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  • When God Suffers

Why is there so much pain in the world?

God’s solution for pain is not to tell you to lower your standards, or that it’s all your fault, or that you should stop complaining if you don’t want to fail the test. God’s solution is to sit beside you in your pain, take that pain upon himself, and win for you eternal life in a place where there will be no pain ever again.

What If I Have Doubts?

Jesus discourages doubt. But he doesn’t discourage doubters… Instead, Jesus draws near to doubters. He comes to us in his Word. And there, he not only provides proof and eyewitness testimony for events like the resurrection – but he also provides an unexpectedly beautiful look in to the love of God for his human creatures.

God’s Solution to Death

God has not “cheated death.” God has not “robbed the grave.” God has not “found a way around death,” or “provided an alternative option to death.” God has swallowed up death forever! Death is gone… because sin is gone.”

Good Friday

Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You took upon yourself what was mine, and set upon me what was yours. You became what you were not, so that I might become what I was not.

Maundy Thursday

In the sacrament of Communion, Jesus takes the spiritual and makes it physical. He takes the unseen and makes it seen. He takes his true body and blood, the forgiveness of sins he has won for all mankind, and makes it into something we can touch, and hold, and taste, and see….

Palm Sunday

When times get hard, it is far too easy for us to slide off the bandwagon, and step quietly away from Jesus. But thankfully we have a Savior who never steps away from us…

God’s Soul is Troubled

If you have ever suffered from deep sadness… if you have ever suffered from crippling anxiety… if your soul has ever been overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death… you have a Savior who sits beside you in that suffering. Jesus knows how these things feel.

God Gives His Own Son to Save Us

2,000 years after God dramatically provided a ram to take Isaac’s place on the altar, he just as dramatically provided the Lamb of God to take our place upon the cross! And in so doing God saved not only our lives, but also the lives of our children and their children and everyone else in the world who believes in him.

Strength in Weakness

God’s love is the greatest gift he has ever given to us. And understanding God’s love is the key to understanding everything else about him… including why he looked so weak on the cross. He was taking our sin to give us his holiness. He was taking our weakness to give us his strength. He was taking our death to give us his life.

God works through earthly suffering for eternal good

Jesus took the hardest thing in this world – the problem of suffering – and turned it into the very means by which he saved us! Jesus will take the scariest thing in this world – the day of our death – and turn it into the gateway to eternal life! What a powerful God we have…

God Conquers Temptation For Us

Do you ever get exhausted from fighting Satan’s temptations. Do you ever feel burned out and just ready to give up? It is for these exact times that God sends you his Word – to remind you that Jesus knows what you’re going through, to remind you that in Jesus the battle against temptation has already been won, to silence the devil’s lies and to remind you of the truth.

A Glimpse of Glory

This side of heaven, suffering is necessary. It was necessary for Jesus, to actually pay for our sins and rescue us eternally. And it’s necessary for us, to raise our eyes up from this world and make us long for something better. But suffering doesn’t forever. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t last long at all…

Jesus Teaches With Authority

Spiritually speaking. . . if you’ve got nothing but the Savior, you’ve got everything. But if you’ve got everything but the Savior, you’ve got nothing.

The First of Many Miracles

Through Jesus’ many miracles, God proved that he was legit. He really was who he said he was. He really was the Son of God! And the reason this is so important is that only the Son of God can help us with our very biggest problems…

The Light Shines Through Jesus’ Disciples

As we hear God’s Word over and over, it continually reminds us of two things:
1.) We are forgiven, and nothing and nobody can take that away from us.
2.) The most important thing we can ever do in life is to share that forgiveness with others.

The Light Shines Through John the Baptist

What we see happening through John the Baptist is an inevitable trend that happens in the hearts of all believers. When Jesus’ light shines TO you…the logical next step is that it shines THROUGH you. When you understand the beautiful good news of the gospel for yourself, you naturally want to share it with others.

A Light to the Nations

It is during the hardest, darkest times that God reaches the most new people with the gospel… and it is during the hardest, darkest times that God helps those who already believe to appreciate his gospel the most.

