Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Message is for Monday” #StayTrue

The book of Galatians is one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel in the scriptures. God redeems people irregardless of their “lostness” through trust in Jesus Christ. Mercy undeserved; matchless favor for the broken. This is the glory of God’s grace. Galatians is both a letter to a church and a glimpse into their story. A people who’ve received Christ’s grace are at a crossroads in their own trust in Him. Though they’ve discovered redemption in Jesus, they face the pressure to conform to someone else’s expression of that faith. And the Apostle Paul writes to them to stay true to what the Gospel is all about: Hope comes from trusting Jesus, not what we can earn by performance or achievement. Salvation is a gift. And this gift is meant to change us. This series is all about staying true. And we are going to dive into this book in the effort to draw from it’s depths in order to stay true to Jesus.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Salvation is more than an “escape” from hell—it includes the process of daily being made more like Jesus.
  • Being “in Christ” means:
    1.Our identity in Christ.
    2.Our imitation of Christ.
    3.Our participation with Christ.
  • Other people are not a threat to you being recognized and loved by Jesus.
  • Christ-followers are not rivals to compete for a prize but participants in a common life of following Jesus.
  • Being “in Christ” means that every resource that was available to Jesus is available to you.
  • Don’t give into what you face; press into what you possess.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Law-less” #StayTrue

The book of Galatians is one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel in the scriptures. God redeems people irregardless of their “lostness” through trust in Jesus Christ. Mercy undeserved; matchless favor for the broken. This is the glory of God’s grace. Galatians is both a letter to a church and a glimpse into their story. A people who’ve received Christ’s grace are at a crossroads in their own trust in Him. Though they’ve discovered redemption in Jesus, they face the pressure to conform to someone else’s expression of that faith. And the Apostle Paul writes to them to stay true to what the Gospel is all about: Hope comes from trusting Jesus, not what we can earn by performance or achievement. Salvation is a gift. And this gift is meant to change us. This series is all about staying true. And we are going to dive into this book in the effort to draw from it’s depths in order to stay true to Jesus.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • We’re accepted not based on our performance but on the finished work of the cross.
  • “We are more sinful and flawed than we imagine, yet we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Tim Keller
  • God doesn’t unconditionally accept our behavior, but He does unconditionally accept us.
  • The law (of God) points us toward grace; grace empowers us to live out His law.
  • The law is doing what is expected so that you can be accepted.
    Following Christ is about being accepted so that you can live what is expected.
  • Following the law is about completing what you began.
    Following Jesus is about continuing what He completed.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “My Importance” #StayTrue

The book of Galatians is one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel in the scriptures. God redeems people irregardless of their “lostness” through trust in Jesus Christ. Mercy undeserved; matchless favor for the broken. This is the glory of God’s grace. Galatians is both a letter to a church and a glimpse into their story. A people who’ve received Christ’s grace are at a crossroads in their own trust in Him. Though they’ve discovered redemption in Jesus, they face the pressure to conform to someone else’s expression of that faith. And the Apostle Paul writes to them to stay true to what the Gospel is all about: Hope comes from trusting Jesus, not what we can earn by performance or achievement. Salvation is a gift. And this gift is meant to change us. This series is all about staying true. And we are going to dive into this book in the effort to draw from it’s depths in order to stay true to Jesus.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • I am in Christ and He is in me.
  • Where we see the most Church divide is when we have something outside of Christ that has become more significant than Christ.
  • Our identity in Christ has to become much greater than any other identity we possess.
  • The gospel is not just about me being in Christ, but Christ being in me and His gospel working through my life.
  • You are complete in Christ. Quit acting like someone else.
  • God will never give you a life that makes Him unnecessary.
  • The way you begin in the Christian life is also the way you continue in the Christian life.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Measuring Up” #StayTrue

The book of Galatians is one of the clearest presentations of the Gospel in the scriptures. God redeems people irregardless of their “lostness” through trust in Jesus Christ. Mercy undeserved; matchless favor for the broken. This is the glory of God’s grace. Galatians is both a letter to a church and a glimpse into their story. A people who’ve received Christ’s grace are at a crossroads in their own trust in Him. Though they’ve discovered redemption in Jesus, they face the pressure to conform to someone else’s expression of that faith. And the Apostle Paul writes to them to stay true to what the Gospel is all about: Hope comes from trusting Jesus, not what we can earn by performance or achievement. Salvation is a gift. And this gift is meant to change us. This series is all about staying true. And we are going to dive into this book in the effort to draw from it’s depths in order to stay true to Jesus.

