Start with Jesus
The Big Idea
How do people know you’re a Christian? Is it your endless patience? Your tireless efforts to share your faith? Your extreme generosity? Your ability to listen and avoid judgment? You may fit into one of these categories. But there is only one person in history who demonstrated all these traits: Jesus.
Both inside and outside the church, people get bogged down by the details of and assumptions about Christianity. We debate topics like abortion, evolution, and denominations, and we forget that these things don’t define us as Christians. Christ’s love and sacrifice does.
Let’s be Christ followers, not rule followers. Set the “expectations” of Christianity aside and do what Jesus says. Let’s stop trying to figure everything out. Let’s start with Jesus.
In this series, we’ll examine who Jesus is, what’s compelling about him, and how the Resurrection changed history. We’ll also plan some action steps for how you can start every day with Jesus, free from the assumptions that might have kept you away from church and from Jesus in the past.
September 15, 2019: When What’s Right isn’t Popular… Act with Integrity
We’re surrounded by people who try to keep others happy. It’s often easier to say and do what’s popular; it’s more difficult to stay true to what you know is right. Jesus offended a lot of people with his “radical” views on religion. Rather than worrying about winning the approval of the crowds and the priests, he spoke with authenticity about his mission to save those dead in their sins – all of us. How would our lives be different if we lived lives of integrity rather than popularity?
Sermon Text: John 2:13-25
September 22, 2019: When There’s Work to Be Done… Serve
We expect to be recognized for our work. Whether it’s being paid, receiving recognition, or earning an honored position, we want people to know about the work we did. This is not why Jesus came to work. The God of the Universe humbled himself enough to come as a human to Earth. Although he deserves a crown of glory, he received a crown of thorns. Jesus demonstrated how we should serve others selflessly, not expecting anything in return. What would our lives be like if we served others selflessly?
Sermon Text: Matthew 20:26
September 29, 2019: When the Enemy is Near… Show Love
It’s easy to love people who love us; anyone can do that. But when people judge us, persecute us, or drive us crazy, love becomes more difficult. Jesus, however, loved his enemies. He loved even those who caused him to suffer. Despite our sin, he loved us enough to die for us on the cross and take away our sins forever. How would our lives be different if we loved our enemies as we love our friends?
Sermon Text: Matthew 5:43-47
October 6, 2019: When There’s Need… Give
We don’t have to look far to see needs in our community. No matter where you live, you can find people struggling, whom God calls us to serve. Even in our own homes, we may have children who need to hear about God’s love. Jesus met the physical needs of the poor and needy by feeding and healing them. Most importantly, he met the spiritual needs of all of us by reconciling us to God. How would the world be different if we worked to serve the needy, rather than ignoring them?
Scriptures: Luke 18:15-17
Sermon Text: Matthew 6:1-4
October 13, 2019: When It’s Difficult to be Patient… Judge with Wisdom and Grace
Opinions are polarizing. We get entrenched in our own viewpoints about life. We judge others who don’t have the same viewpoints, lacking the patience to understand them. Meanwhile, we don’t recognize or choose to ignore the flaws in our own reasoning and lifestyles. Jesus, the only person who had authority to judge, chose to listen and understand. And, rather than judging, Jesus chose to demonstrate patience with those who had gone astray. Would our lives be different if we had the patience to get to know people before making decisions about them?
Sermon Text: Matthew 7:1-6
October 20, 2019: When There’s Pain… Forgive
Retaliation is easier than forgiveness. It may seem more satisfying to “get back” at those who hurt us. But in the end, we’re left feeling worse because the guilt of retribution is added to the grudge we hold. Jesus had every right to be angry; he was condemned to death despite complete innocence. Yet, some of his last words were asking his Father to forgive us. What would our lives look like if we chose forgiveness over retaliation?
Sermon Text: Luke 23:34