God Invites Us to Go Lower and Lower

October 20, 2011

 

Throughout the Book of Acts, we see very clear illustrations of Jesus’ disciples taking the path of humility as they live out their mission of bringing the Gospel message to the world.

This week, we explore the passage that describes the first of many acts of great humility lived out by Saul- aka the Apostle Paul.

After he had recovered from his glorious and supernatural encounter with Jesus, Paul immediately went public with his newfound revelation that Jesus is the Christ.  For some time, he was able to freely communicate in Damascus, and led many people to Jesus.

However, when his opponents could take it no more, they set up a plot to kill him. They closely watched every entrance to the City to block his escape.

That’s when Paul was lowered over the wall of the City in the dark of night in a basket.

Before meeting Jesus, Paul’s life was about earning honor and accolades.  But after meeting Jesus, he would learn how to go lower and lower. 

As we seek to follow Jesus more fully, we come to the recognition that we must each go lower and lower.  The things we previously thought were beneath us become more and more commonplace as we shift our expectation and commitment from living for us to living for Jesus.

A generation before, John the Baptist had made this proclamation in reference to Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease”.   Through the pages of the Book of Acts, Paul and the rest of the early disciples lived out this truth in living color. We have the opportunity to do the same.

Join us at 5 PM on Sunday as we meet in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff and share a message called “God Invites Us to Go Lower and Lower” based on Acts 9:23-25.

By the way, the setting of today’s message is the wall around Damascus, Syria.  Above is a photograph of the wall as it appears today.

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If God calls you “Qualified”, then you are Qualified!

October 15, 2011

 

Throughout history God has surprised many of us by calling us “Qualified” to do things we didn’t particularly feel qualified to do.

This is easy to see in the case of Saul, aka the Apostle Paul.

Before meeting Jesus, Saul’s life goal was to persecute and kill Christians.  His passion was to snuff out the church.

But when Jesus appeared to Saul, in a moment he turned his life around.  In the passage we are studying this week, we see that Saul’s  response to his calling as a Christian evangelist was to “immediately” proclaim Jesus in a very public way.

What can we learn from this part of the story of the early church?

1)  Jesus turns his enemies into friends.
2)  Being qualified by God is a measure of grace, and not anything else.
3)  In God’s economy, nothing in our lives is wasted.  God can even use our mistakes to advance the mission of love and reconciliation.

Join us at 5 PM on Sunday as we meet in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff and share a message called If God calls you ‘Qualified’, then you are Qualified! based on Acts 9:19-22.


Forgiveness

October 4, 2011

 

One of the most difficult things in life is to forgive.  And yet it also the most freeing. 

Please join us this Sunday as we hear from Gary Heese about the topic of Forgiveness.

Gary will be sharing from this challenging passage–Ephesians 4:31-32, which says:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Join us at 5 PM on Sunday as we meet in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff and share a message from Gary Heese on Forgiveness.

By the way, Gary Heese serves on staff at a nearby Vineyard church with duties in the areas of Pastoral Care/Prayer Pastor.  For more about Gary, take a look at the Vineyard Kansas City website.


God extends love to our enemies…then asks us to do the same

October 2, 2011

 

How does God feel about our enemies?

You could hardly find a more violent enemy that Saul was to the early church.  Not only did he join in with the persecution and murder of Christians, he also hunted them down in other cities for the purpose of attacking them.

But something happened to Saul on the road to Damascus in the hunt for Christians.

Jesus encountered Saul in the form of a bright light and told Saul that he was now going to work for Him.  The light also happened to knock Saul down and blind him.

And then, Annanias, a faithful disciple of Jesus in Damascus, was asked to go and pray for Saul so that his sight could be restored.

After some struggle, Annanias went and prayed for Saul, a great enemy of the church!

Again and again, Jesus asks Christians to pray for and love our enemies.  We never know what will happen.  Sometimes, we may have the opportunity to join in with a divine reconciliation!  Just like Annanis did with Saul.

Who are your enemies?  Who opposes you?  What if we ask God to show us His divine plan to love them?  And then what if we pray for them along those lines?  And then what if God asks us to be part of the piece of love that brings reconcilation?  Just like Annanias was.

Check it out ahead of time at  Acts 9:1-19.

Come and join us on Sunday at 5 PM as we CONNECT in shared space at 5413 Blue Ridge Cutoff, as we share a Sermon called “God extends love to our enemies…then asks us to do the same”.