You take a deep breath and look across the crowd. The wave of uncertainty floods through you like the ripples in the nearby lake, but then kind eyes meet yours. An inviting smile, a nod. In a moment of recognition, he begins the conversation. And the stories come pouring out. His words blossom and burst into meaning and connection. And the understanding clicks into place behind your eyes. Jesus used story so we can understand with our hearts what we could not grasp with our minds. He gave us these parables to tell us that what we long for is coming true. He meets us where we are to invite us into his coming kingdom.
We can look ahead to the kingdom of God, to the water clear as crystal and the promise of no more night. We can long for what is not yet here, we can reach for a sense of belonging, and we can know that his kingdom is at hand. We grasp at the idea of already, but not yet. So what does that mean for us, now? We are imperfect people in an imperfect world, where only God can one day right every wrong. Still, there are needs—here, now, right where we are—that you and I are uniquely equipped to meet. And as we long for those around us to experience God’s grace, we do what we can to be an extension of his love as we serve our city.
Our vision is to form biblically functioning communities that reach lost people, connect in Christ-centered relationships, teach truth, serve others, and worship God. Vision is about answering the question: “Where are we going and how are we getting there?” This Vision Sunday, we will certainly look ahead to how we build meaningful service, ethnic and generational diversity, and new expressions of the church but that is not at the heart of this year’s Vision Sunday. The heart of this year’s Vision Sunday is the heart. It is a look inside—an opportunity to examine our motives and loyalties in front of a God whose highest call on our lives is to love him above all else.
The first apostles followed instructions left by Jesus: guided by the Holy Spirit, they were to be his architects that would help shape his kingdom on earth. They took this blueprint and built the early church—not a physical building but a movement—and these people began to turn the world upside down. Actions should align with priorities, and our priorities should align with what Jesus taught. So what are we going to build?
The minor prophets of old were familiar, extraordinary people. They were priests, farmers, servants, and royalty—used by God to speak to us and give guidance through timeless, human issues. God, invisible, became audible and apparent through these prophets. Through them, he placed his voice in the brimming expanse of their time. Because he speaks timeless words, his unmistakable voice is in our time, too, illustrating his heart for us.
We are called to live with a mindset, a fervor, and a purpose that are outpourings of our relationship with Christ. We are called to live a life that’s rare, but a life that comes naturally. When Jesus left earth, he didn’t leave us. He gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us through our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions so as we move through this world, we can live the life God created for us.
Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus ensured that every aspect of his entry would be intentional, enabled it to be inspirational, and accepted that, to some, it would be infuriating.
We want to be a community that lives what we have learned. From our friends and partners in Africa we have learned about the power of presence, the hope that comes from encouragement, and the relationships that can come from hospitality
Paul—sent by God—writes to break tension. He writes to set the tone for ministry in the early church, affirming the importance of inclusion without ignoring differences. He addresses the boundaries we create and what gets in the way of Jesus’ followers living out his teachings.
God is not done guiding our steps. These steps into the future will honor our previous chapters while turning new pages—and adding new meanings. Each new word on these pages will point toward Jesus’ teachings to seek and reach others.
As you move into a new year, do the work of discovering your truest name. Knowing our truest name will always be a struggle with God. Hearing our truest name will require that we first see who we are in light of who God is.
Light illuminates, reflects, exposes, and ignites—light fights the dark. We immerse ourselves in Jesus’ love because he is the life and light of mankind. We get to discover God’s glory through his son as we make sense of who we are. Jesus’ incarnation as a baby and sacrifice on the cross was always the plan. It was the plan for the sake of everyone. And it was the plan so that you and I could be fully us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses prayer, marriage, and the narrow gate. He describes the eternal impact of loving our enemies and giving to the needy. Jesus uses his words to paint a picture and set a standard for what living as we’re called to be ought to look like.
Our encounters with Jesus allow us the opportunity to face the risen Savior of the world, with our questions and hardships in hand, and trust that in him our needs are met, our fears are overcome, our hope is secured.
On his final day, Jesus was betrayed, taken, arrested, struck, ridiculed, scorned, crucified. He moved through unimaginable pain, willingly. And each unbearable step he took toward the cross, more of his glorious character was revealed. In walking toward darkness, Jesus would become eternal light. In taking on death, Jesus would conquer the grave. In his last breath, Jesus would rescue the world and death would forever lose its sting.
If Jesus is who he says he is, that has implications for each of us. It affects the way we relate to each other and to the world around us. But who did he say he is? When Jesus spoke of himself, he proclaimed to be the bread, the light, and the gate. In his owns words, Jesus is the the shepherd, the vine, and the resurrection. He is the way.
God came down at Christmas—not with a mystic flash of light or a trumpet heard ‘round the world. The God of the universe, in all his glory, broke through to humanity by becoming human. The Christmas story holds the stories of very real people—Mary and Joseph, the magi, Simeon and Anna, and the shepherds—who had their worlds forever changed by the birth of Jesus. Join us for God at First Sight as we see the impact of those encounters and what they mean for us.
There is a rhythm to our days, a cyclical nature to our lives, a pattern to our actions. We make room for what we decide matters—what we devote ourselves to. So, where and how do we fit God in? If our devotion brings God glory, what tools do we have to draw closer to him and reflect him better to the world around us?