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.
In this message from Luke 18:15-18, Andrew Schey teaches on the importance of becoming like a little child before God to receive His blessing. As his disciples attempted to turn away parents seeking Jesus' blessing for their babies, Jesus challenged societal values and hierarchy by blessing children, though they were unworthy in their weakness and lack of righteousness. As a child, you too must embrace your weakness and acknowledge your needs If you are to receive Jesus' blessing.
In a parable from Luke 18:9-14, Jesus teaches the importance of humility, as those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. The simplicity of this teaching can cause the message to be overlooked. However, as teacher Kyle Vick points out, a true understanding and practice of the humility Jesus is after is challenging, but Jesus himself says that the one who is humble is justified before God. Are you willing to name your needs and shortcomings before Jesus, who wants to bless you?
In this teaching from Luke 17:20-18:8, Jesus answered the question of when the Kingdom of God would come, describing a present spiritual reality rather than a calendar date. In this study, Brian Sumner challenges all who hear this teaching not to limit it to a literal, physical understanding of the details and how the events of the end times will happen, but to receive this as a teaching for you today. While the Second Coming of Jesus has not yet happened, the Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality if your eyes are open to the miracles of God around you and you are living an active, urgent life for God, preparing the way as a preacher of the gospel in whatever position or community God has placed you.
Andrew Schey leads this study on Luke 17:11-19, which records the account of Jesus healing ten lepers as he was traveling along the border of Samaria and Galilee. While all nine were physically healed, only one came back to thank Jesus, and only one was healed spiritually and received salvation. What separated him from the other nine was simply his heart of gratitude, which is the door to eternal life. Are you more concerned with physical healing and improving your immediate circumstances, or are you concerned with eternal wellness and thanking the Giver for your blessings?