Start With Jesus

“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Matthew 3:16-17

John the Baptist, who was in prison,… sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
Matthew 11:2-3

  1. Experiencing doubt is a normal part of faith
  2. Asking questions is the surest way to find answers
  3. We need people who walk with us through these times

Knowing WHAT you believe is good.
Knowing WHY you believe is better.

Why is it so important for us to watch out for how we treat others?
We never realize how our small actions affect the faith of those around us.

START WITH JESUS.

What I found…

What would the world look like if we all lived like that?

The church has done a lot of good.

The way Jesus taught us to live is the best way to live.

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic…or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

C.S. Lewis

Did Jesus Exist?

Did He claim to be The Messiah/God/Son of God?

Did He rise from the dead?

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:3-5

“What is certain is that the earliest followers of Jesus believed that Jesus had come back to life, in the body, and that this was a body that had real bodily characteristics: It could be seen and touched, and it had a voice that could be heard.”

Bart Ehrman

 If Jesus is who He says He is, it changes everything.

Making of the Bible – Tim Mackie Video

Settling The Big Questions

1 Peter 3:15-16

If God is omniscient, He always knows how to do what’s best.
If God is all-loving, He always wants to do what’s best.
And if God is omnipotent, He is always able to do what’s best.

If I settle those 3 big things, the little questions don’t matter.

We struggle believing because there is evil in the world and God isn’t handling it the way we would.

If I don’t believe something simply because I don’t understand it, I am saying there can be nothing in the universe greater than what I can comprehend. And I know that is not true. It is that inherent knowledge that is the seed of faith. It’s not what you can deduce or figure out nor what you can sense with your body. That’s why God gave us a seed of faith, to help us believe beyond the limitations of our mind and body!

And God gave us His Word to help us in that pursuit, that journey of faith to believe, understand, reach what we cannot reach with our mind or body!

He is omniscienceHebrews 4:13, Isaiah 55:8-9, 40:28, Psalm 139:4, 147:5, Romans 11:33, Colossians 2:2-3, 1 John 3:20, Jeremiah 1:5, Job 37:16

He is all-lovingJohn 3:16, 15:13, Romans 5:8, Psalm 103:11, 136:26, James 1:17, Ephesians 2:4, 1 John 3:1, 4:8-9, Jeremiah 31:3– He gave His Son to die for people that reject Him, ignore Him, curse Him and deny Him. End of story.

He is omnipotent Mark 10:27, Ephesians 3:20, Jeremiah 32:17, 27, Genesis 18:14, Romans 4:21, Job 42:2, Daniel 4:35, Isaiah 55:11 – He created everything that is!

Why doesn’t He zap every evil immediately – as I probably would if I were God?

Grace is messy!


Proverbs 6:16-19

God hates when we act evil, when we plot evil, or murder the innocent, or give false testimonies or reports. God also hates lies. God hates a person who stirs up conflict! And He hates when we deem ourselves better than someone else.

Jesus teaches love, selfless sacrifice, humility, kindness, grace and mercy.


HERE IS THE DIFFERENCE — AND THE POINT:

  • Evil doesn’t begin with Jesus!
  • He doesn’t produce evil, or act it out.
  • Jesus is the enemy of evil!
  • He speaks against evil, teaches against evil, commands to shun evil, stood against evil, lived without evil, died to deliver us from evil, and upon repentance He even forgives evil!

2 Peter 3:9

Easter Message

Over 12K times a day someone searches for “Jesus Christ” on Google!
That’s about 4½M every year!

But there’s a problem with the cross
– It makes us sad
– It can make us feel guilty
– It can be confusing

THE REASON FOR THE CROSS is forgiveness!
Easter is about life that begins – after Jesus!

Today, let’s not skip the cross!

Luke 9:21-22

Skipping the cross

All the disciples ran and left Jesus behind – Mark 14:50

Judas sold Jesus out – Mark 14:10-11

Simon Peter denied Jesus – Mark 14:66-72

The crowds turned on Jesus
One Sunday they are giving Jesus a parade (Mark 11:7-10)
Five days later they are demanding He be put to death (Mark 15:9-14)!

I really hope to call us back to our first steps!

You’re in the best place when you realize there is only One who knows everything and it ain’t you!

Nothing Is Impossible

Value everyone, try anything and believe that nothing is impossible with God!

Mark 9:23, 10:27

Our world isn’t interested in Christians that know it all. Our world is desperate for believers that actually believe in the power of God!

People who are struggling, losing their marriage, home, job, kids, etc. don’t just need another friend. They do need a friend that knows all things are possible in Jesus!

We absolutely must make up our mind what we believe!

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, displayed the power to heal and work miracles, then promised to send that power back to us!

Sometimes the difference is in what is allowed. Matthew 13:58

Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith. Unbelief is the opposite of faith.

Alisa Childers

Faith isn’t having no doubts. It is often believing in spite of the doubts.

Hebrews 11:1, Mark 9:24

We believe anything is possible! Forgiveness, reconciliation, unity, peace, justice, mercy, hope, healing…

JESUS DIED FOR OUR IMPOSSIBILITIES
Of course, the biggest impossibility was forgiving our sin so we can be reconciled to Him and receive eternal life. But once that was done, it opened up possibilities into all my impossibilities.

Do Anything

WHAT DID JESUS DO TO REACH YOU?
HE REFUSED TO LET ANYTHING STAND IN HIS WAY

 Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus’ whole life was an example of the extremes He wants us to go to to reach people.