God’s Son is Our Brother

What happened on Christmas frames the way we view our world all year long. On Christmas, God’s Son chose to become our brother. And he lived, he died, he rose, so that we get to be part of God’s eternal family

The Fulfillment of all God’s Promises

The sending of Jesus establishes God’s track record. No matter how many promises God has made, all of them are ‘yes’ in Christ. And that’s the comfort we can take with us as we move from 2020 into 2021….

Hope Has Arrived

The message of Christmas gives us strength to endure all the trials of life. We know that God loved us enough to enter our world in human flesh, so that he might rescue us and bring us to a better world someday!

Waiting for Peace

On the real Christmas, Jesus brought you real peace. Peace between you and God. Peace that lasts even after every Christmas decoration is packed away. Peace that lasts… forever.

Waiting for Justice

How should Christians deal with the injustice we still see in this sin-broken world? Should we make it our #1 goal to eradicate every injustice from the face of the earth? Or, should we simply accept that this world is broken beyond repair, injustice happens, and there’s nothing we can do about it? God’s answer is “Neither…”

Waiting for Forgiveness

As you go home from church, thinking about what Jesus actually went through for you, you are a bit shaken but also you are also at peace. Because your sin and guilt have not been ignored, or covered up, or left for you to solve on your own. They have been brought out in the open, and dealt with by God. You have been forgiven.

Waiting for Something Better

Christmas 2020 is going to be weird, and different, and people are not going to like it. But none of that can change the fact that on the first Christmas, God sent his one and only Son into this world to win eternal life for you. Because of that baby in the manger, no matter how good or bad our life in this world may be…. We know that the best is yet to come.

Generosity in Spreading the Gospel

Jesus lost everything, so that we could gain everything. Jesus took our sin, death, and hell, so that we could enjoy his forgiveness, life, and heaven. With that fact in our back pocket – this whole earthly life looks different, doesn’t it? We’re only here for a little while before we go to heaven… and so instead of accumulating money and possessions for ourselves, we want to use them to share the love of Jesus with others.

Generosity in the City

As an individual, you cannot solve systemic issues of poverty, any more than you can solve systemic issues of racism or anything else. But what you can do is love and help one person at a time, and let your light shine in the corner of the world where God has placed you.

Counter-Cultural Generosity

The best way to understand the concept of generosity is to be a recipient of it. The
best way to learn how to use your blessings for others, is to have someone else use all their blessings for
you. And this is what Jesus has done for us…

Ruth 4

God is constantly planting little seeds, through your words and actions, that may not fully burst into bloom until years after you’ve left this earth and gone to be with Jesus in heaven…

Ruth 3

The story of Ruth is a happy story indeed. Not just because of the things God did for Ruth –
but because as you read this story of loss and loneliness, of love and redemption, you realize that it’s
YOUR story too.

Ruth 2

Do you ever wish you were reading your story instead of living it, so you could skip to the end and just make sure that everything turns out OK? Well guess what? God lets you do this exact thing in his Word!

Ruth 1

A God who loves us unconditionally and sends his Son to rescue us for free?! That’s a God worth knowing. A God worth leaving home for. A God worth living for. A God worth dying for. Because when we die we simply go to be with him in heaven..

PURPOSE: The Story of Simon Peter

“As a child of God, no matter what happens in the world, no matter how scary or chaotic it gets, no matter what troubles enter your own life, no matter what troubles enter the lives of your loved ones… your life always has a purpose. And it is a purpose so deep, so rich, and so long-lasting that your life makes a difference for all eternity.

BELONGING: The Story of Zacchaeus

Jesus knows us, just like he knew Zacchaeus. He knows exactly what we’ve done. He knows all of our sins. And yet he still comes to us, and forgives us, and loves us when no one else will…

IDENTITY: The Story of Mary Magdalene

This is such an amazing concept that never gets old. Despite our sin, despite our rebellion, despite the fact that we fully deserve his eternal death penalty, how does God feel about us? He has “great love for us.” He is “rich in mercy” towards us. And so God came to us, spiritually dead people, and he “made us alive with Christ.

Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

When we hear and read God’s Word, it re-calibrates our conscience. And it reminds us that when God says our sins are forgiven, that means they’re forgiven… whether we feel it or not.

