Community - we’re made for it, we crave it, it’s good for us, it changes us, it restores us, the list goes on… but why can it be so hard to find or create? In the final talk in our life of bread series, we look at what it means to be part of the community Jesus creates.
Social Justice. A potentially emotionally and politically triggering phrase for many of us (not least if we’re feeling like we’re just keeping our own head above the water)… but there’s no denying that since he gives his people instruction, God’s way is a socially just one. Looking after the little guy. Speaking up not at equal volume but at increased volume for the needs of the downtrodden; The widows (poor and destitute women), the orphans (abandoned and hopeless), the sick, the outsiders, the forgotten and the foreigners, in a world that’s always put the strong man on top. It’s all there, right from the start of God’s relationship with his people. And pretty much everything Jesus says and does backs this up (not an ounce of aiming for the rich and powerful to gain impact in his manifesto!) So this can be a bit of a bitter pill to ponder (or even think about) for Angelenos today. But there is hope. So much hope. In the togetherness of church - the coming together of gifts and passions and ideas - around a culture that agrees ‘the last comes first.'
Everyone likes hearing good news. We’re all called to be people who spread it. This is about what that looks like, why we can find it difficult, and how to make it easy.
Jesus spent a lot of time praying. So, it seems clear - if we want to develop a devoted and dependent relationship on God, if we want to see the power of the Spirit bring forth signs and wonders similar to those we read about in Jesus’ ministry and in the ministry of the early church - we must also pray. But - prayer often feels a little more complex and mysterious than that, right? Prayer brings up a lot of questions - how do you do it? Does it actually change anything? What about unanswered prayer?
We’re all called to worship, some of us are gifted in leading and bringing other people into worship. But what is it? Why do it? And how can we do it better?
To live our Christian life to the full, we’re all called to do two things; fully step into our identity as God’s children & fulfill our calling in the world and in His church. We’re human beings and human doings in equal measure. This is an intro into how what we’re individually called to do can impact the whole church and the whole world.
We finish up this series on the Psalms with an absolute beaut: Psalm 103. This is the genre’s ‘How to praise when you don’t feel like praising’ at its best. Remember what it is that you are part of: love as high as the heavens, grace that knows no limit, a parent that holds you and fights for you, and a God who wants to hear all about how you really feel.
Psalm 146. Sometimes it feels as though God doesn’t care - but the Bible is full of encouragements that He isn’t just able to care for us, but it is His calling card. He wants us all to experience what the Bible calls being blessed. Being blessed isn’t to do with financial or social or career success, but rather about being close to God, in His presence and in step with His spirit.