Relationships are important. Connecting with others is part of why God created us. He built a desire for community within our souls. Friendships are also important. Like all relationships, they take time, trust and work. It won’t all be good or bad but in the end it’s worth it. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the first example we have of friendship and community. We will explore how the Trinity and Communion are the purest form of friendship and love.

Isaiah 9:2; the 400 “silent years” between the OT and NT when Alexander the Great was wreaking havoc; John 1:1-5; A well-worn adage from the 1600s declares that it’s always the darkest just before the dawn. Christmas is a celebration of light: Lights are strung everywhere both indoors and out. If you’ve ever wondered why, it’s because Jesus, the light of the world, pierced the darkness of our world, making it possible for us to see clearly enough to escape one world and move into the next. Jesus broke through the 400 years of silence; and God had been preparing for this for a long time; see also Galatians 4:3-5. The listener who feels that he or she is in “the silent years with God” needs to be patient and wait, knowing that God is preparing something awesome.

One of the most important elements in any relationship is communication. Prayer is just that. It is engaging God in a conversation, sharing our hearts with Him, and spending time listening to his voice. How we see God and how we feel God sees us changes how we pray.

We often feel like we have a right to be angry or offended and the truth is we do have a right – but being a Christ follower is about giving up your rights. It’s about surrendering those rights to a higher calling. As the church may we not be known by what we’re against but may we be known by our love.

On Palm Sunday, we gather to worship this surprising, unexpected, unanticipated Jesus who saves us and rescues us in a way that goes beyond our wildest dreams. We have to confront the reality that Jesus knew of the cross and willingly went, and in doing so, this became the turning point in human history.

You will be blessed as your heart breaks over something that breaks the heart of God. What if God’s greatest blessings come from God’s greatest breakings? It’s better to hurt with a purpose than to exist without one.

In the midst of this story of hope that we celebrate, there is a story of grief and death. Yet it is in the middle of that grief and pain that the hope of eternity shows up. It is in that moment when Jesus comes…the one that would later preach, “Blessed are those that mourn.” God does not protect us from suffering instead he shows up in the midst of it – Emmanuel. In the midst of grief, God does something hopeful.

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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All Rights Reserved.

© 2024 Pantano Christian Church | All Rights Reserved.

1755 S. Houghton Rd. Tucson, AZ 85748

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