Own it!

Key Scripture: Titus 1:1-5

There’s no such thing as a perfect church, at least not according to our standards. But what if Church was imperfect by design? In God’s blueprint for the church we don’t just have members, we have owners. Ownership is a different way of thinking. If you’re a gym member and a machine breaks or something needs cleaning, you visit the front desk and let someone know. It’s up to them to fix the problem. However, if you’re an owner of that gym, you roll up your sleeves and take care of the problem. The way many Christians see themselves and their God given role in the church is not the way God designed it to be. As we understand our identity as a servant of Christ, we become less concerned with problems we see and more concerned with the solution God calls us to be.

Other Scripture References:  Romans 12:2, Luke 9:23, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10

Why Would God Send People to Hell?

Key Scripture: Revelation 21:1-8

If God is love, then why would He send people to hell? Most people have a very disturbing picture of hell as God’s underground torture chamber where well-intentioned people are forever punished for making some mistakes. It’s seen as the final destination for those who don’t “pass God’s test” of goodness during their time on earth. While this way of thinking is common, it’s just not true. Hell is real, and is God’s ultimate means of righting all that is wrong in our world. It is God’s final condemnation of sin and the evil that corrodes and corrupts His creation. Hell serves a very specific purpose in God’s greater plan of redeeming and reconciling earth and heaven to Himself. It is a place where evil is purged once and for all, so His people can live in His peace forever.

Other Scripture References: 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Revelation 20:11-15; Psalm 115:16; Revelation 21:1-4; Colossians 1:19-20; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 20:10; Matthew 13:41-43; Jeremiah 19:1-6; Revelation 22:14-15

Why Can’t People Love Who They Want?

Key Scripture: Jude 1:1-16

If God is love, then shouldn’t people be free to love who they want? Public opinion in our country is rapidly shifting toward answering this question in the affirmative. From Hollywood to mainstream media to government legislation to the church - homosexuality and same-sex marriage are being supported as the “civil rights” issue of our day. Our world tells us that all love is from God, because God is love. However, do we really even understand what love is? The greatest love any human being can experience does not come from another person; it comes from our Creator who has defined love for us and demonstrated it on the Cross. As the Church, we must help others know His love and His plan for them.

Other Scripture References: Romans 1:24-32; Ephesians 5:1-7

Why are People Sexually Assaulted?

Key Scripture: 2 Samuel 13:1-19

If God is love, then why doesn’t He do something about sexual assault? The recent #MeToo movement brought to the forefront of cultural conversation a problem that extends far beyond Hollywood. For many, sexual assault isn’t just a public nuisance but a very real source of personal hurt and shame. While raising awareness is important and strict laws are essential, do these really remedy a problem that is so destructive? The root of sexual assault is a perverted understanding of God’s pure and perfect plan for sex. Our world sees sex as an exchange of physical pleasure requiring real consent. However, God says sex is an expression of spiritual oneness requiring relational Covenant. As the Church, we must relearn and live out God’s divine design for sex. Only then can He use us to help others experience freedom and healing from sexual assault and sin. Only then can we be free ourselves.

Other Scripture References: Leviticus 18:9; 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 6:22-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Genesis 2:23-24; Deuteronomy 22:28-29; Ephesians 5:11

Why is There Hunger?

Key Scripture: Genesis 25:29-34

If God is love, then why are people all over the world starving to death? According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, malnourishment and starvation affect more than 800 million people every year. This tragedy is even greater in light of the fact that there is enough food in our world to feed them all. The problem isn’t a lack of resources, but a deeper problem of the human heart. Hunger is the brain’s response to detecting a need for nourishment. It indicates an emptiness. This emptiness can be physical, but it can also be emotional or spiritual. We can hunger for food, or for acceptance and social validation. Before we can solve the problem of hunger in the world, we must satisfy the starvation of the human soul. Only then will we learn to be contributors in a world of consumers and to give of ourselves to those in need.

Other Scripture References: Philippians 3:17-21; Matthew 5:6; 1 John 2:15; Ecclesiastes 1:1-8; Ecclesiastes 2:1-11; 1 Timothy 6:6-7; Philippians 4:11

Why is There War?

