Upside Down Kingdom
Clothed with Christ • December 30, 2018 • Dirk Duhlstine
God says: 1. If you want to be great… be a servant 2. To find yourself…you must die to yourself 3. To get back at your enemy…you should love him 4. To become rich… give money away God's kingdom is an upside down kingdom! When we clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love…which is clothing ourselves with the person and nature of Christ...we’re clothing ourselves for battle.
Words Create Worlds
December 23, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
Our words create worlds. The words we speak shape and create world we live in. Words have always created worlds. It’s true. How was our world made? Words. Ten times in the creation account of Genesis 1 we read this: “And God said…” Their impact is captured in Genesis 2:1 “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” Gen. 1:28 reports that we are made in God’s image, so why should it surprise us that our words have creative power as well? God would urge us to listen to ourselves, to pay attention to the words we speak and the worlds they create.
What's the Point?
December 16, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
What’s the point of this – the Sunday morning church gathering that is, for many of us, a regular part of our lives? What if the point isn’t what we think it is, or is more than we imagined it is? God isn’t afraid of honest inquiry or the fierce conversation, and the answers to this question may surprise and delight us!
Let Me Tell You a Story
December 2, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
This Bible is not an advanced ethics textbook. It is not a rule book for religious people. It is not a compendium of philosophy and life principles. Rather, it is our family history. Within its pages we learn about our Father and what it means that we are His sons and daughters. Within its pages the truth begins to dawn us: our life story only makes sense in God’s story. That’s why everything we’ve pursued that wasn’t Him ultimately left us empty and disappointed. It’s this story, his story, that tells us we belong. And belonging—as sons and daughters—is what sets apart followers of Jesus.
The Secret of Life
November 25, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
The foundational philosophical conviction of the entire New Testament is this: if we will come into an understanding about Jesus Christ —who he is and what he has achieved — everything else will fall into place. Science has its place, politics has its place, material possessions have their place—but that place is not first place. So we are directed to Truth – not as a concept, but as a Person who is the center and starting point for all things. The world’s blindness is this: the belief that something more or other than Jesus will result in full satisfaction.
At the Scent of Rain
November 18, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
This is what hope and encouragement from the Lord do: they fall like rain on those who feel it is useless and too late and all over. And so the scent of rain comes to those who are dead, dry, dying – a mere stump, a gnarled fist of brittle roots. So it comes to Hannah, dead in the womb, dead in heart, dead in her hope. So it comes to all of us who fear we’ve been overlooked, undone, and left to decay. The scent of rain can come in the unlikeliest times and from the unlikeliest people.
Fighting the Fear That You Won’t Have Enough
November 11, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
Some of us find ourselves in an extremely narrow place, a place so thin we can’t quite see how we’re going to make it through. That’s hard enough. But when it seems like it’s been that way forever and will always be that way, then we’re in real trouble. Because then we have come under the domination of the spirit of poverty. Spirit of poverty isn’t the state of not having enough; it’s the fear that you won’t have enough. Ever. As believers we've been given tools to fight and defeat this fear.
Love Is a Declaration of War
November 4, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
When God identifies the absolute most important thing in all the world, love’s where he lands. 1 Corinthians 13:13 “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” Love. Miss it and nothing else we’ve gotten matters Of course, there will always be someone objecting, “There’s more to it than love. There’s got to be more.” Probably so. Certainly so. There is something more. But there is nothing better. Most of our problems can be traced back to this: we inevitably go for the something more before being established in the nothing better—and then we wonder why our life seems so dry and exhausting.
The Man Who Knew What His Problem Was
October 28, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
The raucous crowd on the road to Jerusalem with Jesus hear blind Bartimaeus cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Contrast this with James & John’s request for the places of highest honor. They promote their own worthiness for glory, but Bartimaeus recognizes his need. Unlike the Sons of Thunder, he knows what his problem is. God’s upside-down kingdom needs inside-out people. The kingdom needs people who will turn themselves "inside-out" by being their unvarnished, unfiltered, genuine selves, not only with their brothers and sisters but also with God.
The Upside Down Kingdom
October 21, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
Jesus invites us into the good life: into an existence drenched with the goodness of the Father. However, this does not equate to a life of unending success and personal satisfaction. For those who follow him he predicts family conflict, fractured friendships, false accusations, costly obedience, and death. But for all that, the life he offers is good, for it is centered in the very heart of God and filled with God's superabundant love. Jesus’ way turns the values of the world upside down. He rejects the very things we’re trained and instinctively geared to want: prestige, power, and position.
