[edited for readability]
Well, welcome. Guests, visitors. If this is your first time, as a body we just want to say welcome. My name is Dave, there is absolutely nothing special about me or remarkable about me. I’m not special, I am remarkably unremarkable but I love talking about Jesus. I love Jesus Christ because He saved me, He is sanctifying me, He set me on a new direction, new purpose, new mission, new passion. And, I love Him and I love you and I love connecting those two. It’s just what I love doing. When I’m gone I miss you, I pray for you. I think about you. I missed you last week but I had a great time with my wife so I didn’t miss you enough to stay here.
We’re going to kick off the New Year and just look at The Church. The Church; in the Greek, Ecclesia. It means we’re called out… The Church is not something we do. I’m going to say this a dozen times. The Church is not something we do one day a week. The Church is not a place we go, The Church is not some hobby, some habit. We are The Church, called out of the world, called out of darkness. Forgiven, reconciled, redeemed, filled with the Spirit of God, sent out on a mission to seek the least, the last, the broken, the hurting, the helpless. We come with a message of hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what The Church is, so we kick off each year looking at The Church so that we don’t experience this mission creed. We understand why we are here, who we are, where we are going, what we’re all about. So we can all get on the same page. We can go love people and serve people, introducing people who don’t know Jesus to Him. Those of us who know Jesus can grow in Jesus until we are all transformed and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. When we bow, for all eternity, and say worthy is the lamb who is slain.
I was praying for you the last month as I looked at 2018 and how to kick it off. Go ahead and pull up Galatians 6:9. I wanted to kick off this year looking at The Church and encourage hearts. Galatians 6:9, God says, Paul writes,
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”
My proclivity, my propensity, and my tendency when life gets hard…When chasing after Jesus Christ gets hard… When doing good to people who don’t like you gets hard, my propensity is to lose heart. To ask myself, is this worth it? I know that many marriages in this room right now are asking “can we make it? Is it worth it? This is hard and we’ve lost heart.” At work many of us have lost heart. In our neighborhoods many of us have lost heart. So I wanted to push into this as we kick off the New Year. I wanted to give you a lot of hope, a lot of encouragement, and a lot of strength as we look at Jesus Christ and what He has done.
So let me cast a big net throughout all the scriptures (the big theological picture) before we jump in. The bible tells us over and over that God is omnipotent. That He has all power. That He is sovereign. He is in perfect control. Jeremiah chapter 32[:17] says
“Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You…”
That’s our God. A God who can speak and create the cosmos as we know it. He could pretty much rock anything, amen? Now here’s the small theological picture. You’ll find this in Genesis clear through to Revelation. Sin separated me from the Omnipotent One. I find myself powerless, impotent. I can’t control [anything] which is why many of us turn into control freaks. We’re aware of our weakness, we try to control relationships, events, and circumstances. We just turn into paranoid freaks, amen? Control freaks are not fun. Can I get a what, what?
What the gospel does, (here is where it is going to set you free from anxiety, panic, fear, stress and worry); The God, in the gospel, (the Omnipotent One) becomes weak. Jesus Christ. (We just celebrated it in Christmas.) The Omnipotent One becomes weak so that He can redeem weak ones and make them strong, reconnecting them with Himself. God almighty, The Strong One, became weak and lived a life without sin. Jesus Christ [did this] so that He could die on a cross in your place, for your sin. So that He could be buried, so that He could rise again and reconnect you, (reconcile you) with The Father. This is beautiful. You see at Hillside Fellowship we love Jesus Christ. I love the fact that Jesus changes everything. I love gathering together and looking at that truth with you. Jesus Christ really, truly, does change everything and that’s where the whole story winds up. Revelation 21:5.
“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” [And He said, “Write,] for these words are faithful and true.””
We know exactly what Jesus Christ is up to. Here is the mystery. He loves to use The Church as He comes to dwell in us. He loves to use the church to change everything, He’s always done that. It’s amazing. He loves to use us to change everything. And so, we’re going to kick off the church series… Every year I kick off and I just walk you through the bad news, all right? I’m not a guy that’s “glass half-full, rosey glasses… Hey everything is wonderful”. I deal with awful stuff everyday. I see the horrible in humanity of man to man. I realize that things are a mess. So I like to start off with the bad news because I realize that many people here have lost hope and have lost heart.