Key Scripture: Romans 12:14-21

If God is love, then why is there war? Pride, greed, jealousy and ambition have produced a world history saturated with war and strife. Even countries not currently “at war” suffer from wars of race, politics and more. The many evils of the heart have produced untold amounts of pain and suffering, and it will certainly get worse before it gets better. Jesus told us that the closer we get to the Day of God’s ultimate wrath against evil, wars and rumors of war will increase. Only when that Day comes will war be no more. Until then, we as the Church are called to resist the advancement of evil in our world and protect the sanctity of life. We are also called to make peace and to pursue understanding with all men. We’re called to set aside the prideful roots of contention and to set aside our own interests for the interests of God and others. With whom do you need to make peace today?

Other Scripture References: Isaiah 2:3-4; Matthew 5:9; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 10:4; James 1:19; James 4:1-2; Matthew 24:6-8; James 3:16-18; Romans 12:17-21

Why Does Evil Exist?

Key Scripture: Exodus 34:6-7

If God is love, then why does evil exist? If He is able to remove evil from this world and from my life, then why doesn’t He? These questions are among the most common objections unbelievers have to the Christian faith. While the problem seems complex, the solution is actually quite simple: God isn’t responsible for the evil in this world; we are. He created the possibility of evil so that you and I could experience true goodness, love and real relationship with Him. The good news? God restrains and remains sovereign over the evil in this world, and one Day He will do away with it once and for all. For many, however, the problem of evil is more personal than philosophical. When we suffer from the evil in our fallen creation, our only Hope is found in our unfailing Creator. Trust our God who is Love!

Other Scripture References: Romans 5:12; Genesis 6:5-7; Ezekiel 36:26-27; Romans 5:17; 2 Peter 3:9-10, 13; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

Without Question

Key Scripture: 1 John 4:7-12

God is love…Or is He? One look at the overwhelming amount of tragedy, chaos and evil in our world is enough to cause many to question the love of God. Love is at the core of who God is, but it’s not all that God is. He is also holy, righteous and just. He is a God of wrath against sin and all that is evil in His creation. These attributes are not inferior to His love, nor are they in conflict with it. In fact, God is loving in His holiness, righteousness and justice. All of God’s attributes exist in perfect harmony with each other. Most importantly, God’s love isn’t just an idea we talk about at church; it’s a reality that every one of us has an opportunity to receive and experience today. Is God love? Without question.

Other Scripture References: Romans 5:6-8; Psalm 90:2; Romans 8:31-39; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9

Building a Legacy

Key Scripture: 1 Chronicles 22:11-16

Description: The surest way to build a legacy is by building a family. The breakdown of the family unit has led to a number of social problems in our world today – from crime to mental health issues to economic crises. Ours is a generation that does some occasional “adulting,” but refuses to live as adults who place the needs of others before their own. God’s call on His people is to build His Church by building the Family – the fundamental unit of disciple-making on earth. The family is our first Church; our first place of worship, fellowship and instruction in God’s Word. Parents can have a more powerful influence in the lives of their kids at the dinner table than paid professionals can have every day in a classroom. Invest in your family and engage those God has put in your life. Live to leave a legacy!

Other Scripture References: 1 Kings 2:1-2; John 21:18; 1 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Peter 2:5; Matthew 28:19; Matthew 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 11:1

Don't Flatter Yourself

Key Scripture: Ruth 4:1-22

Description: Flattery gets us nowhere, yet we see it everywhere. We flatter ourselves through religious performance – in trying to convince ourselves and others that we’re better than we actually are. There is nothing flattering about the Gospel, however. It reveals the reason we do bad things is because we’re bad people. It says we have nothing to offer God but irredeemable spiritual debt. Still, the good news of the Gospel is that God has redeemed the irredeemable. It tells us we don’t need to flatter ourselves because we are infinitely valued by our Creator and Redeemer. It reminds us that our hope isn’t in how we might feel about ourselves, but in how He feels about us. God doesn’t owe us a “happily ever after” in this life; but He has promised us a “happily FOREVER after” with Him for all eternity.

Other Scripture References: Psalm 5:9; Proverbs 26:28; Romans 16:18; Matthew 22:15-18; Mark 10:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Romans 3:10-12; Romans 3:23-24; Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 5:7-9