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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

No clue who he was!

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Have you ever had the experience of missing something incredible that was staring you right in the face?  You didn’t even know you were in the company of someone incredibly important till after the fact?  In session 02 Rico tells about a fabulous opportunity to meet none other than… THE Prince William… but blew it because he didn’t recognize him.  Sometimes we’re at a double disadvantage of not only having a vague grasp on someone’s identity combined with the presumption that we’d never have the occasion to be in their presence.

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It’s like that with the person of Jesus.  Many today would struggle to name more than a couple of basic facts about Jesus even though he is arguable humanity’s most enduringly famous person.  Combine that with the fact that nearly no one ever really expects him to actually show up in any sense of the word, and you have a person who could remain painfully anonymous and irrelevant to our world.

Do the New Testament documents give us a picture of an anonymous, irrelevant Messiah?  On what basis did people in his day credit him with greatness?  Why was his identity so consequential?  How could he have gotten HIS birthday to become the marker our planet uses to measure the centuries by?

Rico takes us into the Gospel of Mark and looks at 5 key areas over which Jesus demonstrated divine authority.  Bring a friend and come join us this week.  Christianity Explored meets at Christ Community Church on Sunday mornings at 10:45 in room D-126.

Am I good soil?

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One of the most challenging parables Jesus ever told, was perhaps his simplest one.  A seed that falls on good soil eventually bears a crop far greater than the size of the seed sown.  That’s it.  The DNA of the kingdom of God is bound up in the word of God.  When it’s spoken, it falls on good soil….or not so good soil.  The ironic thing in Jesus’ parable is that here we have a crazy farmer who indiscriminately slings seeds everywhere including unlikely places to sprout.  “What a waste” the farmers in Jesus’ audience would have thought.  Everyone knows you don’t plant seeds in a patch of weeds, or in crummy, shallow dirt, or on a path.

But the hook in the story is this, reader, you are soil if you’re reading this.  Like it or not.  You are good soil.  Or bad soil.  Jesus tells you what good soil does – good soil listens, good soil grows voraciously, good soil produces a crop.  But how to become good soil if you’re not?  Jesus doesn’t say much about that.  And that should unsettle us more than a little!

Path, rocks and weeds have already quit reading this post.  If you’ve made it to this sentence, maybe, just maybe you get what Jesus is talking about.  And if you’re curious, but still not sure you know what the parable of the soils is about, come on out to Christianity Explored.  And keep listening.

Christianity Explored meets at 9:00 and 10:45 in room D-126 at Christ Community on Sunday mornings.

Why did Jesus have to die?

why did jesus have to die

Week 4 of Christianity Explored cuts to the heart of the Gospel – the reason for the death of Jesus Christ.  It is here that the justice of God meets the mercy of God through the willing sacrifice of Jesus.  What is your response to that, asks teacher Rico Tice?

Come join us at Christianity Explored – we meet at 9:00 or 10:45 in Room D-126 on Sundays at Christ Community Church.

Will more people like me if I follow Jesus?

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Well… you can decide that for yourself based on what Jesus told his disciples just hours before he was executed.  The weird thing about Jesus dying on the cross is that you’d figure his sacrifice would clear the way for humanity to be more accepting of his followers.  At least make people more sympathetic to our cause.  Nope.  Just the opposite says Jesus.

17 This is my command: Love each other.  18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. (John 15:17-19 NIV)

Come jump in with us this week at Unconvinced – Christ Community’s seeker venue.  Meets at 10:45 in D-126.

Far from magically wiping away the world’s hostility, the sufferings of Jesus flow over to his followers in the grand scheme of God’s redemption plan.  Jesus doesn’t say come follow me and I’ll make you popular.  His invitation to follow in a funny way is the only way to really understand the world’s hatred.  Come follow me, says Jesus to his followers, and you’ll learn the heartache of loving a world infected with its own hatred.  Living in victory over that hatred is the same for Jesus’ followers as it was for Jesus himself.  It only comes through self-giving, self-sacrificing love.

Week 09 Handout

Week 09 – Text

Something only a blind guy could see!

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“For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”
(John 9:39-41 NIV)

This week in Unconvinced we’ll see why Jesus gets in such trouble for healing a blind man.  Ironically it’s only those who willingly bring their blindness to Jesus who will see the light.   Pride is the only untreatable eye problem to Jesus.  Unconvinced meets Sundays in room D-126 at 10:45.  Come join us and bring a friend.   Brent will  be our facilitator this week.

 

Who would you be if you lived in Jesus’ day?

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As I’ve been studying through the Gospel of John these days, I keep watching for the characters in the story I relate to best.  I keep asking things like:  Can I see myself as one of the 12 disciples?  Would I be a tradesman like Simon, James or John?  Could I have ever been a rogue prophet like John the Baptist?  An ethnic outcast like a Samaritan, estranged from the Jewish majority culture?  How about you?  Who would you see yourself as?

Well I found myself in a character in Chapter 3!  Not sure I liked myself by the way!   Given my socioeconomic station, my education level and my connection with organized religion…so far in the Gospel of John I would  be most like Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Ruling Council.  The ironic thing about being an educated religious leader was that it actually makes one LESS likely to connect with Jesus!

