and not in a delightful way. We’ll see most turn away and a few keep following. And we will discover what fueled the endurance of the minority, so that we too will have what it takes to follow our unpredictable Lord all the way to the finish line.
It is impossible to follow Jesus in a society as prosperous as America without ever wrestling with the question of what He wants you to do with your money.
Unfortunately, answers to that question–even by those who claim to teach the Bible–vary so dramatically that, lacking clarity, we gravitate toward our preferences … or, to use the language of the apostle Paul, we gather around us a great number of teachers to say what our itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3).
But I dare you to find a prosperity preacher who regularly quotes the Gospel of Luke. Why? Well, let’s just say Luke doesn’t scratch where we itch.
But integrity demands that we brace ourselves and let Luke speak, because his Gospel contains far more words of Jesus on the subject of money and possessions than any other New Testament book. So this Sunday at White Pine, we are going to highlight every quote of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke that has financial implications.
I promise you this: Clarity.
Picture two roads diverging in the woods. One is broad, level and crowded with hikers. The other is narrow, steep and occupied by one lone figure–Jesus.
Why follow Him instead of them?
Between now and Easter Sunday, we are going to study the map (the Gospels) to see what we can expect if we continue to follow Jesus every time we come to a fork in the road. Knowing both the cost and the reward will prepare us to take the less traveled route all the way to a destination like no other.
How will your faith hold up when it’s put to the test? When it’s under fire?
It’s one thing to believe something. It’s quite another to put it to action!
Watch this week’s sermon to understand how YOUR FAITH IN CHRIST IS NOT TESTED TRUE UNLESS IT’S BEEN TEMPERED UNDER FIRE.
It may be distractingly obvious or carefully concealed, but whether others see it or not, you feel its potential-robbing power constantly. Whatever you call it–a handicap, a disability, a limitation, a challenge, a thorn in the flesh–it makes you wonder what might have been had you not been afflicted like no one else you know.
Believe it or not, you are surrounded with people who feel exactly like you. Personal liabilities and limitations are as common as … well, as persons.
So why doesn’t God fix us? What purpose could He possibly have in leaving us in our weakened condition? That’s the question we’ll find answers to this Sunday at White Pine. If you come with an open heart, I dare say you’ll leave with gratitude for whatever liability you have been entrusted with.
If life was a road, it would be the fork that changed your destiny. If life was a sculpture, it would be the hammer blow that fractured the possibility of a masterpiece. If life was a story, it would be the plot twist that forever darkened the narrative.
However you think about your biggest regret, it changed everything, didn’t it? How do you make peace with that part of your past and lean into the future with confidence and passion? You will see that you are not alone in your struggle to shed the baggage of regret. I hope you’ll listen and hear an encouraging whisper from God about how even that is part of His Plan A for your life.