Christians Shouldn’t Judge

Jesus doesn’t want us to refrain from ever making moral and spiritual judgments about things. He wants us to make accurate judgments… and to do so with humility, love, and compassion.

God Has An Exact Blueprint For My Life

The Bible doesn’t tell you exactly what to do in every possible situation…rather, it tells you about your Savior Jesus, and then motivates and equips you to approach life from the viewpoint of God’s will.

Faith Can Fix Anything

True faith is not measured by the strength of our belief, but by the strength of the one we believe in.

Deliver us from evil

How is God possibly OK with the all evil and suffering in our world? The answer is – he’s not! God hates the evil in this world as much as we do. And that’s why God plans to make us a whole new world…

Lead us not into temptation

When it comes to defeating temptation, we need more than coaching, or tips, or best practices, or pep talks. We need a substitute. And in Jesus, that’s exactly what we have…

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us

Day after day, as we bring our sins to God and receive his forgiveness, God is working on a project inside of us. He is molding and shaping us to be more like him, to view the world like he does, and to view other people like he does….

Give us Today our Daily Bread

God will take care of us in our troubles no matter what. The only question is – will we stress out and worry ourselves sick the whole time? Or will we relax and let him do his thing?

Your Will Be Done

When we realize that we are not in control of any of the biggest things in life but we have a perfect loving God who is….. then our attitude begins to change. We can let go of frustration and anger and fear, we can turn away from dangerous coping mechanisms, and we can cling with hope to the promises of our God.

Your Kingdom Come

We don’t need someone to make our life in this broken world a just little bit more comfortable. What we need is a whole new world. A kingdom where we will actually be free. And that’s what Jesus came to earth to give us.

Hallowed Be Your Name

When we pray ‘hallowed be your name,’ we are asking God to help us live noticeably different lives, that will draw people to investigate further and realize that God is not who they thought he was. He’s a God of both justice and kindness, both power and love. He’s a God worth knowing.

Our Father in Heaven

Your existence is not some 1-in-a-million biological accident. Your Father in heaven specifically decided to make you. He wove you together and brought you into this world because he wanted you to be here, and because he wanted you to be YOU…

Hope that Stands Together

The devil wants to get us alone where he can attack us and destroy us. But as children of God we know that we’re stronger together.

The Power of Humility

Humility is counter-cultural. It’s unexpected. And so I pray that as God leads Christians through this moment in history with a humble attitude, not only will there be meaningful and lasting change… but there will be more people in our world willing to give Christianity a chance. Because they’ve seen it in action.

Hope in Suffering

And so, God works through suffering… he re-focuses us on who we are in Jesus, where we are going when we die, and what we should be doing along the way: glorifying God, and serving our fellow man.

Prepared to Answer

There is much more to be gained, by telling people about Jesus, than there is to be lost…

A Life That Looks Different

If you consistently display positivity and love in a world that so often is negative and hateful, you are going to stick out like a sore thumb. And people will be drawn to learn more about the counter cultural hope that you have…

A Hope That Makes You Essential

You’re not just essential to God – you’re essential to your the people around you. Now more than ever, God wants you to take the life-changing, hope-restoring, beautiful good news of what Jesus has done for us, and share it with your world.

A Hope that Endures Forever

Now is the time, more than ever, to hear God’s Word. To tune in to church. To take Bible Basics Class. To read the Bible at home. Because as you hear the living and enduring Word of God, God reminds you that you are living and enduring too, by the power of your risen Savior Jesus…

Living Hope

Hard times have a way of clarifying things. They help us remember who’s in charge of our lives. They help us remember where he’s taking us someday. And they help us remember why we’re still here… to bring the living hope of a resurrected Savior to a world that needs him now more than ever

Raised With Christ

Jesus’ resurrection proves that he was not faking. It proves he really was the Son of God. It proves our sins really are gone. It proves we really are going to heaven someday. And with all that in the back of our minds, there is nothing in this whole world that can dampen our Easter joy.

Palm Sunday: The King We Needed

God knows exactly what he’s doing. And we know that God knows exactly what he’s doing, because he gained our trust when he did the biggest thing of all: sending his One and Only Son to die on the cross and be our Savior.

