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Operating as usual
Michael Rankins’ lesson on Sunday was from Matthew 19:16 where a rich, young man asked Jesus, “...what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus’ suggestion - to sell his possessions and give to the poor - was not what the fellow wanted to hear, and he went away sad.
But he was asking the wrong question. His expectation was that there was “one thing” that he hadn’t done yet. He already followed the commandments, so what was he missing? Much like an impatient child during a long drive, he was asking, “Am I there yet?” As Michael said, “Completion is a journey, not a destination.”
This young man was failing to grow in faith. He didn’t recognize that the path to eternal life is a journey, one that he must always strive to improve upon. 2 Peter 1:5-9, details it well: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
Now, can any one of us say that we’ve completed that list? That we have all of those qualities down pat? Of course not. And our Father in Heaven knows full well what we lack, but He knows that we are on the journey. When we stray off the path, we may become disappointed in ourselves, but we’re forgetting that God loves us anyway. God isn’t expecting us to be perfect. He just wants us to try!
So what do we still lack? Plenty, if we’re honest! That list in 2 Peter is intimidating, so let’s pick just one thing we can work on this week to move forward on our path towards eternal life. Enjoy your journey!
In Matthew 19:16-30, we read about Jesus's encounter with the man we often call the rich young ruler, who approaches Christ seeking the answer to eternal life. Jesus encourages the man to obey God's commandments. When the rich man affirms that he has done so, Jesus tells him to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. The rich young man walks away sadly, unwilling to make that sacrifice.
Usually when we discuss this account, we focus on the challenges of materialism vs. spiritual living. In this week's lesson, however, we want to seriously consider the young man's question: "What do I still lack?" It's a question that all of us who call ourselves disciples should ask often, and one whose answer reminds us that completeness is not a destination, but a journey.
Sunday 10:45am In-Person or Livestream
777 Brotherhood Way // SF
What Do I Still Lack? (Sunday Service) In Matthew 19:16-30, we read about Jesus's encounter with the man we often call the rich young ruler, who approaches Christ seeking the answer to eternal lif...
Let’s start with what makes any kingdom: a king and some land. In Matthew 13, this was the Roman Empire. Did people expect Jesus to literally overturn the Roman Empire? No, but he’ll guide us to help create God’s Kingdom on earth.
With the parable of the w**ds in the wheat (Matt. 13:24-30) Jesus said “Let both grow together”. Matt: 13:40-42: “The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will w**d out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The evil ones will surely get their due.
Until that happens, though, won’t there be problems? Will be it difficult to live with the evil ones? Yes, but we have faith! We can start small, with faith like a tiny mustard seed, and it will grow into a mighty tree. Faith is like yeast in dough (Matt. 13:33). Once it’s worked into the dough, you can’t see it, you can’t point to where it is, but you know it’s everywhere through that dough, growing -- and it’s creating our kingdom.
Here’s what we know about The Kingdom of Heaven:
1. Lives WITH the world, but is not OF the world.
2. Starts small, but grows in immeasurable glory!
3. Is growing everywhere and nowhere specific.
4. Is worth infinitely more than what it costs.
5. Will be separated and saved.
Praise be! The Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of Heaven - is growing everywhere, right here and right now!
This week, as Josh continues teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, we will begin to look at Matthew 13, a curious moment when Jesus sat down in a boat just off shore and began to teach the crowds of people not plainly, but in parables. One parable after another, his concern was in describing what the Kingdom of Heaven was like. Join us this Sunday as we ask “What is the Kingdom of God?” and how does the answer to that question change everything else in our lives?
10:45am In-Person or Livestream
777 Brotherhood Way // SF
What Is the Kingdom of God? (Sunday Service) This week, as Josh continues teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, we will begin to look at Matthew 13, a curious moment when Jesus sat down in a boat just off ...
Thank you to those who came out and helped with our work day this morning, both from Lake Merced, but also from our friends at New North Church!
Good is what God is, and good is what God makes. But what makes a person good? Well, God gave us the Ten Commandments to start - His instructions to His people about goodness - but being a good person is more than just NOT doing bad things.