So, 2017- looking back at last year. Here is the bad news about The Church. Are you ready for it? I’ve got to gear you up. I’m going to walk you through the stats of how horrible everything is going, amen? I’m going to walk you through the landscape of all the news reports that have come out about the bride of Christ, The Church. And I’m just going to walk you through them point by point. It’s going to be very depressing. Happy New Year.
As we look back and read all the stats, data, analytics, and reports, do you realize that every single day of 2017 upwards of 3500 people left the church? Every single day. I’m talking about every day, [they] said, “I’m done with church. This is lame, weak sauce… I’m out.” That’s 1.2 million people last year who say, “Listen, I’m just not that into the church thing, I’m all done.” That’s a rough stat, right? Because you continue that for a few years… and [the numbers] are brutal. Let’s look at the next one. Maybe that will encourage us. 80% of churches have plateaued. That’s flatlined, right? Or worse, are declining and dying. So as we look at the future [and think] “maybe it will get better”, know all the data, analytics, and stats say this; who we are, The Church, is flatlined and dying. Worse is [when] we look at the next generation. These reports have come out and continue to come out. Has anybody heard any really good stats on millennials in the church? Apparently the young people don’t like being around all y’all cats. You’ve done something to the millenials. Shame on us! 70% of millennials, when they leave for college and move out of their home say, “I’m not coming back to be part of this. I don’t want to.” So, not only is the church dying, flatlining, and declining… as we look out at the next generation, apparently it’s only getting worse. I’ve got some worse news for you. (We have different reports on this stat, whether you go [with] Barna Group or you go [with] church staffing groups, but we’ll look at all of them.) This year, anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 churches in America shut their doors, never to reopen. Between 3,000 and 10,000 (I don’t know exactly what the exact number is because of differing data and analytics but anywhere between 3 and 10, so none of that is good news, right?). So: plateaued, dead, dying, declining, leaving… I’m about ready to pull the ripcord myself and just get out. Worse than that, did you know that giving and serving went down this year in The Church? There’s an article that they put out… Pastors read it, but I don’t think anybody else does. It’s called The State of the Plate. Ain’t that cute? Now in case you’ve grown up at Hillside [and don’t know], in some churches they pass a plate around and you put money in it. That’s what they’re talking about, “the state of the plate“. In America, in 2017 the state of the plate is not good. It’s gone down and is declining even further. Serving in church (giving of your time, your energy) has declined. So, [for example] even people’s desire to welcome others, park others, serve children and serve in different ministries… Giving and serving went down. Worse than that, just from my perspective: 56% pastoral burnout rate. And when pastors burn out, they don’t do it gently, right? They tend to hugely blow up and implode in front of everybody. It’s kind of messy. Worse than that: of the 44% left, 80% of those wish they could do something else. Isn’t that amazing? Apparently pastors don’t like being pastors. They either burn out or want to go sell insurance. Which is just [crazy]… I love being a [pastor]. I love telling people about Jesus. I love the Word of God. But 56% of pastors burn out, flame out. 80% of those that are left totally don’t want to be pastors. Which makes sense because a lot of them preach like they don’t want to be pastors. Is that rude? I’ve watched some and I’m like, “If I was that bored, I would just go and do something else. If I was that bored with what I was doing, I would totally go do something else.”
