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Matthew 28
16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

With some of the original disciples it starts with doubt. Can you imagine?

They have lived with Jesus 24 hours a day seven days a week for the last three years. They have witnessed everything. The miracles. God speaking directly from a great hole torn out of the atmosphere connecting heaven and earth. They have seen a man die and then three days later, the same man come back to life, leave the tomb, and keep on going.

Now this man, Jesus, is leaving them. He is entering into the heavens to rule the universe. But before he leaves, he is giving them a final word of encouragement.

They see him, and they can’t help but worship him. This is God himself who has come as Jesus. But, then we get this strange phrase.

“…but some of them doubted!”

Now, what is this doubt? Some versions of the Bible translate this “lingering doubts.” Well if this means I don’t know everything about Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and how they want the world to turn out, then count me in. This means God is different than anything in the created order. Fair enough. I don’t know everything there is to know about God. In fact, I never will. So, what does that mean when it comes to sharing what I do know with others? It means doubt is not a reason to keep silent.

Once I say, “I trust in God” or “Jesus is my Savior,” everything else I say or do afterward is a witness to my trust.

So, it is not a choice as, “Will I share about Jesus with those closest to me?” I am sharing what I think about Jesus by how I am living my life. It is not possible to not be a witness for Jesus once I say, “I believe.” The only remaining question is, what kind of witness am I?

 

My neighbor, those who are nearest me, can come from a variety of places. Likely this will be arenas of common focus.

Common Family- immediate household and extended family

Common Community- the neighborhood I live in

Common Interests- work, school, gym- anywhere that connects me to the same people on a regular basis

God shows up in a variety of ways in these venues…

logo-neighborhood-initiative

This month, we begin a series on Loving our Neighbor. Like the Gospel Primer Series we followed in the Spring, we will use a book in group and individual studies to help us all make progress in connecting with our neighbors.

We launch this series on Sunday, September 16. Everyone, teen-adult, will receive a copy of Pastor Lynn Cory’s book, “Neighborhood Initiative and the Love of God.” Pastor Lynn will preach on this day to kick things off. Then each week, the theme for Sunday will have to do with loving our neighbors.

The Gospel Primer: an eight-week guide to transformation in community.

This week we are focusing on, What is the Gospel?

Gospel=Good News

“God himself has come to rescue and renew creation in and through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.”

That’s the good news.

The bad news is if we don’t trust the good…

Working in partnership with God and other’s who trust in him, we can grow in our trust and be an encouragement to others. We can truly share the Gospel.

Hebrews 3:12

So search your hearts every day, my brothers and sisters, and make sure that none of you has evil or unbelief hiding within you. For it will lead you astray, and make you unresponsive to the living God.

 

 

What:

The Gospel Primer

When:

Starting the week of April 1

Eight weeks

Who:

Teens and up

A group of close friends whether it is a current small group or Bible study group, or you may invite some friends to join you in a new community for the next eight weeks. There are no size limitations, though 4-12 range is a good place to start. A good number to accommodate meeting in a home, apartment, or quiet restaurant, as you will come together once a week for simple meal and community building. Long time Christians, new Christians, and those who are interested in exploring faith. 

Resources:

The Gospel Primer Journal is the guide. These will be available Easter Sunday.

There will be a sermon connecting with what we did that week on the following Sunday.

Cost:

Suggested $15 for the book. If that is an issue, give less. We want no one left out.

Time:

20-30 minutes a day for eight weeks

Eating with friends once a week

God is Good… is a new series on the good news of Jesus from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. It is interesting how much we have in common with the Colossians. As Paul shares the gospel with them, we too are invited into the same good news. And who doesn’t need good news?

This week we see how God saves us from too much separation and too much striving in our lives. It’s about receiving grace and peace…Colossians 1:1-2

(With some key insights from my friend, David Housholder)

God Time for Colossians 1:1-2