Jesus was willing to DO ANYTHING to reach someone.
And I believe He wants a church that will be willing to DO ANYTHING to reach someone.

  • “We’ll do anything short of sin to reach someone.” – Craig Groschel

There are ways of doing church that no one’s thought of yet,  … The problem is that at some point most of us stop creating the future and start repeating the past and we get comfortable. Well, tell me the last time you were uncomfortable and I’ll tell you the last time you grew.

MARK BATTERSON

If we’re going to be a church that is willing to try anything, we have to be those people.
To reach people no one else is reaching, WE/I must do what no one else is doing.

MATTHEW 25
– KEEP THE FIRE BURNING
– KEEP TRUSTING GOD
– KEEP LOVING PEOPLE


WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE?

  • A willing heart
  • Open eyes
  • Positive attitude
  • Fresh ideas
  • Reckless love
  • Bold steps

VALUE EVERYONE

When we get distracted, we begin to value the wrong things.

PSALM 139:13-14

1 JOHN 3:1

When we get distracted, we begin to find our value in the wrong places.

Where do you find value? 1 Timothy 6 

Jesus VALUES you more than anyone ever has or ever will
– NO MATTER WHAT.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

We want our church to be…
A CHURCH WHERE EVERYONE HAS VALUE.

  • Making people feel welcome
  • Showing people the love Jesus has for them
  • Let them know they have purpose and help them live it out

That’s the kind of church I want to be a part of.

A church that carries out Jesus’ mission: Luke 4:18

  • Jesus saw value in those the world had written off.

“What did Jesus know that enabled Him to do what He did? Here’s part of the answer: He knew the value of people. He knew that each human being is a treasure. And because He did, people were not a source of stress, but a source of joy.”

Max Lucado

 A CHURCH THAT VALUES PEOPLE IS MADE OF PEOPLE WHO VALUE PEOPLE. 

  • A church isn’t a building, or a list of beliefs, or a mission statement.

WHO DO YOU VALUE?

  • Who do you make time for?
  • Who have you written off?

   SHOWING SOMEONE THAT THEY HAVE VALUE
  IS THE FIRST STEP IN CHANGING THE WORLD. 

Matthew 4:18-22

This Is Our Church

Galatians 6:9

Luke 13:1-9

This Is the Year – one more year, as in the verses above, one more chance. But what will be different about this year?


Our purpose is not to look good, or sound good, but to produce fruit!

The most important thing a Christian can do is introduce someone new to Jesus!


What will be different this year for 29:11?

What will be different this year for you individually?

“My fruit grows on other people’s trees.”

Bob Buford

Fruit has two purposes:

1. Fruit provides nourishment, is a blessing, to others around the tree

This Is the Year to answer the question, “What are you going to do about that passion God put in your heart?”

2. Fruit creates new trees!

Before the seed can create a new plant, the fruit dies.

Galatians 6:1-10

This Is the Year we Pivot

I believe there is a greater gulf between the church and the average unchurched American than there has ever been before. Ever.

And today, nearly a year into this pandemic, I believe many churches and Christians are:
…standing in the same place they were a year ago – great, if it is the right stance!
…sharing the same message as a year ago – awesome, if it’s the right message!
…sharing it in the same way as a year ago – and that’s where the problem is.

We need to pivot! Not change our stance or message, but the direction or way we share it.

But first we must consistently check a couple things: Is our stance Jesus’ stance? Is our message Jesus’ message?

We can’t afford to major on the minors. Matthew 23:24

On some level you have to believe God is involved in leading you to a local church body, your spiritual family. Don’t just embrace the friendships, but the wisdom and instruction too!

The basis to begin with as our stance & message is John 3:16-17.
– God loves us so much,
– He chose to send His Son to die for our sin,
– Faith in Him is all it takes for salvation,
– Condemnation is not part of God’s plan,
– God wants to save the whole world!

Our stance is a balance of grace and truth.

Our message is Jesus as our salvation!

How do we pivot? What does that look like? What is going to work?
– Alternative ministries
– Lifestyle evangelism, think long-term
– Listening to people’s heart not just their anger
– Keeping the focus on Jesus, not on proving you are right
– Maintaining a balance of truth and grace.

If there is no truth then there’s no need for grace.
If there is no grace then there’s no need for truth.

This Is the Year of Purpose

Resolutions are usually about what we do, like with our hands.
Real change begins in the heart.
Those things we settle in our heart are the real deal!


Matthew 3:1-8

HOW WAS JOHN SO CERTAIN OF HIS PURPOSE, HIS CALLING?

For one, his parents knew – and they told him. Luke 1:13-17, 76-79

If you have Godly parents or grandparents, listen to them!

But John also had to know for himself.

1. He received His understanding of his life purpose from God,

2. confirmed by Godly people in his life, and

3. then, and only then, determined how to walk that out


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO KNOW YOUR PURPOSE?

1. When you don’t know your purpose, anything and everything is a potential distraction, detour or dead end!

2. When you know your calling, nothing can stop you from fulfilling it!

3. Only people with purpose make a real difference!

KNOWING YOUR PURPOSE ISN’T ENOUGH
Do. Act. Commit. Consistently.
Lives are at stake. Families are struggling. Eternity is in the balance.
Some people use their “purpose search” as an excuse to not move on.

DID JOHN EVER DOUBT HIS PURPOSE?

Sure. And when he doubted, he went to the source of his calling! And Jesus answered his doubts! Matthew 11:2-5


HOW DO I KNOW AND BEGIN TO FULFILL MY PURPOSE?

  • Ask!
  • Expect confirmation!
  • Do what you know!