Click here for session notes:  Week 3 Resource Sheet

How do we know that?  We’ll take a look at it this week in Unconvinced.  If Nicodemus was a likely fan of Jesus, why was he so secretive about his approach?  If Jesus saw the religious establishment as essential to his success, why did he invest so little time engaging them?  Why weren’t they drawn to him?  Why so much conflict and rejection?  Come on out and we’ll explore the text together.

Unconvinced meets Sundays at 10;45 in Room D-126.  Bring a questioning friend with you and bring your honest doubts!

Is Sin really all that big of a deal? Unconvinced – Session 03

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At Unconvinced we’ve been enjoying a front row seat to the life, teachings and claims of Jesus.  Rico Tice is taking us through Mark’s Gospel account with an engaging blend of video teaching and live interaction around our tables.  If you have questions about the basics of Christianity, what the Bible teaches about Jesus or are just curious spiritually but wouldn’t consider yourself a believer, then Unconvinced is a great venue for you to check out.

Sunday mornings, 10:45 in Room D-126

Each week 15 to 20 of us meet around tables for the purpose of exploring the Bible from the perspective of an unconvinced mind.  If you are a Christian with a friend you find yourself in spiritual conversations with, invite your friend to attend with you.  If you’re a skeptical seeker of truth, you’re our guest of honor!  You’ll find great company with others who my have similar questions.

This week Rico will take us into the world of “The Fat Test”.  Actually we’ll be talking about sin.  And how Jesus taught about it.  Come on out and join in the discussion!

Unconvinced….About Jesus – New series starts this weekend.

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Jesus wasn’t an instant success everywhere he went.  In fact many in his own day found his claims and teaching just too much to bear.  People didn’t believe what he said about himself.  People didn’t trust his theology.  Many simply refused to follow his leadership!  So if Jesus at times proved unconvincing to his own family and disciples, maybe there is a place for doubt in the decision to follow him today?

UNCONVINCED meets weekly at Christ Community Church in room D-126 at 10:45. Each week we’ll tackle another episode straight from the pages of the Gospels.  UNCONVINCED is a venue for those with big questions about God, the Bible and the world we find ourselves living in.

Format

1- Launch: a ten minute warm up to the topic around the table.

2- Explore: a first-hand look at a Gospel text using a simple, unformatted manuscript.  What happened?  Why didn’t the crowd buy what Jesus was saying or doing?  Our goal, in 25 minutes or less, is to identity the core hang-up with Jesus whether it was a single person or a whole crowd of doubters.

3- Questions:  open Q/A with class facilitator about Jesus, his claims, his teachings or anything in the New Testament Gospels.  (15 minutes)

4- Sign-off: How does Jesus answer his doubters – then and now?  What does faith in Jesus look like today?  What did I learn about Jesus today?  (10 minutes)

Series Outline

06.07.15          Is that you, Homeboy?  Jesus is rejected at Nazareth.  Luke 4

Week 1 Handout

Week 1 – MSS Marked

06.14.15          Crazy Talk!  Jesus is deranged or Jesus is demon-possessed – you decide.  Mark 3

Week 2 Handout

Week 2 – Mark 3 Manuscript

06.21.15          You can’t be Serious.  Nobody can do what Jesus requires!  Matt 19

Week 3 Handout

Week 3 – Matt 19 Manuscript

06.28.15          Count me Out!  Grumbling disciples turn back from following Jesus.  John 6

Week 4 Handout

Week 4 – John 6 Manuscript

07.05.15          Power Up!  The power players of Jesus’ day can’t tolerate his claims.

Week 5 Handout

(no manuscript for week 5)

07.12.15           The Rooster Crows.  Public denial of Jesus by his most passionate disciple.

Week 6 Handout

Week 6 Peter Passages

In case you can’t tell, UNCONVINCED isn’t a Sunday School class designed to comfort the convinced believer.  That means it’s the perfect place to bring a friend you know has big questions about Jesus and Christianity.  We hang out around tables, we have great conversations in community, and we know how to agree to disagree when needed.  If you’re coming to UNCONVINCED to win arguments with skeptics, please hold that thought and maybe find another place to sharpen your apologetics.  But if you seriously want to learn and have friends you can invite to join you – then come on out!

Feel free to check out our previous UNCONVINCED series on the book of Exodus.  You can also find more great content on the Questions about God page of the CCC website.

Growing Faith

It can be easy to pray for things when they are attainable by your own efforts. Or, it’s easy to pray general, positive things like, “God, bless with wisdom/protection/strength.” It’s quite something else when the thing you are praying for is necessary to your own vitality.

In 2012, I was challenged to grow in my faith. It started when praying for a minivan, and hearing my own son’s prayers exceed what I was praying. It was humbling, challenging, but inspiring as well. I stepped up my own prayers, stepping out in faith with them, and it was amazing to see God answer.

It was easy to think this growth in my faith had me even more trusting in God. Hardly. (more…)

God of Second Chances / Up and to the Right {Video}

In this God of Second Chances clip, Lead Pastor Mark discusses the process of aligning our lives with God.

Join us this Sunday as we start our newest series, Nexus.

Watch Nexus services live at the Online Campus. Sundays at 9 & 10:45 AM CST, and Wednesdays at 6:30 PM CST.