Let me walk you through. I know those are depressing stats. Here is what I want you to know. Again, I’m not a glass half-full guy. I’m not a rosy glasses guy. I’m not a guy that’s like “No, everything is great, everything is wonderful, [let’s] just keep going… The ship isn’t sinking.” I’m not that guy. But, I do love stats, data, truth, and analytics. And what I want you to know is that the enemy has a very clear mission statement. Satan has a very clear mission statement. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy. He loves battle, he loves warfare, he loves murder. That’s just how he rolls. One of the most profoundly powerful tactics in warfare and battle is propaganda. You ever heard of propaganda? Ever heard of Joseph Goebbels? Ever heard of Hitler? Heard of the 19 points of propaganda? If you can get somebody mentally to give up; you don’t even have to fight. If I can get you to give up and convince you that your cause is a lost cause, then you’ll never get in to fight. And, what Satan loves, (I’ve seen it over and over and over) he wants dads to give up. “Why are you even trying?” So then your whole family will crumble. He wants pastors to give up. He wants leaders to give up. He wants families to give up. Because, then he can take a nation, and he does it through propaganda. He does it through putting out these lies over and over. “Your cause is done, your cause is finished, you should give up, you should go home. Why are you trying? Why are you praying before a meal? It’s exhausting and embarrassing. You shouldn’t do it. Why are you telling people about Jesus? Jesus is lost. Give up.” It’s called psychological warfare.
So what I want to do… I want to walk you into it. Show it to you as best I can. Apples to apples, and just enjoy it together. Listen, I love this, it’s one of my favorite things to do. How many of you knew that 2017 was called retail apocalypse? Anyone read? Anyone in finance? Listen, whenever you put [the word] ‘apocalypse’ with any other word it’s really bad, right? Amen? It’s not like, “How was [your] vacation?” “I had an apocalyptic vacation, it was wonderful.” 2017 was called retail apocalypse. Totally bad. Across the board. I’m going to show you [some examples]… I could have taken a hundred different examples. 2017 Retail apocalypse. Google that junk. I didn’t make up that title. They did. I just picked some [examples] that I thought you might know of. (See graph slide #1, below) How about Abercrombie and Fitch? Anybody ever heard of it? 1,049 stores across all of the states, and they had to close 60… They are down 5.72%. They took a big hit this year. 60 stores were totally under performing and they had to close them. How about Gap? Anybody heard of Gap? All of their stores under-performed this year. All of them. They had to close 200 stores. Down 8.31%. Whamo. No bueno. No good. Macy’s? Anybody go to Macy’s this year? I’m not against Macy’s. It’s just… I don’t go there anymore. They had to close another 68 stores… That’s [additionally] from last year. They had to close a whole bunch last year as well. I mean it’s tanking. If you’re invested there… get out. Down 9.34%. Payless Shoe Source? Everybody has heard of Payless. Right? For a long time, that’s where I got my velcros. They had to close 900 stores. Can you say… chapter 11 bankruptcy? Down 19.15%. How about Radio Shack. Anybody ever heard of ‘the shack’? Anybody been to a Radio Shack this year? Yeah, they had to close a thousand stores y’all. Even growing up I was like, “they need to look at their nomenclature. ‘The shack’… Radio Shack? That’s how you’re going to sell it? They really need to look at changing their name.” Down 63.69%. I could go on and on and show you across the board. Retail apocalypse. Stores closing everywhere and you know [when] they write about this what they say? It’s so amazing to me. They won’t freak out. It’s not… “Hey! It’s the end of retail as we know it.” Here’s the quote:
“There has been a massive change in the sector and the sector is undergoing an evolution, but retail will be fine.”
The sector is undergoing an evolution. It’s called Jeff Bezos. Amazon? I can shop from home now. I don’t have to leave. They drop it off in 24 hours. But, everyone is very generous to the retail sector. It’s undergoing an evolution.
They are not so generous with The Church, y’all. “The Church is dead. The Church is dying. The Church is falling apart. She is… Stick a fork in her. She’s dead.” Let me show you how much Jesus is kicking tail. How dominant Jesus Christ is. Here is the graph I just gave you. (See graph slide #2, below) Abercrombie, Gap, Macy’s, Payless, Radio [Shack]… Jesus Christ has so many churches. 338,000, just in the States, just in America. Even if He closes 5000 churches this year… He’s still at [-]1.47%. Doing better than all the markets and all the retail in America. But they don’t tell you that, because it doesn’t fit the narrative. So you leave thinking, “The Church is dead. The Church is dying. Stick a fork in her. I should walk away. I should get out.” Listen, even if Jesus Christ chose to close 10,000 churches this year… (Which I personally think he should. There are too many churches not telling people about Jesus. I think he should shut down a whole bunch of churches.) Even if he shut down 10,000 churches, he would still be rocking -2.96%. Still doing better [than the retail market]. Jesus Christ is the most dominant, towering, amazing figure in all of history. The Church is not dead and dying. The Church is not faltering. Jesus has promised us, ‘if you get off mission I will come and I will put out your lamp stand.’ [ref. Rev 2:5]
Every year Jesus evolves the sector and says there are certain churches not preaching about Christ crucified, Christ buried, Christ resurrected. So, “yes… I’m going to put those out, so that I can start new churches and more churches proclaiming Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected.”