We mustn’t be like the hypocrites (Matt. 6:17) who pray on the street corners to be seen by others. These are people who wear the mask of faith, but faith isn’t a role you play in public. Our faith should compel us to action, to do good.
Josh said that “GOODNESS is not about the absence of rule violations, but about the GOOD that you produce.” God made us to be good! Matt. 5:13-14, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness...it is no longer good for anything. You are the light of the world. ... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matt. 7:16-19 tells us that good trees bear good fruit, thus by their fruit you will recognize them. Have our lives produced good fruit? Do we just “talk a good game”, or do our actions show goodness? Do we use our talents in serving God? Are we doing what God called us to do?
Good news is more than what you say - it’s what you do! What good can you do this week? Feed someone who is hungry, comfort someone in pain, pull some w**ds, help with the laundry, drive someone to a doctor appointment, pick up their groceries… Let’s ask, “How can I help?” and we’ll find ways to be good AND do good.
This week, we continue our journey into Matthew’s Gospel with a wholistic look at Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount through the lens of the entirety of Scripture. Join us as we discover not just the significance of what Jesus said, but why he said it where he said it. It’s a message that demands we ask what being “good” in God’s eyes is really all about. Jesus not only teaches it, but models it. The question is: will we act upon what he says?
Join us this morning at 10:45am.
In Person or Live on YouTube.
Masks are required at this time.
777 Brotherhood Way // SF
What Does it Mean to be Good? (Sunday Service) This week, we continue our journey into Matthew’s Gospel with a wholistic look at Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount through the lens of the entirety of Scrip...
Many prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah, The One. But the people, being only human, how could they help but wonder, how will we know? When he comes, how can we be sure that he is the One? As Josh pointed out, we can work backwards from Jesus' birth, back through the genealogy listed in Matthew 1. That’s the foundation, the proof we need, going all the way back to Genesis 17:4-7 when God told Abraham, “...you will be the father of many nations...and kings will come from you.”
In Matthew 5, Jesus says that he has not come to abolish the Law, (Matt. 5:17-18) “...I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Jesus is the Messiah, indeed.
But is Jesus “The One” for us? The only One? This question confronts us daily whether we acknowledge it or not. We give our answer through our actions. Who or what is our personal #1? We can’t serve two masters. Are we following the wrong king? When we face a fork in the road, will we choose the path that leads towards Jesus?
Matthew 7:13-14 tells us, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Father, our lives can sometimes confuse and overwhelm us; help guide our way to that small gate and the narrow path that leads to your blessed son!
Join us this morning at 10:45am in-person or live on YouTube.
777 Brotherhood Way // SF
Masking currently required for all.
After 31 weeks in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), this week begins our journey into the Gospels. For thousands of years, God spoke to His people through the Law and the Prophets of One who was to come, One who would heal and renew what had been broken and lost to sin. This week, we begin our Gospel journey in Matthew 1-2 to discover what all that genealogy stuff is all about and to see the layers upon layers of fulfillment that Jesus brings not only to the Hebrew Scriptures, but to each of our lives as well. The catch is that choosing Jesus has serious implications for the rest of our lives. Join us and discover the real Jesus of the Bible.
Is Jesus the One? (Sunday Service) After 31 weeks of reading through and wrestling with the Hebrew Scriptures, this week begins our journey into the Gospel and New Testament. For hundreds and ...
Does God Take Sides? And if He did, would He pick me to be on His side? In the first chapter of Malachi, the people of Israel dare to ask God, HOW have you loved us? He answers that He turned the enemy’s country into a wasteland. Even back in Genesis 22:18 we read that God chose the Israelites to receive His blessings. He delivered them from famine. Moses brought them from exile. The bible is full of examples of how God bestowed blessings upon His people, but they showed contempt for God’s name.
Malachi 1:7, “By offering defiled food on my altar”, by offering lame or blind animals for sacrifice that they wouldn’t dare give to their governor, they showed contempt. Malachi 1:14, “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock… but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord.” And the priests failed as well: Malachi 2:8, “But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi…. So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated.”
As always, in spite of everything man does, God’s love comes through. He tells them to “Return to me and I will return to you”. Malachi 3:10: “Test me in this… and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Perhaps we forget sometimes that God sees us - always. He sees what we do and He sees what’s really in our hearts. Do we give him a bare minimum, holding back - or do we give Him our all, our best? Do we dare to pour our whole selves out into living His word, knowing that God will always give us back what we need?
