God’s Will, God’s Way

We must surrender to “God’s Will” and “God’s Way,” and we cannot separate the two.

“God’s Will” is His sovereign will – it cannot be changed; it’s what God wants most. He wants everyone to be saved and spend eternity with Him. “God’s Way” is His revealed will – what He has revealed to us through the Bible on how we should live our lives.

What Is Unique About the Christian Worldview of God?

In every other religion, people either have to know something, experience something, or do something to be made right with God.

In Christianity, the grace of God comes to us because of His innate love for us. That grace comes in the form of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for our sins.

It is God’s love and grace that separates Christianity from other world religions.

We Need a Shepherd for Eternity

Our physical bodies will die, but our spirits will live on forever. And hard as we may try, we can’t make it to heaven on our own. It doesn’t matter whether we’re good people who do good works every single day of our lives. We need Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to lead us into heaven. Take hold of the rescuing hand of Jesus to spend eternity in heaven.

 

Understanding the Debt Jesus Paid

The idea of being rescued from our financial debt is thrilling. We can imagine how freed up we would feel! The reason we don’t get as excited about Jesus, and His sacrifice for our sin debt, is because we don’t really understand it. It pales in comparison when we measure our financial debt against our sin debt – and Jesus’s offer to “pay it all.” What Jesus did is rescue us for eternity!

Easter isn’t about bunnies, eggs, and baskets. Easter is about eternal life through Jesus Christ.

We Need a Shepherd Every Day

Some people mistakenly believe they only need a shepherd to lead them to eternity. And once they accept Jesus, they stop seeking God and live their lives according to their own desires. The truth is, we all need a shepherd every single day. The nature and the heart of God is to also be our shepherd on earth – through every step of our life’s journey.

Even as we love and shepherd others, God is shepherding us.

Bless, Train, Send – Overview

12Stone is called to live for a bigger purpose:

Because of the rescuing hand of Jesus, we pursue personal transformation, one life at a time.

Transformation is the river that runs through everything that we do. We bless, train, and send. Jason Berry provides a brief overview of the layers and complexities in these:

Bless
In Christ, we live in God’s grace. Therefore, we invite you into God’s blessing to bless others.

Train
In Christ, we live up to God’s potential for us. Therefore, we encourage you to a life of intentional growth.

Send
In Christ, we live out God’s mission. Therefore, we challenge you to go into your world and serve.

We’re Here to Train You to Bless Others

PK uses an illustration of visiting a restaurant contrasted to visiting a church.

When we go to a restaurant, our expectation is to be served. The restaurant’s purpose is to serve the customer, not to turn the customer into a waiter.

In contrast, the church’s purpose is to make us “waiters” and not keep us as “customers.” The church is first here to help people come to Christ, then to help us have a spirit of blessing others.

We weren’t meant to a reservoir of God’s blessing, but a river of God’s blessing to others. God blesses us so we can bless others.

God is a Blessing God

It is in God’s nature to be a blessing God, to pour out his favor on us.

Acts 3:25-26 gives us an example of how God blesses us:

“And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring peoples on earth will be blessed.’ He sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked way.”

One of the ways God blesses us is by turning us away from worldly things and bringing us back into relationship with Him. We can also bless others in this way by sharing our faith with them.

 

PK’s Funhouse Dream

Kevin describes a vision God gave him of a funhouse with a long swirling slide at the end. The funhouse is a representation of life on earth for the unbeliever which ends with the slide going towards eternity in hell.

God used this vision to put a purpose for Kevin’s life: to rescue people. He encourages us to live life like we are at the top of the slide rescuing people.

LiveSent: How to Get Unstuck

Transformed people bless others, train others, and live sent.

We can all get stuck on the “other side” of the table, living just for ourselves. Our faith becomes all about ourselves. We talk about churches like we talk about restaurants: “This is how well they served me.”

So how do we get unstuck from living for self? We live a sent life. We make our lives about serving others.

Why 12Stone is Here

The name 12Stone serves as a reminder of the rescuing hand of Jesus.

We were all in desperate need of rescue. We were separated from God for all of eternity because of sin. But God sent Jesus to rescue us because he doesn’t want to see us separated from him.

John 17:18 says:

“Father, as you sent me into the world, I have sent them (my disciples) into the world.”

12Stone exists to join Jesus in rescuing those who are near us but far from God.

Jesus Has Already Won

We lose perspective when we lose sight of the promises of God. One promise we can forget is that Jesus has already paid the cost for sin.

God has already given us victory! So we persevere in our faith through adversity because we are saved.

Since Jesus has already won the battles, our new perspective towards adversity should be: “God, what are you trying to build in me?” not “Why is this happening to me?

The Truth About Peace with God

Using the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus separates the tradition about God from the truth about God.

In the middle eastern culture of Jesus’ day, if a son returned home after messing up life, he would be kept at arms length peace. He’s kept at a distance. This was tradition.

But here’s what true about our Heavenly Father, when we return to Him, he gives us arms around peace. God offers us complete forgiveness of sin through Jesus. When we get this idea that we are a second class citizen held at arms length from God, that’s a tradition that is not true. In fact – it’s an outright lie.

What is Actually True About the Nativity Scene

What are some of the traditions of the Nativity scene versus what actually happened at the Nativity?

What we know to be true is Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. He was God in human flesh. God left Heaven, took on human flesh, and lived with us. He lived a sinless life and then volunteered to be crucified for all of our sins.

This is the point of Christmas, so that we may have peace here on Earth.

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth PEACE to those on whom his favor rests.

Luke 2:14 (NIV)

 

 

How Many Souls are “Good Enough” for God?

Sometimes we get distracted in the activity of life and get wrapped up in a material world. This causes us to lose sight of the greatest good.

As Christians we should always re-engage our passion. Our true purpose is to continually reach out into the community of spiritually lost people.

Reach Out For Good

Discovered: When you chase Feel Good; it progressively destroys good. When you chase do good; it grows feel good!

Question: What is The Greatest Good?

Answer: Bring Someone to Jesus

…that the might Believe, Receive, Follow, and Love Him! (forgiven, restored relationship with God our Heavenly Father, the gift of eternal life; transformed life here and now. Merry Christmas!)

Reach Out For Good:

  • Change my mind
  • Engage my heart
  • Train my actions

Christians: Don’t Judge, Do Discern

It’s important for believers to discern the truth about how to live righteously. But using that truth to judge others can do more harm than good in trying to lead others to Jesus.

Figure out what lost people can discern of God and only share information that will invite them to investigate matters of faith further.

Shining your light to the world means leading with love. What people need most is the love of God, not the laws of God.

Complacent Spirit

When you come to faith in God through Jesus, you are transformed in the moment, but you’ll never fully “arrive.” You have a lifetime of pursuing God ahead. You will spend the rest of your days “in flight.”

Don’t settle for a complacent spirit that tells you you’ve arrived with God. Keep chasing Him and striving to be more like Him every day.

 

Jesus Lifts Us Over the Bar

Perhaps the church should be more loving to people and tell them, “We’re not above you. We’re actually just like you. We’re only made righteous because of Jesus.”

None of us can leap over the bar of righteousness on our own. Jesus lifts us over the bar with his righteousness.

Does Jesus Raise the Bar?

The Pharisees raised the bar God set for righteousness, and the world removes the bar completely. The world removes the bar by allowing everyone to simply decide for themselves how they should live; there’s no right and wrong.

Jesus came to lift us over the bar. He didn’t come to condemn the world. He came to save it! But if you dismiss Jesus, you condemn yourself.