Listen ya’ll… Jesus is doing just fine. Let me just walk you through all of history. Let me just start back at the beginning. Creation. Everything was awesome. Genesis 1 & 2: It was good, it was good, it was very good, it was good, it was good, it was good, it was very good. I just exegeted Genesis 1 & 2. Genesis 3-11: all bad. Amen? They die, they die, they die, they die, they did horrible things, they died, God was sad that He made them. From the beginning it has always looked like God is losing. Always. From Genesis 3 on… It got so bad that God told Noah, “Build a boat, I’m wiping everybody out”. It was so bad. Noah built a boat, survived the flood with Shem, Ham and Japheth. He got off the boat, guess what that cat did? Have you read it? He planted a vineyard, made some wine, and he acted like a frat boy. He got naked. It was awful. Listen, your kids are going to read it anyway. You might as well give it to them now. People are looking at me like, “Dave… Dave… You said ‘naked’.” Yeah, it’s in there. I mean it’s just awful. So it looks like God is behind from day one. So God’s big plan? Genesis 12. “I’ll pick Abraham and Sarah, they’ll have a baby.” Really? That’s your plan? Pick some 90 old cats to have a baby. Like, that totally looks like God is behind. You go through Exodus; His people are in Egypt, enslaved… That’s God winning? Yeah. He loves it when a plan comes together and every plan comes together for God.
He brings them out. He picks Moses. Moses goes stammering and stuttering, people are laughing at him and mocking him. “I can’t speak, yeah.. take Aaron.” That didn’t help out much. You go through the book of Judges. It’s R-rated, totally looks like God is losing. You fast-forward to Jesus Christ hanging on a cross being mocked, ridiculed and maligned. That’s God winning? Yes! It’s always looked like He is behind. He loves the underdog position. I don’t care if it is eight billion people to one; I will pick Jesus Christ every time. Because God is omnipotent. He can’t lose. He won’t lose. He’s never lost. He is winning. He will win. Jesus Christ is dominant, He is amazing, He is unstoppable and history has proved that. That’s the bad news for 2018. And here comes the good news.
Let me tell you what Jesus is going to be doing in 2018. Because I want to invite you to be part of that. I want to invite you to be part of the great news of what this unstoppable God is doing. As He changes everything and makes all things new, He is going to start by changing us individually. He is going to change our marriages, strengthen our marriages. He is going to strengthen and change our families, our communities. He is going to use us to reach more people for him. Watch what He says in Matthew 16:18,
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock…” (Watch what Jesus says) “I will build My church…”
So amazing. Can I just walk you through the reality of this statement? See, here is what I know that Americans want; we want a sure bet. We want a sure thing. We want a sure investment. If we have our time, talent, treasures, energy, and resources we want to put them into something that we know is a sure bet. A sure thing.
You go talk to financial cats, financial guys, financial gals… they’ll point you to where to invest in a sure thing. Maybe Amazon? I mean Bezos is just going… How about Apple? Microsoft? They’ll take you and point you to a sure bet. I’m not mocking Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook… bitcoin. Invest your money where you want. I am asking for intellectual, philosophical honesty. If I take all of those companies, they’ve been around for about a hundred years and some change. That’s not bad. Right? That’s pretty impressive to be around for a hundred years and that’s all of them combined.