Justified: The Gospel of the Courtroom

This week, I challenge you to let God be your #1 source of good news. Spend more time hearing from God than you reading about the coronavirus. And see how it impacts your attitude, your relationships, and your life…

Sacrifice: The Day of Atonement

What do you do with the guilt that you feel? Take it to Jesus! Lay it at the foot of his cross… You have a perfect Savior who lived for you and died for you and cast your sins as far away from you as the East is from the West.

Homecoming: The Gospel of Return from Exile

This world is not our home. We are foreigners and exiles here. But there is a perfect home waiting for us in heaven someday, because we have a Savior who was willing to exile himself in order to bring us home.

Victory: The Gospel of the Battlefield

By faith in Jesus, somehow, amazingly, even though you are fighting in a battle with a 100% death rate, it’s a battle that you will survive. In fact, it’s a battle that you will win.

Redemption: The Gospel of the Slave Auction

When Jesus died on the cross with your sins upon his shoulders, he set such a high value on you that nothing and nobody in this world can ever take it away…

The Workers in the Vineyard

Grace is not fair. Grace is not logical. Grace doesn’t make sense. And yet, grace is how our God operates…

The Sower and the Seed

As we hear this parable, it leads us to ask a natural question. Which kind of soil are we? And the answer is, at different times in life, we’re all of them…

Love is Meant to be Shared

God didn’t just keep his perfect love floating up in heaven somewhere, out of reach of human beings. Instead he chose to send his love into the world, in the person of Jesus Christ…

The Prodigal Son

The story of the Prodigal Son is all of our story. Every week we stray from God in a thousand ways; every Sunday we come stumbling home; and every single time God says “I love you. I’ve got you. I forgive you.” Our Father’s arms are open wide.

The Power of a Light

It would be easy for us to think that in an Atlanta metro area of 6 million people, we’re not going to be able to make a difference. But in the middle of a world as dark as ours, the power of a single light is an amazing thing…

A Life Worth Living

It’s important to have a reason for what we do, and not just do stuff. As Christians, we have a good reason to go to church. We go to church to get connected – connected with God through the beautiful gospel of Jesus, and connected with brothers and sisters in Christ who are walking through this life together with us. And those connections are what make the Christian life a life worth living.

A City Worth Loving

Whenever or however you got to Atlanta, rest assured, it was no accident. God put you here on purpose. And for as long as you’re here, God wants to make you a real and active blessing to your city…

A God Worth Knowing

It’s a little bit ironic, isn’t it? We live in a culture that is very familiar with the concept of religion, a culture where very many people have gone to church. And yet it’s a culture where very few people could tell you with confidence exactly where they’re at with God…

Light of the World

At Christmas we gather to remember the greatest gift God has ever given mankind. It is the gift of his Son: the Light of the World, and the reason why you and I never have to be afraid of the dark again.

Silent Night

God promises us peace. And not just someday in heaven – God promises us peace right here on this earth! It’s not a peace that’s defined by an absence of trouble; it’s a peace that’s defined by knowing that our God is in control.

Joy to the World

As we sing ‘Joy to the World,’ we’re not trying to summon generic Christmas cheer. We are looking forward to a real day, not long in the future, when our Savior will take away all sin, sufferings, problems, and pain forever.

Behold, A Branch Is Growing

Jesus didn’t just come to inspire us to be better people, or to make our world a better world – he came to save us from our sin and bring us to a perfect world, where there will be no such things as danger, fear, death and pain ever again.

Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel

To be a believer in God is to wait patiently – not a stress-filled kind of waiting, but a joyful anticipation of things that are to come.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

We don’t have to be afraid of the day the world ends – because “the end of the world as we know it” will only be “the beginning of the world the way it is truly meant to be.

The Resurrection of the Dead

As we walk through this world of pain and death, God grant us the confidence to view our bodies the way he views them: bodies which will be raised, and glorified, and brought to perfect heavenly life one day.

Judgment Day

When we realize that Jesus will be the judge, it changes the whole way we think about Judgment Day – because before we ever knew him as our Judge, we already knew him as our Savior.

