Joshua was called to a task and a mission that was beyond his capabilities and experience. But God called him and commanded him to be courageous. What is courage and why is it so vital to leadership? One writer says this: “When we turn our hearts toward God, all of our fears are consumed by one fear. We are called to fear only God. There is an important reason for this. What we fear is what we’re subject to; our fears define our master. What you fear has mastery over your life. Your faith doesn’t make life easier, your faith makes you stronger. The world doesn’t need more great leaders, it needs more great people who lead.” Joshua and the men and women (Hebrews 11) who have gone before us stepped into the moments that God invited them into amidst uncertainty and full of courage that God would accomplish His purposes and His desires through them as they fixed their eyes upon what is unseen vs what is seen.
Leadership isn’t about always getting what you want... Leadership is about leveraging our lives for the good of others. Leadership is sacrificing our lives for the sake of others.
Leadership is servanthood. Leadership is about 10,000 obscure, unseen, and un-noticed moments for the sake of the people who have been entrusted to lead.
One writer says this: “You can’t say two different things at the same time and expect to be trusted. A person of integrity cannot say one thing and do another. Integrity is the context from which leaders worth following are formed. Integrity, like wholeness, is a byproduct of our spiritual integration. ‘Integrity’ comes from the root word ‘integer,’ which means to be complete, indivisible – in other words, to be whole.”
A lie we often believe is that all we need to be a good leader is to have power, position, and the ability to move the company, organization, or team towards “success”.
The truth is that God is looking for people who will not simply fixate on results, but lead from a place of consistency, honesty, vulnerability, and whole-life discipleship to Jesus
We want people to understand HOW we do ministry in the Vineyard - which is the way of Jesus. Jesus has edges AND he crossed a lot of lines. We posture ourselves to pastor people in imperfect places.
The way we deal with worry is to invest our heart in God’s kingdom. When our “treasures” are in heaven – we begin to trust God’s plan and provision for our lives in deep ways.
Whatever we fill our hearts and minds with is what will bear fruit. Darkness vs. light, desire for money vs God, worry vs trust.
Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in direct and simple ways – just asking for what we need. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus teaches us to start with the knowledge of who God is – and just as a good father would not deny his son bread if he asked for it, God will be faithful to give.
Prayer has everything to do with the posture of our heart. “Do to others what you would have them to do you” (7:12) is a frame for how we pray. Being caught up in how our prayers sound or look can hurt our prayers (6:5-7) or having unforgiveness in our hearts can hurt our prayers (6:14-15).
Jesus is assuming we are serving, but when we serve, the posture of our heart matters. Instead of us changing our city, we want our city to change us. Doing the deeper work of caring is not about how we change others; it is about how we are being changed when we give or fast or serve.
Why is retributive justice not the way of the kingdom? Jesus embraces restorative justice as a pathway for the kingdom. Jesus loved all of us who were once enemies. Jesus resisted AND he did not resist. We need to discern which position we take and feel this challenge to love others who we do not want to love while still setting appropriate boundaries in abusive relationships.
How to give and keep your word? Jesus’ kingdom was upside down. Where there was more general acceptance of divorce in the surrounding culture, Jesus challenges his disciples to this impossible ideal of keeping your word – even if it causes you pain.
Covenant can be destroyed however, and in those situations, we do believe there is room for divorce in discernment with Christian community, counselors, and pastors.
How does reconciliation happen? How do you repair a relationship that is damaged? First, we need to deal with our own hearts that are judgmental, angry, offended, self-righteous and look down on others. We need to first deal with our pride that makes us think it’s the other person’s fault (take the plank out of our own eye) and then go to others. It usually is a two-way street, but what Jesus is saying is that we must give more priority to dealing with our own sin and our own part in a conflict before we confront someone else.
These aren’t just wisdom teachings, but prophetic teachings. This is a more radical upside-down kingdom – compare these to American virtues/values (mourning, meekness, seeking righteousness, being pure etc)
You will be rejected, hated etc. when you do the things that Jesus did, in the manner in which he did them. We should actually be surprised when we aren’t hated etc.
How do we understand the Sermon on the mount related to the OT law and how do we live now, it is a way to live out the vision that Jesus had – for the church to be salt and light – how do we do that? It’s not being a nice person, or a better evangelist, it’s actually doing the things that Jesus is doing and telling us to do.
These are prophetic signs of the kingdom, pointing to the kingdom coming – everyone is surprised at his teaching because he is saying that they can live into this!
