Messages Given at The Orchard Church of Dunn Loring, VA. Visit our website at BeyondSunday.org
There Will be Conflict
If you are serious about spiritual growth, then you will be serious about loving others. Love always means getting closer to others who we'll find are different and sometimes challenging. Conflict will happen. Though strenuous, it needn't be overwhelming or exhausting.
How will you respond? Most of us have a natural tendency to address conflict in a particularly unhelpful way, so it is important to avoid 3 attitudes that ultimately hurt your growth: "I don't have the energy", "I'm right", and "Change now".
What is Gossip?
Many of us may think that gossip is a small thing, but it isn't thought of that way in Scripture. Gossip is likely the very reason that people of a church want to stay private, or superficial, or seeming as if they have no struggles. This opening message is intended to shine a light on the problem with gossip, not only helping us to understand how the Bible describes it, but also why the Bible implies that it is corrosive to people and relationships.
The parable of the sower describes a farmer distributing seeds on four types of soil: hard, rocky, weedy, and good. Only one of the soils is successful. We could tend to use this parable to judge others and their response to the Gospel, but do you really think Jesus intends this parable to help us feel spiritually superior to others? No. It is a parable intended to help us realize unsuccessful responses to Jesus that we might be mired in. If anyone of us is not producing tremendous fruit for the Kingdom of God, then here is some truth: our soil may be bad and our soil may need to be changed.
Two of the shortest parables about the Kingdom of God describe a man searching and finding a treasure of such value that he sells everything to acquire it. Jesus described the elements of these parables elsewhere in places like Matthew 6:21, Matthew 19:21, and Luke 12:33. Three simple questions arise from these parables: Are you looking for the treasure? Do you really expect to find something of such immense value? Are you making the exchange?
The Long Wait
Let's say that you are one of those who are at The Party described in Luke 14:15-24. Now what? There are several parables Jesus told that seem to indicate that the party could last a long time. And, though we might be tempted to fall asleep, or go off and do our own thing, that isn't what God has in mind. As Uncle Ben in Spiderman famously says, "With great power comes great responsibility."
The Party is a parable that describes a banquet or celebration in which the invited guests come up with excuses to not attend. Upset, the host of the celebration tells his servants to go out and bring in anyone they can find. This message includes a modernized depiction of the story. While you are listening, remember that a party is never about the invitation ... it is about who will be there.