Jesus Christ, 2,000 years ago as a 33 year-old, young man, says to twelve outcasts, “I will build My church”. Nobody would have bet on that. Nobody. “Nothing good can come out of Nazareth… You want me to put my faith in this guy? Who most of the nation hates… What is Jesus doing?… ‘I’m going to build my church…’ ”. I’ll tell you what: 2,000 years later He’s outperformed every market that there has ever been. Do you understand that Jesus Christ saying “I will build My Church” has outlasted countries? He’s outlasted currencies, He’s outlasted Caesars. You understand? I can go through all the dynasties of all of the Caesars and you’d probably only recognize two of them. I can walk you from Nero, to Domitian, to Trajan, to Marcus Aurelius, Septimius Severus, Decius, Diocletian… and you’d be like, “I don’t know who those cats are.” But Jesus Christ is worshipped by billions. He has outlasted Caesars, He is greater than chief commanders. He is greater than presidents. I guarantee you this morning if I sat down and said, “Can you name all 45 presidents of the United States? From George Washington to Donald Trump?” I don’t think any of us could… We’d be like… “yeah… I don’t know”. And if I said, “No, actually there’s only been 44 presidents.” You’d be like “I don’t know… Trump wore a ’45’. I think there are 45”. No… Grover Cleveland was President [number] 22 and 24. Most people don’t know that. They don’t even know who Grover Cleveland is. Amen? See, Jesus Christ is greater than countries, commanders, Caesars, Tsars… He has outperformed them all and here is what He said… ‘You want a sure bet this year? Bet on Jesus Christ. Lay your life down as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service of worship. Died of the flesh, deny the flesh.’ Jesus Christ is out-performing every market. But can we agree that He has a tough sell? You see Gap can put their jeans on sale and say, “Man! 70% off!”. Jesus invites people to come deny themselves, died of the flesh, take up the cross, follow Him, be hated by all men. That’s a pretty hard sell in our nation, wouldn’t you say? And yet, Jesus Christ continues to march on. I want to encourage you this year. Here’s what Jesus Christ is going to be up to. He’s going to be redeeming the lost, the least, the broken, the hurting, the hopeless, the helpless. He wants us to be a part of that. He says to lay our lives down. To count the cost. To count the cost and take up our crosses and to lay it all down and to follow Jesus because He is worth more than everything that this world has to offer you. He is worth more than all of it put together and combined and that’s what He is going to be doing this year. He’s going to be building His Church.
It’s amazing. It’s amazing because He flies under the radar when He does it. You don’t see it. Do you understand that for 2,000 years He’s totally been flying under the radar? Using The Church as He puts His spirit in us. His life in you. He’s used The Church to change everything. There is no aspect of your life today that has not been formed or impacted by Jesus Christ. I could take you back 2,000 years and show you the Roman Empire. The history of man is one of brutality and inhumanity of man to man. Do you know that infanticide, abuse, and abandonment of kids was normal in the Roman empire? It wasn’t until Jesus Christ said, “Let the children come to me… because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (ref. Matthew 19:14) that The Church stepped up and said “Give us your children. Give us your children!” They would go and save, rescue, and start orphanages. Within 200 years The Church had stopped that infanticide. Do you know that The Church is still on that mission? Even this year, thousands of lives will be saved. Young ladies, I want you to hear this. If you find yourself pregnant and you don’t know what to do and someone tells you [that] you should get an abortion, that’s a lie. It truly is a lie. You’ll spend the rest of your life seeking to recover from that decision. But I’ll tell you this, with no guilt, no shame, no manipulation, nothing but love; your child isn’t unwanted. Your child is totally wanted. My wife and I will adopt your child… There are dozen of families here [that would do the same]. We’ll sell everything to care for your child. No guilt, no shame, no blame, no manipulation. No pressure. We love you and we love your child. See, this is what The Church has been doing for centuries.
