Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. Yes he is eternal, but he is the same today as he was when he walked the earth.
We as Christians are called to live behind enemy lines. We live in enemy occupied territory, but not enemy owned territory. We as the church must not become so inwardly focused that we forget our mission to walk alongside God in the expansion of his kingdom.
I know what you're thinking. "Woah, Josh, slow down. Lessons from hip-hop in the church? Have you heard the lyrics in music?" I know what you're thinking, but hear me out.
Paul tells us in Philippians 1:27 to "live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." What is a life worthy of the gospel of Christ? How do we live that way? Read my message of Philippians 1:27-2:11 titled "Living a Worthy Life."
Would you believe me if I told you that out of 393 teens who have gone through the "Last Mile" Juvenile Detention program, there is a ZERO percent recidivism rate (compared to the nearly 50% rate among other teens)? The program aimed at disciplining minors for their mistakes, and not punishing them has prepared them to not make the same mistakes twice. What is the difference between discipline and punishment and how can we instill this in our children?
Do you know what blows my mind? Jesus tells us "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad" (Matt 5:11-2, NRSV). Paul seems to be saying the same thing in Philippians 1:29. James is telling us that in James 1:2-4 and Peter says it in 1 Peter 3:14. Why is persecution a blessing or a good thing? Well, there are a number of things I can tell you, but one of the positives of persecution is that it bears witness to our faith.
"True relevance is measured by the distance between what you say and what you do. If your actions fail to line up with what you say, preach, or believe, then your message is irrelevant." As a united church, lets be relevant. Lets walk the talk we preach from stage for our communities to see.