The End is Near

Our society seems to have a natural sense that at some point the world is going to end. It just can’t keep going in its current state. In the Bible God takes these general concepts that human beings can only speculate about, and he fleshes them out and answers our questions. ‘Here,’ God says, ‘is what’s actually going to happen…’

You are your worst/best moment

Through faith in Jesus… God calls you a person who has done nothing wrong. God calls you a person who is holy, and pure, and righteous. God calls you his child. And when God calls you something… that’s what you are.

You Are What Other People Think/Say About You

When God says ‘you’re forgiven’ and ‘you’re not guilty,’ it is final and official and nobody can argue with it. What an incredible comfort!

You Are What You Do

Because of what Jesus has done for you, God has already declared you to be 100% successful. Because of what Jesus has done for you, God has already declared your life to be 100% meaningful. And that’s true no matter what is going on in your job situation. . .

You Are What You Have

“No matter how your earthly finances are doing – whether you would consider yourself rich, poor, or anything in between – through faith in Jesus, you will inherit the treasure of perfect heavenly life with God that lasts forever.”

The Thief on the Cross

The story of the thief on the cross proves – perhaps more clearly than anywhere else in the Bible – that you are not saved by what you do. You are saved by what Jesus did for you. . .

The Childless Woman

No matter what struggles you have, no matter what pain you feel, no matter what unkindness you have experienced from others, no matter what issues are going on in your family. . . .you are an important part of God’s story.

The Immigrant

Here is the reality of being a Christian: No matter what factors make you feel like a foreigner or a stranger in this world, you’re not a foreigner or stranger to God. Not anymore. . . .

The Introvert

God knows exactly what he’s doing. Some of the time – even most of the time – what he’s doing makes no sense to us. But our job isn’t to make sense of things, is it? Our job is to trust him. And when God’s people trust him, he does greater things in us and through us then we could have possibly imagined.

Psalm 73: Re-Focus

“When we have nothing else in the world to cling to, then we cling to Jesus like nothing else in the world.”

Psalm 32: Repent

When we sin, our instinct is to cover it up. . . .but this just makes things worse. The better move is to uncover our sin before God so he can remove it – and actually cover us, for real, in the pure, perfect righteousness of Christ.

Psalm 1: Refresh

When you are drinking deeply of God’s Word, God is giving you spiritual rest and refreshment. He equips you not only to handle the trials and temptations that life throws at you – but even to help and encourage other people as they go through trials and temptations too.

A Healthy Boast

May I never boast except in the fact that God looked down on the world and saw even me – a proud, selfish, arrogant sinner, looking down on other people and thinking I’m better than them – and God said “I want that proud, arrogant, selfish sinner in heaven someday

The Value of Consistency

The gospel eventually solves all of our problems. That’s why it is the backbone of a healthy spiritual diet. And, that’s why Paul was furious with the Galatians for trading in the gospel in exchange for something that amounted to spiritual junk food. . .

The Right Kind of Medicine

Wrap your arms around the cross of Jesus. Drink deeply of the medicine of his forgiving love. Cling tightly to his promises that he has done everything necessary for you to go to heaven. And don’t let anybody ever take this gospel away from you.

A Clean Diet

The pure gospel tastes good (because it lifts the pressure off your shoulders and gives you certainty of eternal life.) The pure gospel is good for you (because through it God connects you to him in bonds of faith that start now and last through all eternity.) And as such. . .the pure gospel is a spiritual food worth sharing.

Contextualization

The good news of the gospel is that because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven for free. . . and in fact no matter how hard we work our whole lives long, there is nothing we can do that makes us even one ounce “more saved” than we already are in Christ Jesus.

Influence

God influences the world through his people, and his activity makes our lives incredibly significant – even when the things he has tasked us with doing appear to be very ordinary.

Teamwork

No matter who you are, no matter who you are, no matter who you are! You have a TON to contribute to this church. Because you are a redeemed child of God with a unique combination of skills, interests, abilities, and personality that no one else in the whole world has. I can’t wait to see how God uses you as we work together to share Jesus with Atlanta.