Tithe & See
October 14, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
In Mark 10:17-31, Jesus speak of wealth. His is not an anti-money teaching, though it might seem to be at first glance. Rather it is an examination of money’s mega-hold on us, with the upshot being this: the more of it we have the stronger its hold on us. The Bible offers us a prescription for breaking money’s mega-hold, though it’s not a popular one: tithing. Some fear preaching about money—is it too offensive?—but we love it for we have discovered this: • God’s promises regarding tithing are unprecedented • So many of us are in bondage! When Father’s heart is expressed in this area, people get set free There are many reasons Christians don’t tithe, including: • Some of us don’t know we’re supposed to • Some of us don’t believe we can afford to • Some think we don’t have to because we’re under grace, not the Law
A Walking Resurrection
October 7, 2018 • Lindsay Elizabeth
What do we do when God delays? Do we allow life and disappointment and pain to dictate what we believe? How does Jesus respond to our pain? Do we believe in the Jesus who not only saves our souls but who also wants to enter into our today and transform the dead places in our lives with His resurrection power? Will we let Jesus roll the stone away from our tombs? We explore these questions in John 11:17-44 with an in-depth look at the story of Lazarus. In this story, the sisters of Lazarus face the reality that while they believe Jesus could have stopped the death of their brother, they do not believe that He can change the death. Jesus shows us that resurrection is not an event, it is a person.
A House of Healing
September 30, 2018 • Graeme Sellers & Dave Bishop
We—the Church—are to be a house of healing: physically, emotionally, spiritually. Jesus came to bring healing at every level of our being, as Luke makes clear in Acts 10:38. “[You know] how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and curing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil, because God was with Him.” (HCSB) This healing ministry is central to gospel, not a side issue. Unfortunately, it has been anything but central in many of our churches. How can this vital ministry of Christ be recovered and experienced today? Listen and find out!
The Mind That’s Set
September 23, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
The war over your life? At its core it’s a battle to determine who’s going to control your thoughts. The psalmist indicates a straightforward battle plan in Psalm 1:2-3. “But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Left to our own instincts, and with the encouragement of our highly rational culture, even seasoned believers will default to thinking pragmatically and practically, leaning on natural wisdom instead of a kingdom mindset.
He Will Come and Save You
September 9, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
Don’t confuse life with God. Life is unfair. God is not. As free creatures in a fallen world, the choices we and others make will have consequences, some of them disastrous. The reality is, bad things happen to good people because life is not fair. But this is also reality: God is generous when life is unfair. As Paul notes in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God is constantly redeeming the things we give up as lost and hopeless.
Jesus, the Taxidermist, & the Veterinarian
September 2, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
When it comes to the Law as given by God to Israel, we’re not sure what to do with it. Some believe it’s God’s way of making sure we don’t have any fun: rules, rules, rules! We wonder: does it have any viability or application now that Jesus is on the scene? Bottom line: the Law is God’s kindness made plain and graspable; it tells us here’s what will keep you safe and alive and free. But all religious rules are not equal. The Law is lovely, Jesus shows us, but human religious rules are the stench of death. Thus Paul warns: don’t let anyone put the chains of legalism on you and cancel your liberty in Christ. We must not allow ourselves to be taken down this road of slavery and deception. Most of us have encountered legalism–rules for real Christians to follow–and the pressure to perform, and felt killing weight of it. Jesus would tell us—none of it’s from me.
Luckier Than Before
August 26, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
When it comes to prayer, we don’t know how or – if we're honest – whether it works. Archbishop William Temple once remarked, “When I pray, coincidences happen; and when I don’t, they don’t.” This brings to mind the great golfer who, when someone accused him of being lucky, agreed, but commented that he’d noticed that the more he practiced the luckier he got. Similarly, the more we pray, the luckier we get. Lucky in the sense Eugene Peterson uses the word: “lucky with holy luck,” which is a way of describing blessing. Prayer makes us luckier than before—it invites and invokes the purposeful presence of God.
The Heart of Things
August 19, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
Most who know the story in 1 Kings 3:3-14, if asked what Solomon requested from God, would answer, “Wisdom.” The Hebrew word for wisdom is ḥokmâ; it or a variation of it occurs more than 200X in OT. But that word does not appear in this passage. The 1 Kings text does not record that Solomon asked for wisdom. So when the NLT, for example, renders v. 10 “The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom,” it’s more an interpretation than a translation, and not an especially helpful one at that. Because what the Hebrew says in verse 10 is “it pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.” The question, then, is: what is the “this” v. 10 refers to? What did Solomon really ask for? Answer: Solomon asked for a hearing heart. What a powerful, evocative picture this conjures for the reader! The heart in Hebrew culture is made for more than Hallmark moments, has whole of the person in view...
God Always Makes the First Move
August 12, 2018 • Graeme Sellers
The Jewish religious leaders habitually complain about Jesus—what he says, what he does—because they are looking for the kind of Messiah who will give them what they want. But Jesus explains in John 6:35ff that this isn’t how God’s program of salvation and kingdom life is organized. The whole thing operates on his desire and initiative, not ours. God always makes the first move. He makes this clear when he says in v. 44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me.” Father and Son are in complete unity in their wooing, loving, and inviting. Just as no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him, so also “No one can come to the Father except through Me.” [John 14:6b]