Make no mistake about it, our faith and our practices as followers of Jesus must be fueled by the power of the resurrection. It's easy to argue that the resurrection was the primary motivation for the early followers of Jesus to be so radically committed to the way of Christ. Can the same be said of us?
The turning point in becoming a church that attracts and retains younger people is priority and commitment. Growing Young takes everyone. It means we have to strengthen what is working, and identify and implement areas of change.
He is Risen! Easter Sunday prompts us to celebrate life because of Jesus. Our Lenten Fast is concluded, and we emerge with new life, new perspectives and new energy. Resurrection Sunday is also a moment to remind the church that fear will not be the default setting for disciples of the Risen Lord. We conclude this sermon series by proclaiming the power of the resurrection and declaring that we are unsubscribing from fear!
It seems that we are living in a world that continues to invent ways for us to grow more independent and individualistic. The story of God’s church is a story of comradery, community, and collaboration. As Jesus prepared to depart this earth, he left a powerful reminder of this truth. As we highlight communion this morning, we will be challenged to unsubscribe from isolation.
The opioid epidemic is on the minds of everyone in our society. Drug addiction has always been a part of our community. Additionally, addiction in various forms (shopping, eating, pornography, cell phone) are on the rise. As someone noted, we are now “the most in-debt ... obese ... addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.” Cravings and addictions are hard-wired into our hearts. How do we deal with the abundance of cravings and addictions? Today, we are challenged to unsubscribe from unhealthy cravings.
Why do they have a bigger house? Why does she have a better job? That church is doing more than we do. These are questions and statements we make repeatedly throughout the course of our lives. In making these comments, we are thrusting ourselves into the realm of comparison with others. Comparing ourselves to others may not be the best way to evaluate the quality of our lives. Instead, we should consider the beauty of our lives as created and destined by God himself. Today, we are challenged to unsubscribe from comparisons.
“The more worried you are that you might get sick, the more likely it is that you will, or if you do get sick that you'll end up sicker, or even dead, from an illness you might have survived if you just didn't worry so much.”
Worry is as American as apple pie. It is engrained in our psyche. Yet worrying has never solved a problem, made a problem better or helped us navigate the problem. Worrying is probably unavoidable, but it need not consume us. Today, we will be challenged to unsubscribe from worry.
One could argue that the enormity of our “to-do lists” and the busyness of life has greatly increased the velocity of our daily lives. Accordingly, we are living life so fast that we are in danger of missing the important things in life. In this sermon, we will be encouraged to slow down so that we can “recover our lives”. Today, we will be challenged to unsubscribe from hurry.
Many of us are haunted by our pasts. We have done some horrible things. We have failed to do some good things. We experience the heartache of missed opportunities. During the season of Lent, we are encouraged to unsubscribe from allowing the past to be the prime mover in our lives. The blood of Jesus washes us clean and launches us into to newness of life.
In a few days, the season of Lent will commence. Lent is a shortened form of the English word “Lenten” which means “spring”. Accordingly, this time represents an entering into a new season. During this new season, we enter a period where we abstain from things (fast) and we introduce new practices (discipline). Someone described Lent as
“a season of preparation, self-reflection and repentance when we seek to literally ‘turn around’ and realign our lives and focus toward God. It is a time to give up things as well as take on new life-giving practices, helping us rid ourselves of distractions and our own selfish desires. By doing so, we seek to live and love as more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.”
This morning, we prepare for the fast by discussing the ever-growing list of that creates clutter, confuse, and challenge our journey with God. We will zero in on the need to “unsubscribe” from things that get in the way. Our journey is one that we pray will lead to freedom.