The Jesus Adventure is a call to each of us as individuals and all of us as a congregation. A call to consider what it means to follow Jesus in the midst of a rapidly and radically changing world. Jesus announced, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The kingdom of God is the world put right again. Jesus claims that his life, death and resurrection makes the kingdom of God present in our midst by faith. Even as we wait for it to be made complete when he comes again in glory. We are Called to “repent”, that is turn around from our personal kingdom building, and “believe the gospel”, which is the good news of the kingdom through Jesus. We are Equipped, as Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit into us, to live by faith. We are Sent into the world, to live our lives by faith and invite others to come and see what Jesus has done. We are Restored again and again, as we often stumble as we follow Jesus. God shows us how to embed this kingdom vision in our hearts and minds through establishing the pattern: Called → Equipped → Sent → Restored. Through Worship, Wisdom, and Service, God reinforces this pattern. In our final series in the Jesus Adventure we will explore The Way of Fellowship.
Sunday, August 11 – At the close of Jesus’ earthly life, his followers were scattered and disoriented as they watched their friend and teacher be arrested, tried, condemned, and executed. “All the disciples deserted him and fled” (Matthew 26:56). Less than two months later (50 days to be exact) we find them together! Devoting themselves “to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers” (Acts 2:42). Something miraculous had occurred that created a remarkable new community of individuals from different countries and cultures that were now bound together in a powerful new way that would change the world. This is the Way of Fellowship that we will explore together in the weeks ahead.
Made One in Christ (Part 1)
Sunday, August 18 – Something new began after Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Jesus. While once divided by nationality, gender, financial and social status, followers of Jesus were called to relate to each other in radically new ways. Barriers once deemed impenetrable were broken down and believers were called into all inclusive relationships. In Jesus there is now one new humanity, based solely on the one thing we have in common— “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).
Made One in Christ (Part 2)
Sunday, August 25 – The radical new unity we have in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, opens up a powerful new way of interacting with each other. With the riches of Jesus’ unlimited love and acceptance poured into us, we are able to pour our lives out for one another without the expectation of being repaid. With the riches of Jesus’ unlimited love and acceptance poured into us, we find a strange new ability to connect to people from different backgrounds, experiences, and walks of life. The Way of Fellowship is humanity restored to God’s original design and intent. Forgiveness and the new eternal life that is ours, through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, is the only thing powerful enough to create and sustain this fellowship. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Sunday, September 1 – Of all the characteristics of The Way of Fellowship this one surely makes us the most nervous! But the message couldn’t be more clear. Being filled with God’s love creates an impulse of Overflowing Generosity. It’s not demanded. It’s not an obligatory tax. Generosity is a free and joyous act of a life that has been redeemed by the priceless life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Because we have a glorious inheritance awaiting us, the New Heaven and New Earth at Jesus’ second coming, we can respond as we are able to those in need. We can excel in the grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8:7).
Love One Another
Sunday, September 8 – The Way of Fellowship is inclusive of all people regardless of their origin, social status, financial status, personality, or temperament. God’s work of creating human beings has endless variety. And Jesus command is straightforward: “Love one another as I have loved you.” It’s not an option or a suggestion. Love is a choice, a conscious, deliberate act of the will. In a world that often views love as an expression of the feelings we may, or may not have, toward another person, Jesus calls us to something higher: to love each other even when we don’t feel like it. As the first followers of Jesus lived out this command, the world around them often exclaimed, “see how they love one another!”
Sunday, September 15 – Fellowship is an eternal relationship that not even the grave can undo. We are bound together in Christ, not just for a season, or in one specific place, but for eternity. In the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper we say, “Therefore with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven we laud and magnify your glorious name evermore praising you and say, “Holy, holy, holy…”. To understand this reality changes the way we think about treating one another. “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal” (CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory).
In Christ Alone
Sunday, September 22 – The Way of Fellowship is created and sustained only by the presence of Jesus in our lives. Perhaps the most challenging part of this new relationship is the responsibility we now have. Not only to encourage one another, but also to hold one another accountable as followers of Jesus. Only the power of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection at work in us is strong enough to enable humble interaction. That interaction leaves us to be “transformed by the renewal of our minds” (Romans 12:2). Only the Holy Spirit can “create in us a new heart and renew a right spirit within us” (Psalm 51:10). In Christ alone we are daily being made into new creations, “spurring one another on to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
Sunday, September 29 – As we conclude The Way of Fellowship today, a remarkable new perspective on people opens up before us. In Christ we become so confident, so secure, in our personal identity. We become humble and yet bold, in our relationships to one another, that we can be genuinely open to others, even to strangers. Fellow believers whom we have never met are, in fact, our brothers and sisters in Christ. With those who have not yet come to know Jesus we share the common experience of being sinners in need of grace. The Way of Fellowship welcomes strangers.