This message will paint the identity framework. If you are a Christian, how you build relationships is meant to be built out of our identity in Christ. This series will be super practical, but we want to start by considering the big picture of what God made human relationships for and how an understanding of that can lead to our flourishing.
Shifting from Colossians to the Lenten virtue series.... Paul spends his last bit of time here sharing bits of ‘family news’ and greetings back and forth a variety of their community of missionaries and church planters. It’s clear that this newly formed, heavenly ‘family’ is dear to one another. He also asks them to read one-another's letters. Paul clearly wants this community of believers to be deeply connected with and to one another, of the same spirit, and in line with one another and with his discipleship. When anything experiences pressure, it can fracture or fuse... including the church. Colossians ends with an example of a well-connected community that loves one another. As we head into our next series, we’re going to talk about the Christian virtues that help us become the kinds of people, and kind of community, that can demonstrate love and connection even in pressure-filled times: that’s what the kingdom of God is meant to look like!
Paul implores the Colossian believers to do things at the close of his letter: to pray and to proclaim Jesus. He instructs them specifically in how to pray: being watchful, and thankful. He also instructs them to pray for their leaders, and to pray specifically for the Gospel to go forward. Then he turns to proclamation, encouraging the believers to live out the tension of proclamation: to be bold, yet sensitive; being wise, yet making the most of opportunities.
Paul moves to making this ‘new humanity’ practical in our real, day-to-day lives. To do this, he takes the big idea and applies it to contemporary Roman Household codes... redefining roles, and motivations, and relationships, ie Jesus is the Lord, not the husband, etc... Paul is reshaping the roman household codes around Jesus so they are transformed beyond recognition. What are current ‘codes’ that need to be reexamined in light of Jesus’s call to His followers?
Christians are part of a ‘new humanity’, therefore our minds and hearts should be oriented to things above, and we should live our lives now in light of our future in God. Our formation as Christians is found in doing the things "now" that will form us into Christlikeness, so we respond to pressure not in the way of the world, but in light of the new kingdom (mercy, generosity, forgiveness, love) that transcend our earthy boundaries and divisions.
This week continues Paul’s argument against using mystical polytheism or Jewish law as a means to salvation. Rules about what we eat and drink as well as special holidays and festivals served to make people feel right with God, but these were mere shadows of what was to come… a fuller means of salvation in Christ. He talks about how laws can make us feel like we are doing the right thing, but in reality, they lack effectiveness at really restraining sin. Only as a new humanity with the right “head” in Christ can we see real change come.
The Colossians were pressured by two different camps of thinking, mystical polytheism and old law Judaism. Paul claimed that Jesus triumphed over both human tradition and spiritual forces. Their faith was solely built on the death and resurrection of Jesus – and this faith was announced in their own baptism. Paul reminds the Colossians that God made them alive in Christ, so they no longer need circumcision or magic spells to make sure they are saved. It is in Christ alone that the forgiveness from sins and true freedom comes from. We have different pressures in our society today fighting for our allegiance. We must reject every other system or fix to save us, and claim Christ crucified only.
Paul is suffering for sharing the gospel. This truth is of utmost importance to him: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It is as Christ works in us, that we become the “hope of glory” which leads to us being “united in love” and know Christ better. We live our lives out of the strength of this truth and message, and it is through the truth of Christ that we are strengthened, matured, and led into a joyful life.
This poem or early church hymn communicates the centrality and supremacy of Christ. The rest of the letter is an exploration of the meaning of this poem. Christianity isn’t simply about a particular way of being religious, or a system for how to be saved or how to be holy, it is about a person, Jesus Christ. The poem points to a few things regarding the person of Jesus: 1. Jesus is the image of God, so we know who God is by looking at him. 2. Jesus holds together the old creation and the new. 3 Jesus is the blueprint for genuine humanness. We can discover how to be human by looking at him and he is the head of the new reconciled humanity.
Prayer is powerful. It is the way that we communicate with God. It helps us to have wisdom to know God’s will for our lives (v.9) and be able to live out our calling with kingdom impact and in the power of the Spirit (v. 10-12).
Giving context for the overall book, Paul opens with wishing the people grace and peace. He thanks God for their faith and love and their carrying of the true message of the gospel. What does it look like to carry this message with faith and love ourselves? Through that we too will receive grace and peace. This is a season of grace and peace – as we enter into Advent.
Yes! God wants you to experience abundance of life! Life to the full! Flourishing life! And his wild, unimaginable invitation, is to lose your life so that you will find the life you’ve always dreamed of having.