Focus

Without Jesus, a church is just a gathering of people who like to hang out on Sundays. Maybe go out for brunch, take a selfie, and feel like you got your spiritual fix for the weekend. But with Jesus, a church is something completely different. It’s a group of starving people, rejoicing that they have found bread. It’s a group of terminally ill people, rejoicing that their disease has been cured. It’s a group of sinners, learning that they have been forgiven

Diversity

By the grace of God we look at the diversity within our community and we don’t see it as something we hate. . . we don’t see it as something we struggle with. . . rather, we see it as a tremendous blessing. Diversity among God’s people is a little taste of heaven.

Urgency

And looking down at all of that, Jesus looked at his disciples and said ‘You go save that world!’. And he looks at us, and your church here in the middle of Atlanta and he says, save them. Tell them that God’s love isn’t something that’s earned or bought, that God loves them, and gave his Son for them. Tell them that no matter who they are or what they’ve done, forgiveness and a place in heaven are waiting for them.

From Trouble to Triumph

In heaven, not only will you never face another problem which could make you shed tears again. . . .but you will be with a God who will hold you in his arms and wipe away all the hurt, tears, scars, and baggage of the past until they’re not even a distant memory.

From Fear to Confidence

When Jesus went to the cross on Good Friday, he saw how scared we were of death and said, like a loving big brother, “Don’t be scared – I’ll go first!” And now by his Easter resurrection Jesus powerfully encourages us. “See! I’m OK! There’s nothing to be scared of.” And sure enough, we’re no longer scared. In fact we can even be confident to face death someday . . . because we know that just like our big brother Jesus, we will rise again.

From Selfishness to Selfless Love

Even if Christians do all kinds of great outward things, without love they mean nothing. And yet the opposite is also true: even if Christians do what seem to be very small outward things, with love they mean everything.

From Doubt to Certainty

The entire message of the Bible, written a thousand different ways, is God saying to mankind “Peace be with you. I forgive you.”

Easter Victory

This is how much of a change Jesus brought about on Easter, and this is how dominant his victory was: He took death, which had been mankind’s greatest curse, and turned it into the beginning of mankind’s greatest blessing. He took death, which people have always been afraid of, and turned it into something that as Christians we can actually look forward to. Because he lives, we also will live. . .

The Final Days of Jesus: Good Friday

As Martin Luther once wrote, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness; I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what was mine and given me what was yours. You became what you were not so that I might become what I was not.’ The cross is the place where God declared Jesus guilty. . . but it’s also the place where God declared you forever innocent.

The Final Days of Jesus: Maundy Thursday

There was no element of surprise here. Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to him. And yet when he had finished supper with his disciples, he went out and patiently waited for his enemies to come and find him. Why would Jesus do this? Because this had been his plan all along. . . .Jesus was on a mission to save the world and to do so he needed to be arrested and tried and killed.

I Am the Way

This is the end result of following a grace-filled religion – of following Jesus, the Way and the Truth and the Life. You don’t have to wonder if you did enough to make it to the Good Place. (As a matter of fact, you definitely didn’t!) But you have a Savior who did. He has gone there to prepare a place for you, and somebody soon he will come back to take you with him so you also may be where he is.

I Am the Good Shepherd

Normally when I preach on it, I talk about the sheep and I sing songs like “I am Jesus’s little lamb.” But this time as I was studying the text, I saw something that I hadn’t noticed before… in these eight verses, Jesus repeats himself three times. Three times Jesus says that the Good Shepherd “lays down his life”. Because he loves you… even though he knows you… to save you.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

When Jesus brings you out of your grave, it will be to a world that is finally operating the way that it should be. No more death, no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. Physical, spiritual, and eternal life all at the same time. . . this is what Jesus meant when he said, “Whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

I Am the Light of the World

Living in a sin-darkened world is difficult and scary and dangerous. But what if somebody could give you a flashlight? What if somebody could take off your blindfold? What if somebody could light up your world so you can see what’s going on around you, and see where you’re going, and stop blindly crashing into people but rather see them as God sees them? That’s exactly what Jesus has done…

I Am the Bread of Life

You can lose your job. You can be mocked by your peers. You can have your heart broken in a relationship. You can be forsaken by your friends. You can lose everything in this life. You can physically starve to death. But if you’ve got the Bread of Life, it won’t matter. . . . Because spiritually, you have been filled with the righteousness of Christ. You have been given a status where God looks at you and says ‘This is my child.’ You have been brought to a place where 5 minutes after you die, you will be in heaven with your Savior, fulfilled and satisfied for all eternity.

