Imagine taking on a task that is seemingly impossible. With God's help and the leading of the Spirit, Nehemiah asked boldly, invited others to join him, and dove into the task at hand. What does it mean to rebuild broken areas in our lives? What part can God and others play in our lives, and what does the Lord expect of us?
There are some remarkable women of the Old Testament who were willing to trust God despite their difficult circumstances. In a day and age when women were thought of as second class citizens, the Lord chose to use these ladies to accomplish His purposes.
Imagine being trafficked by your own family. This is the plight of many humans today, as families in impoverished countries are often tempted to sell their own children for profit. While this was not the motive behind Joseph's situation, he faced the same trial.
While Gideon saw himself as weak, the Lord called him a "mighty warrior." He eventually realized his identity and purpose, and led troops to victory against the Midianites at staggering odds.
In the book of Daniel, there are multiple examples of people willing to stand up for their faith in God. Daniel is not willing to compromise the diet he believes God wants him to keep, nor is he willing to give up his prayer life. His friends are unwilling to bow to a false god, and all of them face trials as a result. How do we handle our faith under fire?
What does it take to have a faith that is so gutsy that you challenge more than 300 false prophets? Elijah was so confident in God's abilities, and so willing to defend Himself, that he set up a showdown on Mount Carmel How sure are we of our faith when it comes to trusting God in our everyday lives?
If God told offered you any one request to be granted, what would you ask for? Solomon's unique desire to ask for wisdom over riches or another selfish request demonstrated his character. He was able to build the first temple in Jerusalem and so much more. At the same time, he made many foolish decisions.
When Ruth's mother-in-law urged her to return to her people after the death of her husband, she had a different plan in mind. Refusing to leave her husband's mother alone, she responded, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Are we more apt to do right by ourselves or by others?
The top two things David is known for is slaying Goliath, and committing adultery with Bathsheba. How can the same person be known for two such drastically different things? How do you deal with obedience as opposed to sin?
This old adage is especially true when a young shepherd boy, full of faith, is the one throwing the stones! There is something about a David sized person defeating a Goliath sized obstacle that captures every human. We want to tackle the Goliath sized challenges, and yet it is always easier to head in the opposite direction. What can we learn from this young faith-filled stone thrower?
Moses was slow to follow God's lead, however, once he did, he rarely wavered. This could not be said of the Israelite people who he was charged to lead. Constantly discontented and complaining, they made his job unbearable. Have you faced similar challenges in leadership? What type of follower are you?
While we may over-spiritualize many characters in the Bible, Moses is about as normal as they come. When asked by God to confront Pharaoh, he came up with every excuse imaginable. What excuses do you and I use when we don't feel like obeying God?
When you believe God wants you to do something, how long do you turn the thought in your mind before you act? Many people in the Bible faced uncertain choices regarding whether or not to trust God, but few were quick to act. Moses tried to talk his way out of it, Gideon said he was too weak, and Sarah outright laughed. How do you respond?
We are kicking off a 16 week Summer Series: "Heroes of the Faith." We will be looking at the lives of Old Testament heroes, known for trusting God against adversity. We will begin the series looking at the father of faith: Abraham.
When any of the "Mission Impossible" movies opens up, the lead spy receives instructions for a mission that needs to me completed. Somewhere in the recorded mission is always the phrase, "if you should choose to accept it..." There is always a choice. In Mission Impossible the orders come from IMF. As followers of Jesus we are called to live life on mission. Our orders come from the Holy Spirit and similar to IMF, we always have the choice or whether or not we want to carry out the mission. God did not create robots. Instead, He created us in His image with the choice to follow or not to follow.
Who is difficult for you to love? Jesus commands us to love others as we love ourselves. The Bible says we should love our brother, so perhaps we say, "That's fine, I love my brother, but not my neighbor." Jesus commands us to love our neighbor, so we are not off the hook. Then I may be tempted to say, "I love my neighbor, but not others who have offended me." Jesus then challenges His followers to love their enemies. In other words, "LOVE EVERYONE!" There is no human we pass on our busy days who God lets us off the hook with. We are commanded to love everyone, to be the flavor of the world, and shine light in the darkest places.
I was struck this week about the simplicity and community found in the first church. The practices which defined the early church were: Teaching about Jesus and faith in everyday life, authentic time together, sharing meals, practicing hospitality, praying together, inviting God to do miracles, sharing their resources, and purging excess material possessions to provide for anyone in need. In addition, they met together on a daily basis in both public places and in their homes. They celebrated communion, remembering Jesus' sacrifice for their sin. They did things in a spirit of humility and were grateful to God for His love. As a result of their lifestyle people in close proximity benefited immensely and the group was constantly growing. The movement was so attractive that others couldn't help but want to be part of it. The Lord was responsible for growth, spiritually and numerically as the early church lived lives marked by practical unconditional love. How about us?
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." (1 Peter 4:8-9) How do you do when it comes to loving others? On a scale 1-10, (10 being the most loving), what score would you give yourself? Jesus set the bar at loving others the way we each want to be loved. What would that look like if you applied that to the people you know at Bridge?
Imagine being at a crowded dinner party and seeing someone you are totally in love with. Overcome with compassion you drop to their feet and begin to wash them. You are so in love with this person, and caught up in serving, that you give no thought to the other guests. Realizing you do not have a towel to wipe the grime that is coming loose, you begin to use your own hair. Can you even begin to picture such an interaction?
It is difficult to imagine such an act of service motivated by love. Believe it or not, a woman actually loved Jesus that much (Luke 7:36-49). Her act begs the question, "How much do I really love Jesus?" Do my daily actions reflect a desire to please Him, or am I more concerned with what others think of me?
If you had to sell cars, what brand would you sell? Which brand automobile are you sold on? If you were convinced that Volvos were the safest car on the road and you owned that brand, would you be able to sell Dodge? It is difficult to sell the car you do not drive, unless of course you do not like your vehicle.
Are you SOLD on Jesus? What does driving with Christ in your life look like on a daily basis? How does He impact your life and inform your decisions?