Flip the Script

Key Scripture: John 12:12-19

Palm Sunday. The day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. “The Triumphal Entry.” But have you ever wondered what made it so triumphant? After all, didn’t they crucify Jesus at the end of the week? Many people at that time sided with Jesus for the same reason some Pharisees and others sided with Rome. They thought Jesus could do for them what Rome had done for their rulers—deliver them from the oppressive system under which they lived and make their lives better. Jesus never did what they wanted him to do, so they quickly changed their minds and wanted to get rid of Him. However, God had a much different and much better plan. He has a better plan for your life today, as well. Will you choose His script, or insist on your own?

Scripture References: Isaiah 55:8-9, Zechariah 9:9, Luke 19:41-44, Psalm 118:22-24, Romans 5:1-2, Romans 8:28

Change Your Mind

Key Scripture: Colossians 3:18-4:18

The reason most of us come to church is to get help with our relationships. Our marriage is struggling, our family is failing, and people are constantly disappointing us. God’s Word is clear: The Truth of Christ and good news of the gospel is our only hope for a changed life and healthier relationships. Why, then, do so many of us still struggle? Nothing in our lives will ever change until how we think about everything changes. Our minds are naturally conformed to the world’s self-focused way of thinking. Jesus came to transform us by renewing our minds. He came to show us that the surest way to get over our problems is to get over ourselves. Worship and sacrifice free us to experience the fullness of life Jesus offers us. To experience life change, we need a change of mind.

Scripture References: Romans 12:2, 2 Timothy 3:1-2, Matthew 16:25, Revelation 5:11-14

Truly Different

Key Scripture: Colossians 3:1-17

Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay the penalty for our sins and to give us new life in Him. This new life includes a new way of thinking. As followers of Christ, our mindset is different than it used to be. Why? Because our mind is no longer set on worldly things that are here and now. Instead, our minds are set in a different realm – above with Christ, in eternity. Our old life is dead and our new life is now found only in Him. He is our present and our future! As our thinking changes, so does the way we live and the way we love others. What is your mindset?

Scripture References: Romans 8:5-8, John 10:10, John 14:6, Ephesians 3:19-20, Galatians 2:20

Exclusive Truth

Key Scripture: Colossians 2:1-23

Truth isn’t popular. Our world prides itself in being “inclusive” to all truth, yet all truth is exclusive by nature. Jesus claimed to be the exclusive Truth and the only Way to God. To call Him just another great religious teacher is to seriously misunderstand Who He is and what He said about Himself. He came to pay the infinite and impossible debt we owed God because of our sin. This means we no longer have to keep working to pay it off through exceptional moral living or religious performance. We can rest assured in the Truth that our sins are forgiven and we are righteous in Christ, regardless of how we might feel in any given moment. This is truth worth celebrating!

Scripture References: Matthew 18:23-27, Jeremiah 17:9, Luke 8:13

Gospel Truth

Key Scripture: Colossians 1:15-29

The only Truth that can change lives and change our world is the Truth of Jesus Christ. He is the perfect expression and visible representation of God to us, the One who made all things and holds everything together. As we get to know Him more, we become more like Him; as we become more like Him, we become less like this world. This difference will always bring opposition from those who stand against the good things of God. As Christ followers, we must be willing to endure any hardships that result from our standing for the Truth of the Gospel. We must speak boldly about sin, grace and the Cross of Jesus Christ. We must never be ashamed of the good news of Jesus – for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes!

Scripture References: John 5:39, John 14:6, Philippians 3:8, Hebrews 1:1-3, John 1:1, James 4:4, John 15:18, Acts 4:29, Romans 10:13-14, Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-24

The Truth

Key Scripture: Colossians 1:1-14

Countless Christians in the American Church today live in fear of standing for Truth and supporting the authority of Scripture. Why? Because we’re afraid of offending people and being labeled “one of those” narrow-minded and intolerant Christians. The result is often a timid, silent, and private form of Christianity that bears little resemblance to the revolutionary, world-changing Faith of the early Church. While our efforts to show God’s love to others must continue in full force, we must never stop boldly proclaiming His Truth. But we can’t proclaim what we don’t first possess ourselves. It’s time to once again cultivate a hunger for the knowledge of Christ and the Truth of His Word. It’s time to hold fast to the gospel as if life itself depends on it – because now more than ever, it most certainly does.

Scripture References: Colossians 4:6, Amos 8:11-12, Joshua 1:8

Love

Key Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Our world has many problems and God wants to use His Church to do something about them. However complicated and challenging this might seem, the ultimate goal of the Christian life is quite simple: Love. Jesus made it clear that a genuine and lived-out love for others is the distinguishing mark of His followers. Without love, all of the programs, plans and charitable organizations in this world amount to nothing, and we have missed what it means to be Christian. A troubled world is crying out for Help. Let us answer and affect change one person at a time by loving well.

Scripture References: 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Colossians 3:14, 1 John 4:7-8, John 13:35

Gun Violence

Key Scripture: Genesis 4:1-18

Gun violence and mass shootings have become a pervasive and petrifying problem in our country. Since 1982, there have been 109 mass shootings in the U.S. that have left 883 dead and 1,328 wounded. It seems no place in our society is really safe, as these acts of violence have taken place at schools, the workplace, restaurants, and even churches. Gun violence as a whole results in more than 11,000 murders every year in our country and more than 20,000 deaths by suicide. When the news breaks of yet another shooting, the public debate over gun control and mental health begins anew. How do we stop this evil from happening? To stop violence in our country ultimately requires going to the source of the problem: the human heart. When a person feels extreme rejection from an individual or from society as a whole, that hurt can turn into anger and acts of vengeance. As the Church, we must show people they are known and loved and give them a place to belong. We must also examine our own hearts for any evidence of anger or bitterness and sever the root of violence through the grace and forgiveness found in Christ.

Scripture References: Matthew 5:21-22, Hebrews 11:4, Genesis 3:15, Romans 6:14, Hebrews 12:24, Matthew 5:23-24, Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 2:13

Immigration

Key Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

Immigration and mass migration have become complicated and divisive problems in our country. Since 1960, the U.S. has continued to serve as the top destination for international migrants as the land of freedom and opportunity. This influx has led to increasingly tense public debate over our national economy and security as we struggle to balance our humanitarian responsibility with our ability to care for humanity. Is the ultimate solution walls and travel bans, or can we make a greater difference as the Church? Immigration is a problem for our country because the Church has failed in her imitation of our Christ. God repeatedly calls His people to care for the foreigner and love the immigrant, not as a matter of public policy but as a matter of personal responsibility. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan reminds us that the surest solution to immigration concerns is not an open or closed border, but the open doors of the Church and Christian homes. Will we love others the way He has loved us?

Other Scripture References: Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Psalm 146:9, Leviticus 19:9-10, Leviticus 19:33-34, James 2:15-16, 1 John 3:17-18, Matthew 25:35, John 8:48