God loves us so much, He has a flood of blessings ready to pour down over us. Once He sees that we’re all in, living His word 100%, those floodgates of Heaven will open. Isn’t that a flood you’re ready to see?
Have you ever found yourself wondering if God chooses sides? Perhaps the better question is: if God chose sides, would I be on His side? As the people of God carried on their lives in the midst of the Second Temple, God began to speak through the prophet Malachi and He reminded the people how He had loved them, but began to show them all the ways they had failed to love Him in return. Religious, well-intentioned people were neglecting God with every facet of their lives and that was a problem for God. The Good News at the end of Malachi comes in the form of a solution and the promise of a coming Day when God would draw a line in the sand. The question before them and us is: Are you ready?
Join us this morning as we begin to wrap up our time in the Hebrew Scriptures with an eye toward a more hopeful future.
777 Brotherhood Way // SF
10:45am In-Person and Streamed on YouTube
Masking is required for all, regardless of vaccination status, per SF County health guidelines.
Does God Take Sides? (Sunday Service) Have you ever found yourself wondering if God chooses sides? Perhaps the better question is: if God chose sides, would I be on His side? As the people of God...
If you’ve ever broken something, then glued it back together, the result probably wasn’t perfect. You could tell it wasn’t new. As we learned last week, the people thought they were on the right path by rebuilding a temple and rebuilding the wall. But they weren’t following God’s word and they weren’t glorifying Him.
In Daniel 9:24-27, the angel Gabriel speaks to Daniel, saying in seventy ‘sevens’ God will finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy and anoint the Most Holy Place. We also read this in Leviticus 26:18, “If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.”
These things - the temple and the wall and the Torah - would never create the future that God had in store for His people. Simply putting things back together wasn’t going to fix the broken covenant. As Josh said, “Mankind repairs and rebuilds, but only God renews.” Revelation 21:4-5 says, “...He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” The key to God’s “renewal” project was the Messiah.
We can (and should) do the best we can with our lives. We can ‘rebuild’ ourselves by taking care of ourselves and serving others, but being RENEWED - that’s God’s blessing to us.
The desire to rebuild and repair broken things is as old as time and for most of history, repairing what was broken was not just a luxury, but a necessity. As the people of God left exile and returned to Jerusalem, they were undoubtedly excited to return and begin to rebuild their broken lives. This week, we turn our attention to a prayer of Daniel and a piece of game-changing insight from the angel Gabriel into all that was getting ready to take place. It is insight that casts a vision not just for repair, but something greater! The catch is that it is beyond the reach of mankind. It’s not done BY them, but TO them. And it’s going to take some time!
Join us this morning in person or live on YouTube. You are welcome here!
777 Brotherhood Way // SF
Masking currently required.
When God Picks Up Our Broken Lives (Sunday Service) The desire to rebuild and repair broken things is as old as time and for most of history, repairing what was broken was not just a luxury, but a necessity. A...
Reading the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is a study of a failed relationship and a failed reconciliation. Ezra was knowledgeable in the Law of Moses’ and he wanted to see the people following these laws. Instead he learns they have been offering burnt sacrifices and mingling with the “detestable” others; they are no longer holy. Ezra is appalled and cries out to God in his shame about all these sins. Finally, his agonized prayers touched the people and they wept and confessed their sins.
Nehemiah then returns to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, Ezra reads the Law, the people agree to it, and it seems they are on the right path. But soon enough, the people return to their old ways. They neglect the temple, they work on the Sabbath, and the Torah is ignored.
In spite of their initial best intentions, their new priorities faded and old behaviors popped up again. They wanted to follow a formula: Temple + Torah + Walls = being one with the Lord. But, as Josh said, “Recipes Never Replace Relationships”.
God doesn’t want us just following some blueprint or map to get to Him. Our path comes from within - from OUR desire to be His, from OUR willingness to do anything for Him. If there is a formula, it’s in our own hearts. How much do you want to know God and be with Him forever? How strong is the pull in your heart toward God?
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