This week, Pastor Steve begins his new Easter-themed series titled “Journey Through John.” The first message in this series focuses on John the Baptist, a pretty great guy sent by God to bear witness of His truly Great Son.
Be sure to follow along this Easter season with our Lent reading plan.
This week, Pastor Steve concludes his series on the Tough Choices facing a Jesus follower and why we most constantly strive to initiate contact with those who have not yet discovered the joy found in a relationship with Christ.
This week, Pastor Steve continues in his series on the Tough Choices facing any individual who desires to follow Jesus and what it means to honor others.
Week’s Scripture: Matthew 25: 31-40 (NLT)
31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
This week, Pastor Steve continues in his series on Tough Choices facing a follower of Jesus and what it means to put yourself out for others.
Week’s Scripture: Luke 9: 23-27 (NLT)
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels. 27 I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Kingdom of God.”
Join us as Jacob’s Well’s new pastor, Steve Stone, speaks with us honestly and openly about the changes and challenges that the church faces in a time of transition and the Hope that we can always rely on.
Steps 10 & 11 show us how to do what’s under your control so that you can do what’s not under your control. It’s like playing sports or music. Gameday doesn’t happen without day after day of practice. Yet somehow we think spirituality just happens by osmosis. Steps 10 and 11 offer a game plan to practice so that when the hour of temptation strikes we are ready and equipped to win.
Our message on Steps 8 & 9 come from Genesis 4 and the the story of Cain and Abel. Maybe Cain never felt like what he offered was good enough. He always compared himself to his little brother and felt like he didn’t add up. Then God showed favor on Abel’s offering and this threatened Cain’s identity in a major way. All he wanted was to be accepted, is that such a bad thing? But he was rejected and Cain didn’t deal so well with rejection. In Cain’s mind he may have thought he only had two options, either radically readjust his identity or eliminate Abel. It was too much for him and found him on a bad day. Sadly, Cain decided that Abel could no longer continue to exist. Cain murdered Abel because he fell prey to what he could not master.
Step 6: Were Entirely Ready to Have God Remove All These Defects of Character. Step 7: Humbly Asked Him to Removed Our Shortcomings.
When we get ready for God to remove our character defects and ask Him to free us from sin, we are lining ourselves up with God’s law and the way things were meant to be. We can’t break the laws of the universe, but we can break ourselves on them. Because we’ve used our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh for so long, we’ve made a mess of our lives. We like to find out how to live the hard way. We’ve tried to find an easier, softer way but we could not. Now at the crossroads we are ready to try it God’s way. And soon we’ll find that freedom in Christ is more glorious than we could ever have imagined.
The goal of Step 4 is to clean house in a way that our unclean spirits do not return. If you want to get rid of rats or roaches, the first steps are to expel them from your house. But if you continue to leave food out, and keep garbage around, they will return. Get rid of the trash and the rats stay away.
As humans, we find ways to deal with life and what it throws at us. If things aren’t going our way, we try to control things, or at least do things to make us feel like we’re in control. Jesus spoke to the essence of Step 3 when He said in Mark 14:36, “”Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” We have to let go and let God.
Step 1: We admitted that we were powerless, that our lives had become unmanageable.
The first step to begin walking in the Spirit is to admit that we are not in control. . .that we are powerless and not the ultimate manager of our lives. Tonight we reflect on how Adam and Eve’s grasp for power led to their Fall. Like Adam and Eve, we cover ourselves up by justifying our actions or judging others who seem to be worse off than us. Through these self-deceiving practices we come to believe that we are all-powerful. The good news is that God is in control and when we become vulnerable and let go, we discover a Power far greater than ourselves.
In Step by Step we won’t dwell on the problem as much as the solution. We’re not concerned about what we keep turning to as much as why you keeping turning to it. We believe that all of these things that form anonymous programs, alcohol, drugs, relationships, are just symptoms of a deeper problem. And when we get to the source, to the root of our problems, then we can find true freedom.
Mary’s Song, the Magnifat, has been ranked among the greatest poems ever written, a reciprocation of God’s might & mercy. The mighty will fall and the weak shall be lifted up all through a God who shows mercy to the humble and justice to oppressors. How can we reciprocate by showing mercy to the lowly and fighting against oppression and injustice?
When you hear good news, you have to share it. Mary journeys to see her cousin Elizabeth and they share stories of how God is at work and are encouraged by one another. We are blessed to be a blessing and our serving is reciprocal.
When we are driven by guilt, obligation, or trying to please others, we get burned out and are limited by our own negative feelings. When God motivates us to serve Him in response to His goodness and grace, the possibilities are endless.
Naomi’s closest relative in town considers the proposition to take on the field and see’s it as a win-win, until Ruth is brought into the picture, then determines that he will lose more than he’ll gain. The selfless and loving motivations of Boaz stand in stark contrast. Rather than looking at costs and benefits, he acts out of law and love. What is your lens to making decisions, a self-centered cost-benefit analysis or a commitment to turn your will and life over to the care of God?
Naomi devises a plan for the young, attractive Ruth to marry the older, distinguished Boaz. The risky and bold plan consists of creating a sexually-charged environment and relying on Bo’s integrity and love to win in the end. And in the end, love does win. Like Yahweh does for Israel, Boaz sweeps Ruth under the shelter of his wings, not as in a porno, but a beautiful story of redemption. Bo is an image of Christ, our redeemer and bridegroom. What risky and bold plan will you concoct to find shelter under the wings of the Most High? How can you take a leap of faith into your bridegroom’s loving arms?
