Following Jesus into hostile territory can get challenging at times and even lead to a crisis of faith. If you’ve ever had a crisis of faith or seen someone else have one, you know it can be a disorienting and devastating time in our lives. So what should we do when this happens? In this message, we look at a crisis of faith that John the Baptist experienced and how Jesus instructed him and those watching to handle it.
At different points in each of our lives God has called or will call us to something beyond ourselves. Situations where we feel like we are inadequate or unprepared to succeed. This can cause us to feel guilty, sad, or even angry at God and ourselves. On Sunday we will talk about why God does this and how success in these situations is more attainable then we realize.
Last week we began discussion how when Jesus call us into the harvest, He calls us into a battle between two Kingdoms. He doesn’t want us to be naïve, but He doesn’t want us to be anxious about it. Rather, He just wants us to be prepared. Sometimes following Him into this battle takes a toll on some of our most important relationships, so Jesus wants us to be prepared to think about those costs with the right perspective.
In calling us into the harvest, Jesus calls us into a battle between two Kingdoms. As part of our preparation, Jesus sets realistic expectations about the battlefield into which He will send us. Jesus does not want us to be naïve, but neither does He want us to worry – He just wants us to be prepared!
Jesus called the Twelve Apostle to Himself and gave them an assignment to go out into the community and proclaim the Kingdom of God. Does Jesus’ assignment apply to us in any way? If so, how?
Jesus said ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’ This statement almost seems hard to believe considering the incredible things Jesus was doing in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Yet, there are several things that might keep us from joining Jesus on this adventure of the harvest.
If we do not realize how desperate we are for God, then we miss the joy of relationship with Him. One the other hand, if we are constantly haunted by a feeling that we can never be good enough for God, our joy is stolen. But when we realize that God has made a way for desperate, broken, imperfect people to experience the joy of relationship with Him, then we can really celebrate. But this seems so counterintuitive to us that it requires a revolution in our thinking. Sunday we continued our King and Kingdom series in Matthew’s Gospel.
Jesus calls us to follow Him and He knows what we need to let go of in order to receive the blessings of following Him. This can mean that we follow Him into unknown and stormy places. It can mean we follow Him into great spiritual battles. It can mean we are scorned by others because of our association with Him. Yet, who else would we want to follow? On Sunday, we follow Jesus into spiritual adventure.
When Jesus began his ministry, He announced that the Kingdom of God is near and available to all who will humble themselves before God and believe that Jesus is God and Savior of the world. Then He immediately began healing people and casting out demons. What is the connection and what does that mean for us today? On Sunday, we resumed our ‘King and Kingdom’ series in The Gospel of Matthew.
When Jesus filled the Apostles’ nets with fish, the weight was so heavy that their nets were breaking and their boats were sinking! In desperation, they called to one another for help. They were transformed in an instant from confident fishermen to clumsy novices as they tried to salvage the situation themselves. Jesus performed in a similar miracle at the end of his ministry. This time, the Apostles were much quicker to recognize that Jesus was in it and things went much more smoothly as they reeled in the catch. So what might that mean for us as a church? Last week we spoke of casting out our nets. But what if God fills them? How can we be prepared for that?