The Norm

The Norm: Part 5

Sharing Your Story • April 9, 2017 • Mike Ashcraft

We’re called to share our story, not deliver a sales pitch. Talking about the Gospel isn’t laying out a marketing scheme aimed to get individuals to sign their name on the dotted line. People aren’t projects so we can’t treat them as one. The relationships we have with others shouldn’t have an agenda. Our responsibility is to help and love others, not fix them. We are to plant the seeds and trust God with the work. This begins by expressing what He has done in our own lives and pointing to the hope that we have found in Christ. People should look at our lives and wonder why we are hopeful. True change causes people to take notice of God working in our life.

The Norm: Part 4

April 2, 2017 • Tony Ferraro

We treat our life’s calling as this mysterious, almost unsolvable, code that we are attempting to crack. In some twisted version of Let’s Make A Deal we are hoping to choose the right door that leads us to clarity, significance and impact. The pressure to find our life’s purpose leaves many of us paralyzed. So, how does one figure out what is next without letting the ‘oughts’ and ‘ifs’ to cause them to remain idle? It begins by understanding God is far less concerned with WHAT we do and more focused on WHY we do it. Our ministry isn’t about what we DO but who we ARE. Ministry is when our life intersects with someone else’s needs and God moves through us. The most powerful tool God has given us for His mission is our story. Great stories are told through faith, obedience, sacrifice and being present in every situation. The most important moment in our life is the one we are living right now.

The Norm: Part 3

Normally Important • March 26, 2017 • Mike Ashcraft

We add on requirements to walking with God. We allow our biases to cloud our judgment. We make our personal preferences the “end all, be all” in regards to what a Christian should look like. We confuse opinions for truth and preferences for law. We attempt to understand Jesus through the lens of our hang ups. Instead, we should process our hang ups through the lens of our relationship with Christ. The context of this relationship changes how we think about everything else. When we come to Jesus, everything changes.

The Norm: Part 2

What Makes Normal • March 19, 2017 • Mike Ashcraft

If the Gospel offers freedom, it implies we’re trapped. If the Gospel provides reconciliation, it sheds light on something being separated. If the Gospel gives us life, it means without it we are walking dead. The implications of these truths are staggering. Our reaction to these statements is often pride, guilt, shame, indifference or a feeble attempt to control. We attempt to make things right by our own effort. Then we encounter the message of Christ’s forgiveness and love. The same hope is offered to us all. Everyone gets made right the same way. However, our unique story influences the way we encounter and are drawn to the Gospel. The same message, a different experience. So, what does the Gospel mean to you? How has an encounter with Christ’s love shaped your own story? What are you going to do about what Christ has done? When you find these answers and are able to articulate them it frees you to see your story as a part of God’s story.

The Norm: Part 1

Normal Ain't Normal • March 12, 2017 • Mike Ashcraft

At one point or another our eyes were opened to the fact that we live in a broken world. Even in our own heart, we’ve wrestled with our personal brokenness. We might not know what is wrong but we realize something isn’t right. When something isn’t right our tendency is to deny, pretend or justify. As we look at the distance sin caused, we ask God to meet us in the middle. We attempt to earn our way back to Him yet, no amount of good behavior is going to make us right. Without Christ, there would be no hope. Instead of coming to an agreement based on our behavior, God made a way for us to have a relationship without condition. Jesus died and rose to destroy what separated us from life. Yet, these truths hold little weight and even less power if they don’t transform our lives. Colliding with God’s grace should change everything about us. Over time, our lives should look different. Our transformed hearts speak volumes to those looking for the same hope. When we share our story with others we share the Gospel at the same time.