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Measurement follows grace; grace doesn’t follow measurement.
  • Jesus is not sill making up his mind about you.
  • Jesus is the SOURCE, the SUBSTANCE, and the SCOPE of the Gospel.
  • The Gospel should point us to the problem within ourselves and then point us to the only solution, which is outside of ourselves – Jesus.
  • No ritual and no commandment and no good deed of any kind can ever be a prerequisite for salvation, because the grace offered to us by Jesus is our only hope.” Craig L. Blomberg
  • The dominant voice of the gospel is Jesus. Anytime there is a voice louder than His within the Gospel, it is not the Gospel.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “The Soundtrack to My Waiting” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Whenever I face a season of transition, I must remember: God is present, His promises are true, and He always provides.
  • “Waiting is the in-between time; it calls us to be in this moment this season without leaning so far into the future that we tear our roots from the present. When we learn to wait, we learn to experience where we are as substantial and precious in our life.” Book – “When the heart waits” by Sue Monk Kidd
  • A season of waiting is the opportunity God uses to help us loosen our grip from control and let Him be God in our lives.
  • Waiting is God’s invitation for us to actively engage into a spiritual formation experience.
  • When God invites us to wait, He invites us to release our demands to His desires.
  • What if “waiting on God” was not some grand inconvenience, but rather the very tool God wants to use to shape & change us?
  • God’s transition seasons are packed with Kingdom purpose. We can trust Him in the waiting.
  • I will work with God by waiting on God. (Psalm 130:5-7)

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: “Stuck in a Cul-de-sac” #TrailLeader

Hitting the trail with a group of people is a fantastic way to strengthen friendships or get to know new people. While you’re putting in the miles, the person at the FRONT has a vital role in keeping the group together, focused, and safe. That person is known as the Trail Leader. A good Trail Leader will: 1. Keep an eye out for trail markers to navigate the journey. 2. Manage the group’s pace 3. Pause at crossings and junctions to regroup. 4. Recognize and maneuver through challenges. That brings us to the Old Testament figure Moses. For his story can be summed up as the story of a Trail Leader. His life is an epic tale of one who faces personal challenges while leading an entire nation along a journey of twists and turns, freedom and challenges, failures and victories. Our series will follow this Trail Leader from the beginning of his path to the end. And I hope this series will not only help us come to know Moses, but see how the trail he follows speaks into our lives today.

Check out the service from the website or from the Facebook livestream. 

Other thoughts from the Youversion notes from Sunday:

  • Sometimes God’s direction is not about where He is taking us but what God is doing in us.
  • God doesn’t lead us into a direction to destroy us but to build us.
  • I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.
  • Faith cannot fix what you are unwilling to face.
  • Sometimes God will draw us into a cul-de-sac just so he can draw “Egypt” out of us.
  • Some of the most glorious moments will come in the face of the greatest resistance.
  • Often we can be looking for relief when God is trying to develop resilience.

Love you all. Have a great week.

BTW: Here’s a great song for the week…

When the Dust Settles: Living in the Wake of Depression

It’s a quiet morning.

A couple weeks have gone by since a friend passed away from suicide. I sit alone with a cup of coffee. Life has inescapably moved forward. The dust of that crazy, moment has somewhat settled.

And that, in and of itself, can create a problem, especially for those who deal with depression or are directly affected by the loss it brings.

Just because things externally have subsided doesn’t mean things internally are resolved.

Our church community (Kfirst) supports an organization that is helping the people of the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. It’s called Convoy of Hope. What I love about COH is that they’re not only prepped and ready to respond when a disaster presents itself but has plans for long-term assistance with putting life back together for the area affected by the tragedy.

Convoy of Hope is there when “life hits” and still present when the “dust settles.”

And that my friends is what those of us that deal with inner darkness need most.  Yes, we need you when life hits us hard. But we still need you present when the “dust settles.” That’s the moment where life moves forward and we cannot afford to go back to “business as usual.” The tragedy must produce change in our praying, thinking, loving, and engaging.

