I hope you caught the full impact of our recently completed Love the City series. It was a serious look at how the evil one has infected the lives of many Christians in 2022. We looked at six “temptations” which knock on our doors every day — six attitudes that, if we allow them to, will torpedo any chance of our loving the city like Jesus wants us to. Here they are again: comfort, convenience, control, comparison, consumerism, and conceit… Have you seen one or more of these “love the city robbers” in your mirror lately? None of them fit with The Way of Jesus… No, Jesus proclaims something entirely different for His followers. I encourage you to revisit these six messages online, maybe more than once — yes, they are that important for us to understand…
This Sunday we will begin another six-week series from the book of Amos in the Old Testament. Amos was a shepherd/prophet who lived in the eighth century BC. His message from God to Israel spoke about (surprise, surprise) some of the exact same temptations we face in the 21st century — comfort, convenience, control, comparison, consumerism, and conceit. I’m amazed at how applicable the book of Amos is to our modern-day living. But let me warn you, Amos didn’t mince words. His message from God to Israel was a stinging rebuke and a call for change, plus a warning about what would happen if they refused…
I will be using some terms (descriptive words) in this series that may generate some questions. Unfortunately, modern society has distorted some terms by giving them secular connotations. Even Christians may reject some of these terms, but I believe these descriptions were and are from God. We need to reclaim them the way God intended. If you have any of these concerns, please reach out to me, let’s talk. Otherwise, I will do my best to clear them up as we go.
I think it is of utmost importance that we try to fully grasp WHO Jesus said He was. According to Luke, Jesus began His ministry in Nazareth, His hometown. He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. It was customary for the younger men to take their turn reading from the Old Testament scriptures during the service. I believe it was God’s plan that this exact reading that day was from the book of Isaiah. This is what He read…
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim
liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:18-19 ESV
Jesus rolled up the scroll and said (verse 21), “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” I wish I could have been there. Then again, given the circumstances of this time, I’m not sure I would have believed Him. After all, the people in the synagogue became angry with Jesus that day and even attempted to throw Him off a cliff!
After John the Baptist had been arrested, two of his disciples approached Jesus and asked if He was the one, or if they should keep looking for the Messiah. I love what Jesus said,
And he answered them,
“Go and tell John what you have seen and heard:
the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed,
and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up,
the poor have good news preached to them.
And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Luke 7:22-23 ESV
Jesus’ message was and is surprising. The first-century Jews expected a different Messiah, a triumphant warrior, certainly not one who claimed He had only come to heal people! Jesus' call to people was to see that His coming was a time for God to be gracious and change lives, not build an army to fight their enemies.
I think we will see that this is what Amos was trying to address, too.
The Gospel of Jesus causes a reaction in people. Sometimes the reaction leads to embracing Him. Other times, people reject Him. The Gospel is offensive, especially to those who have their own interests, their own agendas, and their own lives challenged by God’s grace.
Grace and Peace!