You want to talk about the women’s rights movement? Jesus radically transformed rights for women. You go to the cross at the end of Jesus’ life? Women were there. To the resurrected tomb? Women were there. Jesus said ‘There is no longer male or female, we’re one in Christ.’ (ref. Galatians 3:28) Which planted the seeds for equality. You want to talk about governments? Jesus Christ radically transformed governments. Where do you think we’ve come up with phrases like, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men were created equal, and endowed by their creator, with certain and inalienable rights”? Jesus. You see, He’s changed everything. You want to talk about science? The scientific method was brought up by a dude that loved Jesus. I don’t even know how to say his name. *Gessernitterditter?* (ref. Robert Grosseteste) I’m not even kidding, you can google that junk. He loved Jesus and he loved science and said, ‘We can understand and study science because God is reasonable and rational and understandable.’ That led to Bacon and Pascale and all of these guys’ [scientific work]… Do you want to talk about education? We sit here and act like people have been educated throughout the history of time. They haven’t. Jesus was called the Rabbi, the Great Teacher and He told this church that He built … ‘Go, go and teach them’. And guess what The Church did? She began to go and teach. You want to study education? We have education because of Jesus Christ. And I don’t care if you’re here and you’re an atheist, an agnostic, or you just hate Jesus. That’s fine. Go study history. Our education system will take you back to a cat named Calvin and Luther. It will take you back to a cat named Chrysostom who said, ‘People need to read so that they can learn about Jesus’. You don’t believe me? See, we look at it and we think that history has been just been this nice, rosey, beautiful place. History is horrific. History is horrifically filled with the inhumanity and the brutality of man to man. Until Jesus Christ said ‘Go teach them and love them, teach them how to read, set the captives free’. When our forefathers came over, they started Sunday Schools to teach children how to read and how to write. They then started secondary places of education. Do you know that before the revolutionary war, 99% of all colleges were started by The Church? Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Northwestern. For the love of everything decent and right… UC Berkeley. That’s truth. Christians were like, “We should start a… a college here in California to teach people about Jesus.”
You see Jesus Christ has changed everything and He’s always flown under the radar. Always. Don’t lose heart in doing good. Jesus Christ has always used broken, weak, fallen people, like me and like you. People who are weak enough to be filled by Him and have His life pour out of us. I know he [the enemy] would tell you “The Church is no good. You should give up. Why are you loving your neighbor? Why are you hanging in there in marriage? Why are you fighting for what is good and what is right and what is noble and what is true?” The enemy would say, “Give up! Quit already! It’s not worth it.” The only problem with that is history has proved that Jesus Christ is utterly and totally unstoppable. Nothing can stop Him. He’s inviting us. Come lay your lives down. “Follow Me and we’ll change everything. For My glory, for the advancement of the gospel, and for your good.” You see, this is why Jesus Christ said, “The gates of Hades will not stop Me”. Jesus Christ is unstoppable. He’s always used The Church to seek out the least, the last, the broken, the hurting, the hopeless, the helpless. We share the gospel with them and we love them and we serve them and we invite them to be part of the people who are called out of the world and called to walk in the truth and the light.
This year I want to kick it off by giving you an opportunity. We’re going to celebrate communion (the Lord’s supper) now. I want to start the New Year by remembering His body and His blood, that was broken and shed for us. I want to start the new year by repenting together. I want to start out the New Year laying down our lives as a living sacrifice. You see, Jesus hasn’t come back yet. So He’s not done with the story. There are still more people to reach with the gospel message. I’m praying that He would use us this year to invite people in and see lives change. Let’s pray.
Father, thank you, thank you, thank you that You have made it so simple and so clear that Your son Jesus Christ is unstoppable. That He is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. Father, I am so proud to know Jesus Christ and I’m so grateful to be used by You in telling more people about Him. So today, as Ben shares the truth of communion, I pray we as a people, we as Your children, might repent, humble ourselves and lay our lives down as living sacrifices. To be used by You in 2018 to advance Your gospel, Your glory… in Jesus’ name, Amen.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES AND GRAPHS
Galatians 6:9 NASB
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Jeremiah 32:17 NASB
“Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You…”
Revelation 21:5 NASB
“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Revelation 2:5 NASB
Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.
I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Bad News – Galatians 6:9
- Good News – Matthew 16:18
- The Church that Jesus bought and Jesus is building has been misaligned and attacked for centuries. How does this cause some to lose heart, shrink back or remain silent about the amazing truth of Jesus Christ crucified, bruised and resurrected?
- The Church has continued to grow for 2000 years. She has overcome hostile kinds, countries, caesars and commanders. Does this give you confidence in the sovereignty and omnipotence of God? How does this play out in your life?
- Where do you find yourself becoming most discouraged or disheartened with the Church? How would Jesus want to meet you in that place and give hope?