(pt. -1) STARTING OVER @ JESUS: A CULTURE OF REINVENTION 0️⃣ ? ?

UntitledWE LIVE IN A CULTURE OF REINVENTION.

We love watching people trying to erase their past in hopes of constructing a brand new identity. We watch The Bachelor (new love), Extreme Makeover (new look/lifestyle), The Voice (new dream), Breaking Bad (new career, sans rules), Shark Tank (new wealth). We carefully curate a more idealized persona on social media. We switch careers/lovers/looks/friends/churches on a whim. Each time we do, it’s an opportunity to for us to reinvent ourselves.

The idea of reinventing yourself is powerful and attractive. It’s exciting. There’s a sense of movement to our lives when we think of not being bound to the past anymore and having the promise of starting over.

Jesus came so you could start over. His life, death and resurrection is God’s way of making possible the reinvention of the human soul. Not through ourselves, but through Him. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come?” [2 Cor. 5:17]. Today with so many possibilities to reinvent ourselves in so many key areas of our lives, why do we need Jesus anymore? He didn’t promise us a new look or career or bank account.

Perhaps it’s because the reinvention of your soul is the single most important area of your life that needs to start over. Your soul controls your thoughts, your motivations, your actions – it is the source of your life, both here and in eternity. Jesus’ reinvents us through his life coming into our life. Not through a program to make us into a new person, but through the Holy Spirit living through us to make us right and new before God.

 

START OVER: GOD’S MESSAGE TO YOU ✞ ?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“START OVER” ARE THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT WORDS GOD WANTS YOU TO HEAR.

Not everyone believes that.

Some do.

For those of us who do, we’ve seen the effects of our own sin darken our souls and wreck relationships. We have endured evil thrust upon us by circumstances beyond our control. We are concerned about what we see happening in culture, and for that matter the future of our country and world. We have come to the point where we have lost hope in the voices around us (or within us) that say, “You’re fine.”

The reality is that God’s words “start over” aren’t for those who define their lives by the words “I’m fine.” Jesus Christ did not come to us in human flesh, die on a cross and then rise from the dead for those who feel they’re fine on their own with how things are and where things are headed.

Starting over is also a much better two-word alternative to “I’m stuck”. Sometimes it’s not about fighting harder in the same direction. It’s about being willing to go back to the beginning. The bible says,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]

YOU ARE INVITED TO START OVER WITH GOD AND WITH OTHERS. On Sunday, March 20th and 27th we all start over. Come join us for the launch of a new community called “the church” and hear God’s two most important words to you.

www.citybible.church

 

MAKING DISCIPLES (pt.7): SUCCESSFULLY MISSING? ? ? ✞

IMG_8277RE: MAKING DISCIPLES, ARE WE SUCCESSFULLY MISSING?

There are many, many things that Christians can succeed at:

> We can succeed at becoming good servants of other people in church.

> We can succeed at helping the poor through short-term missions trips abroad.

> We can succeed at studying the bible and quoting smart theologians.

> We can succeed at living holy lives.

> We can succeed at bringing the best dish to the Sun. potluck.

> We can succeed at raising happy children.

> We can succeed at voicing our concerns over the political and moral future of America.

> We can succeed at finding new friends at church to fellowship with.

> We can succeed at becoming a more prayerful people.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

But are we succeeding at making disciples? With the people right in front of us in the place where we live? Or are we succeeding in the other areas of the faith while missing our main mission? How many of us know people that would name us as the person who brought them to Jesus Christ and was pivotal in them becoming a disciple?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28:19,20]

 

MAKING DISCIPLES (pt.6): THE WORD “NECESSARY” ? ? ✞

IMG_8182THE GUY NEXT TO ME WAS 2/3 RIGHT.

As I sat down at a wedding ceremony, he said,

“I hear you guys are starting a church. That sounds exciting and scary.”

He was right. It’s both.

I said,

“…but there’s another (maybe more important) word I would add to that. The word “necessary”.

5 min. later, he said he was still trying to wrap his mind around why I said the word “necessary” in describing the urgency of planting a church to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do we believe “necessary” is the final 1/3 of “exciting” and “scary”?

 

MAKING DISCIPLES (pt.4): FROM DEATH TO LIFE ?? ? ? ? ✞

down-for-the-count_1“DOWN-FOR-THE-COUNT” WAS HIS ART PIECE IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE NIGHT HE ALMOST KILLED A MAN WITH HIS BARE FISTS.

The night we met Gilbert, he celebrated death.

Today, he celebrates life.

 

 

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As he gave his testimony during the worship service, he shared about his violent past and the stronghold of evil that gripped his life while growing up in San Bernardino and working in downtown Long Beach. The dozens of stories he can tell you are so filled with mayhem that any one of them could have been his undoing. He shared a verse written by the Apostle Paul, who himself was a man of violence, but was saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” [1 Timothy 1:12-16]

Gilbert went from death to life when he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. Today, he no longer uses art to celebrate death. Instead, he uses it as an instrument to glorify God in the church and reach others for the advancing of God’s kingdom. He’s an inspiration. He’s a brother. He reminds us that Jesus’ death on the cross gives us spiritual life to share with others.

 

MAKING DISCIPLES (pt. 3): EVERYONE IS MAKING DISCIPLES ?

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 9.54.07 AMEVERYONE IS MAKING DISCIPLES.

> social media is making you a screen disciple

> fox news/msnbc are making you a political disciple

> greenpeace is making you an environmental disciple

> glee made you a human rights disciple

> tavi gevinson is making you a fashion disciple

> professional athletes are making you a sports disciple

> republican/democratic candidates are making you an empire building disciple

> Oprah is making you a postmodern disciple

> ISIS is wanting to make you a radical disciple

> Kanye is making you an entertainment disciple

> porn is making you an enslaved disciple

Is the church making disciples w/the same urgency?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28:19,20]