Holy Spirit-Empowered: The distinction of Christian Community

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TODAY'S MESSAGE

If you spend any time here at Faith Community you will begin to hear the phrase: "Follow well, love well, serve well." These are the building blocks of our life of faith here at Faith. These are Jesus' words in every Gospel. His call and command are as simple as they are challenging. Easily memorized but never mastered. These must be the DNA of our our lives, our community, and our relationships.

In light of the polarization in our culture; the growing hostility to the Christian faith, and the individualistic and isolating habits many pursue, it seems like a strategic time to focus on these simple words. Let us start 2018 by defining these words that define us and by encouraging one another to follow well, love well, and serve well.

What makes Christian service distinct. Well the answer is a "who" not a "what"... 

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE | ACTS 1.4-5, 8

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
...But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

ACTS 19.1-3

Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” 
     They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

ACTS 7.51

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

JOHN 16.13

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

ISAIAH 30.21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

JOHN 16.8

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Here are some books and resources we recommend for your own reflection and study (there are listed in no particular order):

Spiritual Leadership is a classic exposition on leadership that is distinctly Christian. Most Christian leadership texts recycle the best principles coming from leaders in business, sports, or military. This book is a distinctly biblical look at the leader that has a passion to follow, love, and serve well. 

The Radical Disciple by John Stott. This was the last book John Stott chose to write. Consider it an elder statesman and saints farewell reflections on what it means to follow Jesus. What is a life of radical discipleship? At the root, it means we let Jesus set the agenda of our lives. We aren't selective. We don't pick and choose what is congenial and stay away from what is costly. No. He is Lord of all of life.

Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott. Terrorism, Same-Sex Marriage, Debt Cancellation, The AIDS Pandemic These are just some of the critical contemporary issues addressed in this book. Issues Facing Christians Today helps thinking Christians sift through and respond to a sweeping array of complex and pressing topics.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is a classic look at the Sermon On the Mount. The opening chapters on cheap grace are worth your investing in this book. Bonhoeffer was executed by Hitler weeks before the end of World War II. 

The Challenge of a Disciplined Life: Christian Reflections on Money, Sex, and Power by Richard Foster. Challenging and thoughtful reflections by a Quaker to the Church today.

The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus' Essential Teaching on Discipleship by Dallas Willard. Willard boldly challenges the thought that we can be Christians without being disciples, or call ourselves Christians without applying this understanding of life in the Kingdom of God to every aspect of life on earth. He calls on believers to restore what should be the heart of Christianity -- being active disciples of Jesus Christ.