Luke 24 is one of those “the dust has settled” moments. Jerusalem has calmed down a bit since the crucifixion of Jesus. These two men walk have lived through the whirlwind that has been the previous couple days (arrest, trial, death of Jesus). They now depart from the city and, unbeknownst to them, the resurrected Jesus is about to join them on their journey.

v. 17 And he (Jesus) said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.

The death of their Savior devastated them. And now that the event was over, most likely, they were heading back to their hometowns to resume the life they knew before they met Jesus. Back to “business as usual.”

They don’t even know it’s Jesus. Their inability to recognize him, I believe, was less about Jesus concealing his identity and more about how our depression and hopelessness work. Mental and emotional darkness tends to manipulate the senses preventing people from seeing or sensing what seems completely obvious to everyone else.

This is what Jesus stepped into. And He listened to them as they started sharing their hearts with these four words:

v. 21, “But we had hoped…”

These words were not spoken in ignorance. Luke 24 tells us they knew how Jesus had foretold His resurrection because they recognize it was the “third day” after His death. They’ve heard the eye-witness testimony of the ladies who visited the empty tomb and encountered the angel. They had even received word that Peter and John had confirmed the empty tomb.

But we had hoped…”

Quite often, we can be quick to respond to a tragic moment but forget that there’s more to do when things settle. We can get so busy celebrating “empty tomb” experiences but fail to realize there are those still aching from the wounds of the original event. Just because life moved forward doesn’t mean they have. Just because you see something hopeful doesn’t mean they feel the hope.

The dust of the event may have settled, but what is happening inside of them has not. They are still living in the wake of tragedy.

Enter Jesus.

Jesus stepped into their journey with them.
If you notice the scripture, Jesus didn’t stop them from the direction they were walking. He joined them and walked with them. It’s such a simple point that needs to be highlighted. He didn’t stop them to shift them into direction that made Him feel more comfortable. “Hey, guys, let’s go back to Jerusalem and talk.” Jesus met them on their journey. He chose to walk with them in their hopelessness.

Jesus listened before He spoke.
Listening is not waiting for your turn to talk. Listening is being fully present and fully aware of what is being communicated. These two are externally processing their inner turmoil. How do we know Jesus fully listens to them? Because we get every detail of why they feel what they feel. Listening isn’t leverage to tell your story. Listening is the invitation to step into someone else’s story that may or may not include yours.

Jesus DIDN’T “top” their pain with His own.
He didn’t tell them, “You think you’re suffering, let me give you a clue to what I dealt with this past week.” You may think you’re “connecting” with their pain or helping draw them out of their personal darkness by showing them that their issues are not as bad as you may see them. But it’s causing more harm than good. “Topping” someone’s pain/story doesn’t connect to them. It only devalues them and labels you as an “unsafe listener.”

Jesus fed their soul hope.
Too often, we separate the spiritual from the practical, emotional, and/or mental. And when we do that, we short-change people. The Greek word is Zoé. John 10:10 is where Jesus talked about coming that we might have life (Zoé). That life impacts on all four of those levels (spiritual, physical/practical, emotional, mental). They affect one another to bring complete life/health to us human beings. Look at Luke 24:

Jesus was fully present with them: emotional health
Jesus listened and dialoged about their mentality: mental health
Jesus ate with them: physical/practical health
Jesus spoke hope to them: spiritual health

The results: These two men who “had hoped” left that place and went back, full of hope, ready to tell others what they had discovered.

Jesus didn’t come to make us “un-sad.” He came to give us life to the nth-degree. And I wonder if we’d see more people “full of hope” (Luke 24)  if we choose to have that Christ-like (Zoé) approach by pouring into people spiritually, practically, emotionally, and mentally. Instead of just trying to get people to stop being so down, perhaps Zoé can give us a game-plan and a pattern to strategically pour life into those who feel lifeless.

This is what I need when I face my inner darkness. This is what I want to be for others.

I want to be there when “life hits” and still present when the “dust settles.” I want to be that physical reminder that Jesus is not just present now, but ready to help navigate (Zoé) life with them moving forward.

This is our role as the Church. We are a convoy of hope to the sphere of influence God has placed us. And since Jesus met us and filled us with hope, we are to go and do likewise.