Pursuing and Sharing Life Beyond Belief
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well.” — Matthew 6:33
Additional Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:12-14; Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Timothy 6:1-12
There’s nothing trivial about the disciplined, passionate, grateful Christian life. When we were dead in our sins and utterly unable to do anything about it, God in his infinite mercy rescued us from a lifeless life by sending his son Jesus Christ. Through no effort of our own, then, the Lord has set his unmerited favor and love upon us and has delivered us from the power of sin and death. In response to this amazing grace, we now live for Him, loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In short, we are pursuing the One who first pursued us, even as we learn to do so with single-minded devotion.
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 25:37-40; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 8:13-15; 1 Timothy 6:18-19
There’s a triple word score in all of us just waiting to be played, but in our pursuit of God we have a tendency to settle for less, much less. Specifically, if we’re not careful, we can fool ourselves into thinking that somehow we can love God without actually loving other people as well. The truth is, however, that genuine love doesn’t work that way. Either we love our heavenly Father, our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and those outside the family of God, or we don’t love at all. It’s that simple. Either we share our inheritance with those in need, or we have it taken away. Those are the rules: love, love, love, or lose, lose, lose. Your turn.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” — John 3:16
Additional Scriptures: John 14:6; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:1
It sure is easy to lose our way in this world — to get in the wrong car with the wrong people going the wrong way. In fact, sometimes it seems like that’s the only option we have, like life has been determined for us with very few options along the way. Birth, family, school, friends, career, marriage, kids, retirement, sickness, loss, and death. Eighty years, give or take, and each one passing faster than the last. But that’s not how it was meant to be. It was meant to be filled with faith and hope and love, with meaning and purpose and delight, and with other people whose lives were meant for the same. It was meant to be a joyride from beginning to end, and for eternity after that. If that’s the kind of life you’re looking for, then come on, hop in. Jesus is driving.
- Beyond Belief
Then Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their very life?”– Luke 9:23-25
Additional Scriptures: Mark 1:14-15; Philippians 2:12-13; James 2:14-17; 1 John 2:3-6
When it comes to measuring the quality of our lives, few of us feel like we rolled five sixes. But that’s because we tend to use the wrong standard. In God’s economy, the larger-than-life life is the one that looks most like Jesus. It’s the life of obedience to and intimacy with the Father. It’s the life of faithfulness and fruitfulness, the life of “not my will but thine be done.” It’s the crucified life that leads to the resurrected life. And ultimately, it’s the life of divine paradox: when we move beyond mere belief in God to a radical trust in God, then life becomes better than we ever thought possible. In fact, it becomes unbelievable. Yahtzee!
- 3-Fold Groups are our small groups whose participants commit to gather weekly for prayer and encouragement.
- Life Groups are our mid-size groups whose participants commit to gather bi-weekly for study, fellowship, prayer and encouragement.
- Sundays @10 is our large group whose participants commit to gather weekly for corporate worship.
- Catalyst is our Sunday morning education hour in which we are trained to live as indigenous missionaries at all times and in all contexts of our lives.
- Missional Living is not a program or a gathering but a way of life in which we both pursue and share life beyond belief.
- the corporate experience of encountering the Lord in spirit and truth
- the powerful witness of loving one another as Jesus has loved us
- the life-long process of becoming like Christ
- the disciplined pursuit of communing with God through unceasing conversation
- the costly commitment of sharing the privileges of the kingdom with others
The metrics of the kingdom of God look a lot different from those used in most, if not all, other contexts of life.
It’s a paradoxical kingdom in which the meek, the poor in spirit, and the persecuted are called blessed. It’s the sort of kingdom in which loss leads to gain, surrender leads to victory, and death leads to life. It’s the kind of kingdom where the lost are found, the last are first, the slaves are great, and the humble are lifted up. It’s an upside-down kingdom in which the standards we use to measure growth, health, and success are radically different from the ones often celebrated within our culture.
As a result, we continue to wrestle with how to identify helpful metrics to our life in Christ. We do know for certain, though, that regular repentance from dead works and ever-increasing faith in Christ are the standards to which we are called, and so we strive to create a culture in which success looks more and more like that.