A Glimpse of Glory

Heaven will never end. It just keeps going. And from that eternal perspective, all the sufferings and problems of this life are nothing in comparison with the glory God has prepared for us.

Love Your Enemies

This is how enemies become friends… This is how skeptics become believers… This is how God’s church grows… and this is how the group of people who will be in heaven one day keeps getting larger and larger: Because of radical, counter-cultural love, flowing from God in heaven, to Jesus on the cross, to you and me, and then to the rest of the world.

The Meaning of Miracles

Here’s the reality: even when you do all the good things that you’re supposed to do, even when you avoid all those bad things that everybody else seems to be doing, it doesn’t bring you up a level. Because there are no “levels.” We are all the same. All human beings are equally sinful. And yet all human beings are equally loved by God. So that means all human beings are equally candidates for grace. . . .

Bringing People On Board

If you think about it, God could have done it a different way. God could have told Isaiah, and Peter, and James, and John, and you, and me, to stay out of his way and not mess his ministry up. God could have told us “I don’t want my gospel message in your sinful mouths – I’m sending an angel to go do my outreach instead.” But God didn’t do that. Instead, when he purified us from sin and put faith in our hearts, he also put his Word on our lips so we could go and share it with other people.

Rejected in his Hometown

Jesus couldn’t speak the good news any more clearly. God had finally sent all of mankind what we had needed for thousands of years – a Savior from our sins! A ticket to eternal life in heaven! But most of the people in Nazareth didn’t even listen to the beautiful content of that message, because they were too distracted by the messenger…

1-on-1 vs. the Devil

Champion warfare was a common practice in the ancient world. The purpose, really, was to save lives. Instead of hundreds of thousands of soldiers shedding their blood all over the battlefield, you just had two soldiers face off, 1-on-1, each one risking their life to potentially save many others.
That’s what Jesus did when he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness: he put his life on the line for all of us, and he came away victorious.

This is My Son

Your baptism is a direct connection with your Savior Jesus. The water went on him, and with it went every one of your sins to be punished and paid for on the cross. The water went on you, and with it came his perfect life – wrapped around you and covering you like a perfect garment.

A 12-Year Old at the Temple

This is the only story from Jesus’ childhood that was recorded in the Bible. And you can see why! Like the sun breaking through the clouds, Jesus’ true identity started shining through. Mary and Joseph remembered, “This is the promised Son of God, who has come to save the world from sin!” And then just like that the moment was over and Jesus obediently walked over to his parents and said “Let’s go home.”

A Toddler Worshiped by Kings

We live thousands of years later, halfway across the world, and speak an entirely different language than the culture in which Jesus was born. LIke the wise men, we’re all “unlikely believers…” But God reached out and found us, because he will go to crazy lengths to share the Savior with the entire world.

Who Is Jesus?

He’s God. He’s also a human being. And he’s both those things at the same time. God and the human race had been disconnected by sin, and the only way for them to be reconnected again was by a mediator with a foot in both camps…

The Greatest Mission in History

Tonight we are gathered because of an even more incredible moment… because of a mission far greater than even NASA sending a spaceship to the dark side of the moon. We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the mission of God sending his own Son down to our world.

He Will Bring Eternal Peace

If we are going to escape the lies and attacks and spiritual warfare of our greatest enemy the devil, then we need a messenger to bring us the good news of victory. To tell us, “Rejoice, we conquer!” And that’s just what God does for us today, through the words of his prophet Isaiah…

He Will Unite the Nations

Grace is the great equalizer. It applies to everybody in the world in the same beautiful, surprising, undeserved way. None of us deserves God’s grace at all. . . .but God gives it to us just the same.

He Will Raise the Dead

Physical life. Spiritual life. Eternal life. The way that it was always meant to be. . . that’s how your story actually will end. Because God sent you a hero at Christmas with the power to raise the dead.

