Corporate worship isn’t about getting or experiencing something. Gathering for worship is about stoking our desire for God, testifying to his greatness, and pursuing what God desires for us together.
If life is a journey, we’ll find the journey to be good if we trust in Jesus’ strength and remain single-mindedly focused on the Creator rather than the creation.
Suffering, injustice, and conflict are not part of God’s design for creation, but when it comes, he is attentive to his people and is pleased when we come to him in prayer, depend on him to endure, and long for the restored world he intends.
God’s plan has always been the forgiveness and freedom of broken people through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. And now God continues the work by equipping us to speak the good news.
Forgiving others requires uncommon sacrifice, but God’s love and care for us strengthens us for the task and is reflected in us when we forgive those who have sinned against us.
We often put as much effort into hiding and justifying our sin as we do sinning itself, only making it worse in the process. But when in the midst of our consequences we acknowledge our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, he disarms our disobedience and blesses us with his protection and direction.
Thriving requires keeping the end goal, approval from Jesus, in sight. But thriving in a tumultuous world also needs a generous amount of grace, forgiveness, and awareness. And we must guard against the common temptation to be distracted from following Jesus by the good things he gives us.
In a world filled with nearly instant transactions, a flourishing life requires slowing down long enough to offer meaningful worship and consider on a regular basis who we are and who Jesus is.
When life seems to be everything but thriving, recovery and renewal begin with an honest assessment both of our circumstances and ourselves. As we recognize our own limitations, acknowledge our spiritual condition, and listen to Jesus, he offers us the opportunity to rest and experience renewed life with him.
We can move beyond merely surviving to a thriving life with Jesus when we know him genuinely and risk loving others the way that he loves us. There are risks in loving others, but the potential for thriving only comes in community.
Following Jesus can be costly, and the risk involved can tempt us to avoid vulnerability and hide in a false identity. But when Jesus meets us in our brokenness and uncovers our self-deception, he prepares us for flourishing life.
Rather than focusing on our own often misplaced goals, Jesus calls us to act within the authority God gives us and the vulnerability that is inherent to our lives. Essentially, this surrender is an acknowledgement that Jesus is the Savior, but that he also calls us to serve and suffer with him for the sake of his kingdom.
God intends for us to thrive, but it can only be experienced in knowing him and his grace. This amazing grace establishes our new identity, and God’s truth reveals our vulnerability and helps us embrace fulfilling life in Christ together with the costs of following him.
If we want to evaluate ministry effectively and continue to improve it, we need to do it with the proper understanding of Jesus as the church’s owner and the mission Jesus defined for his people.
Feeling our pain rather than numbing it helps shift our perspective from ourselves to God, helps us be more honest with him and ourselves, and connects us to him as the giver of life.
Even though the hope of the gospel won’t remove pain and grief from the losses of life, realizing the limits of life and resting in God’s love allows us to process our losses and become bigger people through it.
Healthy grief begins with embracing reality and feeling the pain of loss, but it must also include giving up control and trusting the God who loves us and will provide hope and assurance in the midst of the pain when we let him.
Grieving is a necessity in a fallen world, but we should grieve for all of the right reasons. In three different instances Jesus shows us hindrances to good grief and then models how we ought to grieve.
Grief is a necessary process for all of us because loss is universal in a fallen world full of broken people. But God can make us better people by transforming us with the hope he offers in Jesus.
Jesus had no qualms about hanging out with “sinners” despite the pushback he received from the religious people in his day. Since he was more concerned with reconciling people to God than about how people perceived him, he was willing to wade into people’s messy lives even at personal cost to himself.