When Jesus mentions that his betrayer is one of the twelve seated at the table in Luke 22, his disciples quickly transition from questioning who would turn against Jesus to boasting of their own accomplishments and clamoring for greatness. But true greatness, as Andrew Schey points out, comes from emptying ourselves of our selfish ambition and extending grace to others. When everyone else is climbing to the top, we must take our cues from Jesus and live a life of service.
This weekend we picked up where we left off in our Luke series, with Brian Sumner unpacking Luke 21 and the signs of the end of the age. Although much is said in this passage, it is helpful to approach Jesus' discussion of the temple with bifocal vision in which we can see what's near and what's distant. Noting that many of us can get caught up in the details and experience anxiety about the end of times, Brian echoes Jesus' words that we should stand firm and be on watch so that we will not be deceived.
In the conclusion of our Presence series, Andrew Schey explains how God's temple has always been a place where His presence resides and where all people are drawn to worship and praise Him (1 Kings 8:41-43; Isaiah 2:2-3). Although this same glorious presence now resides in us, we often fail to share this light with others due to our ultra-private, modern lifestyles. Using the imagery from Matthew 5:14-16 in which a light shines before others, Andrew explains that the main attraction of a church should be us as a people because God is in our hearts and working through us. As such, we must carry God's presence in our city wherever we go by living out what we believe and sharing the Gospel message in both word and deed.
As we enter into our third week of the Presence series, Andrew Schey brings us face to face with the reality that we unite with God when we love each other. The activities of going to church, praying, studying the Bible, and participating in worship are all preparing us to make substantial personal investments in the lives of other people. In light of Jesus' words in Matthew 25:34-40, if we ignore the needs of the least of our brothers and sisters, we will neglect God among us.
In the second installment of our series exploring the presence of God, Andrew Schey urges us to reconsider how we perceive God's Spirit in and around us. Much like equating the act of breathing with the presence of air, we should look for the common evidences pointing to the work of the Spirit in every aspect of our lives. In doing so, we find that the question isn't "Where is the Spirit of God working today?" but "Where isn't the Spirit of God at work?"
As we kick off our four-week vision series on the presence of God, Andrew Schey teaches from the Old Testament to illustrate how God is continually working to reunite people into relationship with Him as in the Garden of Eden. However, just like the man who fashions an idol out of a felled tree in Isaiah 44:14-20, our lack of critical reflection on our behaviors leads us to neglect God's presence in our lives. In order to avoid climbing a ladder to nowhere, we must enter into a meaningful, face-to-face friendship with God that distinguishes us from the rest of the world. Because without His presence, nothing else matters.
In Luke 20:27-40, Jesus is presented with a seemingly trick question by the Sadducees who are attempting to prove that there is no afterlife. Jesus proceeds to dismantle their futile worldview by correcting their assumptions about heaven and demonstrating that God is the God of the living. As Chris Shaddix explains, if we're fixated on the temporary things right in front of us, we will never find fulfillment. Instead, we need to retrain our vision through scripture, worship, communion, and prayer in order direct our eyes to God in hope and expectation of what is to come.
After His authority is questioned by the chief priests, Jesus goes on to tell the Parable of the Tenants in Luke 20:1-19, illustrating just how intoxicating power can be. As Andrew Schey explains, spiritual leaders shouldn't be lobbied by culture or congregations to remain at the top, but should instead recognize Jesus as the only authority. When we're lead by Jesus, we can build our lives on the one true cornerstone and avoid being crushed by the weight of our sin.
In this installment of our series, Andrew Schey leads us through Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem detailed in Luke 19:28-48. Despite arriving to shouts of praise from his followers, Jesus is quickly met with disdain from the Pharisees and corruption in the temple. He knows that in just a short while, Jerusalem will not only condemn him to death, but also be destroyed by invading armies. How did the long-anticipated Messiah become unrecognizable to the religious leaders around him? As we find in this teaching, we too can miss the God of the universe right in front of us by looking for the wrong things in the wrong places.
As we continue our series, Brock Snook unpacks the scene in Luke 19:1-9 in which a despised tax collector, Zacchaeus, climbs a sycamore tree to see Jesus pass through a crowd. When Jesus calls him out of the tree in order to be a guest at Zacchaeus's home, we find that salvation is available to anyone who simply accepts Jesus’ free invitation. However, if you don't decide to come down from your tree, you not only reject Him as your savior, but also force Him to be your judge.