People all around us are filled with despair and darkness (depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, trauma, sin, strongholds) and if you’re struggling with despair one of the first casualties is hope. Yet as people of faith, we have a hope that illuminates the darkness.

What if we had a way that would lead to freedom, joy, peace, and security? What if we could tell you that there is a way that opens up the world to see something radically different? What if there was a better WAY?

One of the greatest questions of our lives is what is my purpose? If we’re a person of faith we may ask: what is God calling me to do? So often we can feel so average, so ordinary that we wonder if God could ever really use us. Our individual gifts and callings may feel ordinary or simple or unremarkable – unlikely to make a meaningful difference and yet God is calling us collectively to use the gifts he has given us to change our world!

One of the biggest questions among those deconstructing their faith today is this: is the church relevant and necessary? The church has, at times, lost its focus and purpose and in the process done a lot of damage and caused a lot of pain. Yet, it’s clear based on scripture that the church was always God’s plan. Despite the brokenness, can we, as Christ-followers, return to a place of beauty within the church – the beauty that Christ always intended. 

Persecution/suffering is one of the clearest doctrines in the Bible. It is a significant theme in the New Testament, and yet it feels like a lost concept; something we don’t spend a lot of time thinking or talking about. It’s not a fun, feel-good message. But Jesus is making something clear here in this final beatitude – following him will cost you something, and because of that, few may actually choose to.

What brings you true satisfaction? What do you hunger and thirst for? The paradox of faith is that our perpetual hunger and thirst for God both satisfies and keeps us hungry and thirsty for more of God. What are you doing to get your fill of God?

How do we find peace in a world of conflict, suffering, and turmoil? We go to the Prince of Peace! Our only trusted source of peace is God himself. Peace with God and peace from God is possible because of Christ.

Jesus asks us to love our enemies, which goes against our natural desire to hate and seek revenge. This type of love is a radical call to action that can only be lived out by God’s power in our lives. Loving our enemies displays the perfect love of God to those around us.

The kingdom of God is bigger than our preferences, and that very act is a witness to the beauty of the kingdom of God.

There’s so much to do and so little time to get it all done. Our lives are full. Work, school, the kids, daily chores, and all the opportunities we don’t want to miss. The daily “urgent” almost always crowds out the important. But what’s truly important? How do we know what’s important enough to give our valuable time? Jesus commanded us to make the things of the kingdom just as, if not more, important. We can’t allow everything else to leave no room for living for the kingdom.

Psalm 139 reminds us that God is personal, God is present, and God is forming us. This truth has the power to change how we understand who God is and how we understand ourselves as known, seen, and created by God.

All of us worship something or someone, and that worship is a witness to the watching world around us. Psalm 66 envisions all the earth worshiping God, but that comes through the people of God worshiping Him. Worshiping Him for what He has done in the past, what he is doing in the present (how he is forming us and being with us in the furnace of life and faith), and how he will be with us in the future.

To live on the other side of disruption will always come with a risk. A risk to have the conversation, to press into our hurt or pain, to let go of something, to accept God’s grace. Many times, we miss what God has for us because we give up before our breakthrough happens.

To be fully present with ourselves, God and others, we must pull away to be alone with God. One of our greatest needs and most difficult tasks as a follower of Jesus is silence and solitude with Jesus – to be alone, give our cares and worries to God, and listen to Him so that we can be fully alive in Him.

Life can be a series of ungrieved losses. Loss is incredibly difficult to navigate in life, and if we don’t deal with it, we will become angry, bitter, or depressed. Grief and loss are a part of life and a place that Jesus meets us in. God’s invitation is to bring our grief to him through lament. In lament, we bring the full range of human experience and emotion, the depth of our pain, the reality of our loss, our brokenness, our questions, our doubts to God. As we do that, we also remember his character, we recommit our trust in Him, and we rediscover our hope.

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© 2022 Pantano Christian Church | All Rights Reserved.

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