Naomi in utter despair and Ruth who has nothing, yet gives away everything are a couple that appear to be ready for the grave, yet from God’s perspective are ripe for harvest. By “chance” Ruth meets Bo and everything suddenly changes as he is as extravagantly generous with her as she has been with Naomi. In our lives, when things look like they can’t get any worse is when great miracles often happen. Even though we don’t see it, God works through the circumstances of our lives and is extravagantly generous with his faithful.
Don’t forget, we’re meeting every Saturday night at 5:00 & 7:00 for worship. Childcare and Kids Community are available during the 5pm service.
Ruth is the story of an unlikely girl doing some extraordinary things for the sake of others. It’s the story of self-will run into the ground and God’s will prevailing through redemption. Join us over these 6 weeks at Jacob’s Well as we study the life of Ruth. In each service you’ll find engaging stories, weekly communion, urban sound, refreshments and coffee, and all welcome and accepted.
When the women get to the dead end of where they were headed, they must turn around and begin the return journey. But which home will they return, Moab or Judah? Ruth surprisingly clings to Naomi and turns to her God, her people, and her land. Ruth surprisingly acts like Naomi’s God in her selflessness, faithfulness, and love while Naomi reacts to their circumstances with bitterness and despair. When hard times hit, will we turn back to idols or our Father in heaven? Will we seek to serve others worse off than us, or throw ourselves a pity party? God’s faithful love invites us into relationship with Him and God’s faithful people invite us into relationship with others.
Looking to heaven we see Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, exalted King of kings and Lord of lords. Trust that God is in control and that he is good and is coming to put his hand on your shoulder to encourage you, to comfort you, to speak to you and reveal to you that down is the new up.
The story of the Prodigal in Luke 15 which shows us two ways to try to get high in life. One is the way of the younger son, seeking happiness and fulfillment through immorality, breaking all the rules and doing whatever you want. The way of the older son is also seeking happiness and fulfillment, but through a different approach, following all of the rules and getting high on the attaboys and feelings of accomplishment from doing what’s right.
Maslow’s Hierarchy is about the gravity of the earth, what comes up must come down. Psychology 101 says that all people must climb up the pyramid to get to the top of life, “self-actualization.” In reality, pursuing satisfaction in worldly things only leads to emptiness and longing for more…
Jesus’ pyramid is flipped upside-down. We follow Jesus down providing for the needs of others, rescuing victims of violence and abuse, accepting others as they are in relationships across racial and economic lines, building respect and confidence in our neighbors living in poverty, and denying ourselves as we seek to carry the cross.
”There are only two stories, the story of Adam and the story of Jesus. The story of Adam, symbolized by ^ is the story of self-will, one who climbs up only to fall down. The story of Christ is symbolized by v and is the story of God’s will, a descent into our messiness and sin and a surprising ascent into heaven. . . Adam tells the story of the failure of trust, the failure of obedience and the failure of love. . . Jesus tells a story of perfect trust, perfect obedience and perfect love. Our journey leads us out of the broken story of Adam and into the unparalleled story of Jesus.” – 2010 Spring Reader of Asbury Theological Seminary, edited by JD Walt.
We learn in Acts 2: 42-47 that church planting is hard and urban farmers need nourishment. The early church offers a model of community-growth that we desperately need in this work: teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. Click Here to Listen
We had an extraordinary night out on the streets Wednesday night, 5/30/12, on CPR. God was moving in an awesome way that was so evident. At one of our stops there was a Hispanic man that shared with us that his best friend, that we also know, had been assaulted, and was in a coma in the hospital. We talked and prayed with him. After the prayer he said, “your prayer and touch as we held hands made me cry.” He said, “I never do that.” He said that he wants to change his way of life and stop drinking. He did not know what he had felt, but he knew that it was powerful. We told him he had felt the presence of God. He threw his beer away and plans on coming to Jacob’s Well. One of our other stops on Summer Avenue we saw another one of our friends, Michael. He needed something to eat and drink and we talked for a while. He shared with us about another one of our friends, Johnny an elderly man with a cane, was killed crossing Summer Avenue a little over a week ago. This was so hard to hear as I listened and could see the hurt and tears in their eyes. As we continued to talk with Michael he decided that he wanted to get off the street and go into Safe Harbor, a Christian based mission that helps folks to get connected back into society and to work. Wednesday night Michael was off the street and excited about getting another chance.
These were just two of the particular things that we witnessed not counting the seeds that were planted that we never even realize. God works in mighty ways. He orders our steps and directs our paths. He reveals Himself to us and gives us hope and encouragement. It is an honor and blessing to be His vessel! We stand in awe of You, Jesus.
James 4:11-17 Being judgmental is tied to arrogance and anxiety. Who do we think we are as human beings? We take on the role of God and think we know what’s best for our neighbors when we have trouble managing our own lives. We think we know the future when most of us have enough trouble getting through the day.
James gets to the root of our issues by helping us to look at the desires that lead to many of our struggles. While we too often spend our lives running from our problems, James gives the good news that when we resist the devil, he will flee. What power there is in the name of Christ! Resisting comes by humbling ourselves, admitting our powerlessness, and submitting and surrendering to God.
Wisdom is more street smarts than book smart, more revelation than information. Wisdom takes an idea and applies it to life. Worldly wisdom teaches us to rely on ambition and jealousy to get ahead and then to cover up with lies and boasting when we get behind. Spiritual wisdom offers a different way that leads to a pure heart, yielding to others, and other upside-down ways of living. Listen to James 3:13-18 and get wise.
Our words hold the power of life and death, so James teaches to tame your tongue. Our tongue can bring large harm through destructive means such as gossip and anger. Yet rather than bite our tongue, the gospel teaches us to give our hearts to Christ and discover an inside-out spirituality. As our hearts are transformed, our words follow suit.