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.

What Did You Get For Christmas?

December 29, 2019 • David Hammerslag

Christmas has come and gone. We may have overlooked the true value of God's gift of Love. God's gift of love through his Son has incredible value in its own right, but it is not meant for us to keep for ourselves. It is meant to transform us so that we can be transformed by it and love others with the same outrageous extravagant love given to us.

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!

The Supernatural & the Scent of Rain

December 22, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

The scent of rain and Advent itself are impossible to understand apart from the reality of the supernatural. Scent of rain doesn’t just happen — it is caused by Someone, caused supernaturally. Two supernatural aspects of the Jesus' birth narrative integral and normative to the Christian life are prophecy and angelic activity, and both them can bring the scent of rain. Once you start looking for it, the supernatural is almost impossible to miss in the Christmas story – it’s everywhere: dreams, words, angels, visions, prophecy.

The Girl Who Caught the Scent of Rain

December 15, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

Mary is the girl who caught the scent of rain. And she changed the world as a result. Before anyone else, she sees and announces Jesus’ mission. If any person ever fit the description of being the dangerous kind, Mary does; she’s dangerous because she knows the identity of her son and because she begins to tell his story—and no one is more dangerous than those who tell his story.

The Greatest Story of All

December 9, 2018 • Lindsay Elizabeth

Jesus is inviting us to leave condemnation behind and allow ourselves to be gathered up into His arms. He wants our lives, not just our hearts, because He has designed us to be carriers of His life and presence everywhere we go.

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 Scent of Rain in a Time of Famine

December 8, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

God’s whisper of promise is not given to those who are big, flashy, or impressive. The scent of rain comes to those in obscurity. It comes to those who are dead, dry, dying – a mere stump, a gnarled fist of brittle roots. For those in a time of famine, who feel like a gnarled fist of brittle roots, to whom God is sending the scent of rain but are struggling to believe, God’s starting to break through—know this: love is on the way!

The Scent of Rain

December 1, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

Only love can save us, and here’s the Good News of both the gospel and 2nd Coming: love is on the way! The things that will be fully experienced at the end of the age—intimate worship, peace, embracing God’s best life for us—these are appearing even now as the transforming love of Christ gets a hold of us. The message of the second advent and the first sing in harmony: people get ready—love is on the way, life is on the way, hope is on the way, help is on the way!

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.

He's Not A Tame Lion

November 24, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

The One described by Paul in Colossians 1:15-20 certainly sounds like a magnificent King who reigns over all things at all times. And He sounds suspiciously little like the Jesus we talk about because, well, the Jesus we talk about generally sounds more like us than the Jesus the Bible knows. Who is Jesus, really, and why would anyone give up everything to follow a Jesus who’s just a slightly elevated version of us and our personal desires, projections, and convictions?

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.

Jesus Is The Seventh Man

November 17, 2019 • Lindsay Elizabeth

Are you lacking...something? Much of humanity lives with this internal sense that something about their life is incomplete. God created this world and He created us. When the created is not connected to the Creator there is something missing. The more we seek to fill that sense of lack or deficiency with relationships and things, the more the feeling perpetuates. Jesus is complete--He is full, He lacks nothing, He has no deficiency. He's what we've been looking for!

How Does It Look to You?

November 10, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

We need to stop complaining about and cursing the place of our assignment. Instead, we need to get God’s perspective on our present assignment and circumstances. How do we know that the place we’re at isn’t in fact a gate of heaven? We cannot trust our own eyes or perceptions. This is why God asks, “How does it look to you?” It is an invitation to look again, from heaven’s point of view. We don't know what we think we know! God’s estimate of things is very different from ours.

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 Night I Had a Beer with Elvis

And Why Zacchaeus Could Relate • November 3, 2019 • Graeme Sellers

In the New Testament lost does not mean damned or doomed. It simply means in the wrong place. This is what happens with Zacchaeus, whose name means “righteous one” or “pure.” The chief tax collector was not living up to his name. He was in the wrong place, not aligned with his true name or identity. But when Jesus finds him, Zacchaeus goes from being in the wrong place to being in the right place: a son in the household and the family of his Father.

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.

From Pharisee to Tax Collector

October 27, 2019 • David Hammerslag

It is the state of our souls, not our words or actions that justify us before God, and in Jesus' famous parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, the Pharisee’s central problem is that he does not know his own heart. He trusts in his own righteousness and is too easily critical of others. How do we know ourselves truly? We can only really know ourselves in community. But as long as we don't risk relationship, we can sell ourselves all kinds of false ideas of what we're really like while ignoring the magnitude of our narcissism.