He Will Slay the Serpent

The seeming peace and quiet of Christmas hid the arrival of a powerful warrior coming into enemy territory. The little manger hid something bigger than our whole world. It was our hero, the Son of God, who would win a mighty victory against all the forces of evil, crush the head of that ancient serpent, and bring all God’s children to eternal life.

God’s Treasures

By the grace of our generous God we too can develop a spirit of generosity, which says, ‘I don’t want to waste my money by spending it foolishly, or by saving it for no reason. I want to use my money to actually do things in this world, and thus be a great blessing to the people around me.’

God’s Talents

When Jesus redeemed you on the cross of Calvary, he also redeemed your talents. And being a redeemed child of God sets you free from proudly looking down on other people, or from feeling inadequate compared to other people. Being a redeemed child of God just makes you thankful for your Savior, and excited to use your talents to serve him.

God’s Time

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.” That’s where your story ends up because of Jesus. Actually it doesn’t end. It just keeps on going…

How to Use God’s Things

Here’s my perception: I own a lot of things. My time. My money. My body. My life. And I’m free to use those things however I want to.
However, here’s the reality: I don’t own anything. Every single thing in my life is temporary, on loan from God. . . .

The Righteousness of God

Do you realize that that’s what Jesus did for you in your baptism, too? He took all of your sin, all of your guilt, everything you have to be ashamed of, and he replaced it with his perfection…

Destiny

The best part about heaven is not the specific lodging arrangements. It’s the company! Because heaven is the place where you finally get to be with Jesus forever.

Morality

When human beings talk about morals, all we do is get bogged down by surface arguments about which actions are good and which actions are bad. But the Bible goes way deeper. It exposes the root problem of immorality in the sinful heart. And then it solves that problem by introducing us to our moral Savior, Jesus.

Meaning

Your whole life is infused with deep and powerful meaning, because you are a child of the King! You are on a rescue mission to bring good news to the lost! You are part of a story that lasts forever…

Origin

These are the implications of a Christian worldview: God sees everything about me. God knows everything about me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. . .

A Life Worth Living

“A Life Worth Living” September 23, 2018 Pastor Lucas Bitter Intown Lutheran Church (Atlanta, GA) Acts 16:16-34 16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed …

A City Worth Loving

What Jonah didn’t realize is that the promises of salvation are not limited to one nation, tribe, people, or language.  It’s not an exclusive club with membership limited to the “good people.”  God’s grace and forgiveness are intended for the whole world, and they always have been. In order to help Jonah “get this,” God used a very unique object lesson.

A God Worth Knowing

For the first time, Saul realized that God’s love is not conditional upon our obedience.  God’s love does not depend on whether or not we are good people, who live good lives.  In fact, it is precisely because we are NOT good people and we do NOT live good lives – it is precisely because we are sinful – that God sent Jesus in the first place.  To live a more perfect life than we could ever live.  To die on the cross and pay for every single one of our sins.  To rise from the grave and conquer death and open heaven to all who believe. 

Community

Christians are not fighting a battle against the people of our world – we’re actually fighting a battle for the people of our world!  We’re fighting to relate to them, to build trust with them, to build friendships with them, to show love to them, and ultimately to share with them that God so loved the world he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him doesn’t have to perish, but shall have eternal life.

Church

Our sinful minds do not operate on principles of forgiveness and love; they operate on the principle of revenge.   “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  It is because of our sin that the world is stuck in a cycle of revenge.  It is because of our sin that the world is full of hatred and suffering.

Family

God is not embarrassed to deal with us, just like he wasn’t embarrassed to deal with Adam and Eve.  God does not turn his face away from us in disgust.  Instead God loved us so much that he decided to restore our families by dismantling his own.

Things Fall Apart

Jesus “redeemed” us – that is, he bought us.  And we came at a tremendous cost.  Jesus gave up his blood, he gave up his life, and quite literally he gave up his soul.  Perhaps some of you remember that as Jesus was dying on the cross he shouted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Jesus was allowing himself to be disconnected from God and punished for all of our sins. . . . so that in turn we could be connected with God, and forgiven.