There is one story that is so remarkable and that stands so far above all other stories, that we would all benefit by considering it. It's the story of a man who grew up and died for the sole purpose of saving us from ourselves. It's the story of how the creator of humankind wept for the sins of his people and sent his son to spare them his justice.
Jesus offered himself up as a mediator between God and man and was crucified. He was despised by men and took the judgment of God in our place. Being in essence one with God, death could not hold him and he rose from death to life. He then continued teaching here on Earth until he returned to God, to stand forever as a mediator between us.
This sounds crazy. Yet if it is true, it changes everything. Even if you have not met Jesus, you would probably want this to be true, because it would mean that God loved you and would give everything for you. Nothing in this life could be more important than meeting him. Once you do, it does change everything.
When Jesus ascended to God, he left behind the Holy Spirit with his people so that they might stay connected to him. In sharing the Spirit of God, they become a part of God's family. Like any family, they were close, and it was messy. Even so, the earliest followers of Jesus lived in a very remarkable community where the Spirit of God brought the rich, the poor, the slaves, the women, and the men together in unity despite the messiness.
The early church was referred to by their most distinguishing feature. The word for church comes from the Greek word for "community" (eklesia). Today, while technology has connected us in interesting ways, it can also separate us from community. Get closer to others by spending time with them. Being part of a church means being in a community that is like family - even with the mess. Unlike our earthly families, we have a bond that is rooted in the Holy Spirit who will help us deal with the mess.
We want to build communities where everyone comes together in unity. Whether you are anti-church or have been in church your whole life, we want to welcome you in. Let us join together and experience unity in a way that transcends understanding. We commit to meeting together in small groups that share life together so that we can grow.
Jesus was once asked what the most important commandment was. He answered with two: Love God with everything you have, and Love your neighbor as yourself. In fact the second flows from the first. If you love God with everything you have, you love the people he loves, namely, your neighbors. The simple act of inviting someone who lives nearby for coffee could make all the difference in the world.
You were not created to be self serving. In fact, anyone who has served others can speak to the great satisfaction that they feel in helping. God created us for this. If you live life in a way that pulls you away from God and away from loving others, you will find yourself depleted and empty. People who have worked to advance themselves often find themselves rich by the world's standards but ultimately alone.
Step up and lean into loving God and neighbor. As you identify with God while you love his people, you will not only become like God, but you will know him better. In service you will find peace, hope, and joy. In service you will know Jesus in his work and sacrifice, and can experience his joy and life.