After nearly a year in the Gospel of John, we’ve finally, and somewhat sadly, concluded all 21 chapters. Though the journey through the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus has completed, our walk with Him as Christians will continue until the day He returns. Listen to last week’s message to discover what the resurrected Jesus’ priorities are for those who seek to continue to follow Him.
What History and The Book of John All Hinge Upon
The crucifixion of Jesus. It’s both cruel and gracious. Horrific and beautiful. Shameful and infinitely victorious. It was the moment when Satan seemed to have struck the final death blow to God’s purposes, yet, in all actuality, when Jesus struck the final deathblow not only to satan, but sin and death itself. Listen to last week’s sermon and learn about the history-altering, life-transforming reality of the cross of Christ which makes a claim on every single one of our lives.
Than To Be a Friend of Caesar’s …
Associating with the cause of Christ is often neither situationally beneficial nor convenient. Pontius Pilate, as he stood with Jesus before him, had the task of issuing a verdict and a sentence. He knew Jesus was innocent. Yet the crowd falsely accused him of treason against Caesar. An innocent verdict could be political suicide. This moment in Pilate’s life was inconvenient. It was one case among hundreds he’d rule on. Seemingly insignificant and terribly inconvenient. Yet in the grand scheme, it was Pilate’s eternity that was being weighed in the balance. In our lives, we experience many moments when siding with Jesus is just flat inconvenient, but in the scope of eternity, is far better than siding with anyone else. Listen to last Sunday’s sermon from John 18-19.
The Arrest and Trial of Jesus
This past Sunday was a very different Sunday. Our usual meeting place, Heninger Elementary, was unexpectedly unavailable to us. At the last minute, we shifted gears and moved our Sunday meeting to the Houlton home. We were packed into the living room like a bunch of sardines, but aside from the location, nothing was different. We worshipped together, we listened to the preached Word from John 18, we took the Lord’s table together and fellowshipped with one another in the joy of Jesus.
There is no sermon audio recording available from last Sunday’s sermon, but nevertheless, the Lord has a lesson for all of us reading this blog post right now: the local church is a body of people gathered by God through Jesus Christ for the worship of His name. Regardless of where we meet. Regardless of how planned or unplanned our Sunday morning’s are.
Who knows, maybe we’ll make a tradition of an annual house-church service …
Jesus Prayed For Sovereign Grace Santa Ana 2000 Years Ago
In one of the most profound and holy scenes in the New Testament, we find Jesus, God the Son, pleading with God the Father in John 17. In that “High Priestly Prayer”, Jesus prays for “all those who will believe through the [11 disciples’] word”. In other words, He prays for all future believers. Included in that number is our very own local church. What Jesus prays for is His greatest desire for our church in 2019. What is that desire? Unity. Jesus desires unity so that the world might be persuaded of His love for the glory of God.
Listen to last Sunday’s sermon to hear about Jesus’ priority of unity for our church.
Our First Ever Bilingual Sermon
As a church, we had the joy and the privilege of hosting Erik Rangel from our sister church in Yuma, Arizona. Eric preached from 1 Corinthians 9 concerning cross-cultural ministry and what it means to “be all things to all people”. More importantly, he explored Paul’s motive and our motive for being “all things to all people”. We have a reason to sacrifice our preferences and our cultural comfortabilities for the sake of one another and our neighbors because we know what it’s like to be served by one greater than ourselves. Whether you speak English or Spanish, give this past week’s sermon a listen for the sake of the effectiveness of your own ministry to those who are culturally different from you.
The Most Powerful Tool A Christian Has
Prayer can often seem both mundane and impractical in the midst of the opposition a Christian faces while living a life abiding in Christ. Prayer, however, is more important and powerful, than virtually any other tool or strategy any Christian has at his or her disposal.
So important is it that it stood near the center of Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples. Listen to this last week’s sermon to learn more and grow in the priority of prayer.
The Only Real Barrier To Belief? Unbelief
We skipped ahead in our series in John to chapter 20 as we celebrated Resurrection Sunday. Over and over again in this series, attention has been directed back to John 20:31 - John’s purpose statement for the entire book. What’s the purpose? “That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing, you may have life in His name”. The chapter leading up to this statement is a story of Jesus’ disciples and friends moving from ignorance of His resurrection, misunderstanding and doubt … to belief. His resurrection brings knowledge to the ignorant, clarity to the confused and assurance to those who doubt. Jesus rose from the dead so that you might believe in Him.
The Word of the Cross Is Foolish, Weak and For Those Who Are Nothing Special
This past Sunday, our very own Jeff Schlieder stood behind the pulpit and preached the “Word of the Cross” from 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. He reminded us that the Word of the cross that defines us as Christians is despised by an unbelieving world. And it makes sense why: because it appears foolish, it appears to center on a weak person and is meant for people who are unremarkable in every way.
The Word of the Cross, However, Is God’s Supreme Demonstration of Wisdom and Power
Yet, the Word of the cross is where God’s wisdom is displayed most clearly, His power is shown most poignantly and where insignificant sinners find identity, belonging and worth. If you haven’t yet, sit down with a pen and a journal and listen to the message. it will be worth you time.
“Staying” In Jesus Is The Key To The Christian Life
John 15 contains a word that isn’t used very often in today’s English language. Yet Jesus uses this word as a summary instruction for how to live in His absence. The word is abide. To help His disciples understand what it means to abide, He used compelling imagery - imagery of a life-filled vine and branches that are wholly dependent on that vine for anything, especially bearing fruit. At the end of the discussion, while we might be tempted to believe that “abiding” is some special spiritual technique, to abide is to simply “stay”. The simple discipline of staying is the single most important, yet most difficult discipline of the Christian life.
On Sunday, pastor Kyle identified 8 of life’s greatest needs from John 15 for which abiding in Christ is the key. If he was going too fast and you didn’t catch them all, here they are again:
The Key To Connection (vv. 3, 4a)
The Key To Fruitfulness (vv. 4b-7)
The Key To Joy (v. 11)
The Key To Love (vv. 9-10; 12-15)
The Key To Identity (vv. 8, 16)
The Key To Purpose (vv. 16-17)
The Key To Security (vv. 18-25)
The Key To Witness (vv. 26-27)