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The Promised Servant

700 years before the birth of Jesus, God promised to restore justice to the world and bring healing to the nations. He would do that through His Servant in Isaiah 42.

When you look at the world, it’s apparent the world needs saving, people need a Savior, and God sent His servant into the world that the world might be saved through Him. Jesus is God’s Servant. The Jesus of Christmas is an adorable baby, born in a stable, to poor parents. But He is more; He came to restore all things, to make all things new, to undo everything that sin had undone!

And as God’s servant, Jesus suffers for us. He takes our bruises on Himself and in return, heals our hurts, forgives our sins, and sets us free to be His people until He comes again and the world is made fully new.

Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9: Matthew 3:17; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:27

Growing Pains

Acts is an amazing history of how God unleashed the gospel into the world through the church. Yale historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette notes, “Never in so short a time has any other religious faith, or for that matter, any other set of ideas, religious, political, or economic, ever achieved so commanding a position in such an important culture without the aid of physical force, or social or cultural prestige.”

This is all the more amazing considering the gospel faced one obstacle after another. Beginning in chapter 4, there is persecution from outside the church. In chapter 5, we see corruption within the church, and more persecution from outside the church. And now in chapter 6, something new.

In verses 1 and 7, Luke shows us how the church is thriving and more and more people are coming to faith in Christ, in spite of all these obstacles. But in between verses 1 and 7, he exposes a problem that threatens to divide the church and distract her from her mission in the world.

In the end, we learn that God means to unleash the gospel and win the world through a people who say “It’s not about me. I will do whatever it takes for the sake of the mission and His glory.”

Scripture: Acts 6:1-7; Luke 17:10; Mark 10:44-45; John 13:12-17; 1 Peter 4:10

Deacons: Leading Servants of the Church

The origin story of the deacon comes from Acts 6. Deacons were selected, not based on the present size of the church, but based on the present needs of the church. A deacon and a table waiter/waitress have a lot in common. In the Bible, they are the same word. Today, deacons keep the servant-identity of Jesus before the church. However, all Christians should be morally qualified to be deacons. Is there any reason, that after engaging at Foothills for five years, you wouldn’t be ready to deacon for a season?

Scripture: Acts 6:1-7

Invisible to Visible

There are two types of people – those who ask “What do I get?” and those who ask “What do I get to do?” Jesus makes the invisible in our heart visible to us, including our love for His provisions over His mission. Following Jesus leads us to the upper room where His mission supersedes preferences and provisions.

Scripture: John 11:45-57

God of the Impossible

The Angel Gabriel delivered a message to the virgin Mary, a young, unmarried girl, Kent Hughes says was “a nobody, from a nothing town in the middle of nowhere.” He told her she would have a son who would be the Son of God. Mary’s only question was “how could that be?” And after Gabriel told her the Holy Spirit would “overshadow” her, he pointed to her cousin, who was much older and had been barren and said that she was six months pregnant. Then he gave Mary the bottom line, “For nothing is impossible with God.” Mary’s experience is unique, but she’s an example for us all, and through her, we learn that when the God of the impossible comes to you, expect him to summon you to follow in ways you never thought possible.

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

 

Your Tongue — An Instrument of Poison or Life?

Everyone understands the tongue as an instrument of the body that was created to communicate with other people. Everyone also understands the power that the tongue has. Since Jesus, through the gospel, has changed our very nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) we now have the ability to use the tongue as an instrument to refresh, affirm and bless others rather than use it to discourage and condemn others.

Scripture: James 3:1-12