Nathan Deming is a student from Webster who connected with Jubilee last year through Latitude. He had quite a year with us as God really broke through in his life. He ended up participating in the Evangelism Internship in Chicago last summer. Currently, he is studying abroad in London and is attending one of our (Newfrontiers) churches in London called ChristChurch.
Saturday afternoons are pretty intense sermon prep days for me primarily because it is non-stop from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. So, I need little points of relief throughout the day and one of the most common is checking out the headlines on ESPN.com. This Saturday, the headline that caught my attention first was: "Ex-coach had 'no clue' Agassi was taking meth."
Here's a quote from that article by Brad Gilbert (Agassi's former trainer and friend): Because we (Gilbert and Agassi) hung out a ton, but that doesn't mean you ask things that are personal. As I read the article, I became deeply saddened by the reality of most people's relationships.
I believe that in a Biblically functioning church, relationships are intensely personal. Now granted, not everyone in the church will be best friends, but the ones you "hang out a ton" with, better be personal. How sad is it and unloving is it that we would never ask, "Hey bro, how are you doing...really?" That all we would do is gather together and watch TV, play board games, eat guacamole, but never be caring enough, be loving enough to make it personal. Recently, I had very good friend of mine asked me how I was doing in the area of spending time with my son. The long and short of it was that he was able to show me that I was, in fact, being inattentive with my son. Furthermore, this inattentiveness was resulting not just in a lack of relationship, but in a lack of discipline, which really is a lack of love that puts stress on my wife and will someday, cause my son to pay a bigger than expected price. I made the adjustment and things are much better because of good friends who ask personal questions.
With the backdrop of a hyper-individualistic and relationally desolate culture, the church must rise up and be different. We must be personal. We are in relationship with a personal God. The world didn't start with power by an isolated and alone God. It start with love and community within the triune God and out of that overflow, the world and human beings were created. Sin in your life will cause you to drift from relationships (real relationships), but as you draw near to God, expect (and inspect) that you will draw near to others as well.
Last Sunday, I kicked off Jubilee’s new sermon series titled the “God Series” where we will look at 10 characteristics about God (a complete list found at www.jubileestl.org/city). I started the God Series with “God Creates” and to help promote the subject I wore a t-shirt with the title on the front (as I will each week throughout the series). I received a lot of requests for the t-shirt so we called the company we bought the shirt from to make more available. If you’re interested in getting a shirt, they are $10 and you can select your favorite color, title and series title through this order form.
On October 1, the elders and staff of jubilee church st. louis city embarked on a 90-day adventure through the entire Bible. Our hope is that we would gain a new perspective by reading the Bible quickly (an "aerial" view) versus and reading the Bible devotionally (an "on the ground" view). From time to time, I hope to share our insights. Here is one from one of our Administrative Assistants, Amie Fox:
I have felt incredibly inspired by God through the stories I’ve read so far. Some of my previous understandings of Him have definitely deepened and I find I’m just more in awe of Him than before. I’m sure that will continue through the rest of the reading plan. There is one thing that I specifically wanted to mention because I thought of our (Jubilee’s) presence in St. Louis and sensed God’s favor. In Exodus 3:19-20 when God is speaking to Moses about the Israelites enslavement in Egypt by the Pharaoh, He said, “I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except under heavy pressure. So I will reach out and strike at the heart of Egypt with all kinds of miracles. Then at last he will let you go,” and I remembered how in previous years it was prophesied over Jubilee that God would cause us to be fruitful throughout the St. Louis region and specifically at the heart of our city...
In reviewing what I know of St. Louis and what I know of God, I was encouraged by the fact that no matter the type or degree of enslavement our city can be experiencing in poverty, depression, abuse, etc. -we serve a God whose arm is not too short to save or incapable of breaking the chains. In fact, the heavier and stronger the chains, the greater and more powerful His miracles!
Above it all though, as I continued to follow their journey into freedom, what I was most moved by was God’s heroic nature. His determination to rescue us despite our circumstances is so captivating... and a reminder of how He alone is worthy of my worship.
We just finished our four part "Jubilee Series" where we looked at Jubilee Past, Jubilee Present, Jubilee Future and How to Participate. If you missed it and call Jubilee home, I would highly encourage you to listen to these messages. The can be downloaded from our website.
This Sunday I am very excited to kick off our 10 week sermon series "God Series" where we seek to reveal the breadth and depth of God's brilliant character to a world that is desperate to know Him. While no sermon series can comprehensively reveal all of God's glory, our hope is that through this series people will come face to face with the grandeur and majesty of who God is and how He interacts with His creation, mankind. As an added bonus to the series, all Jubilee Action Tracks (small groups) will be discussing this sermon series in their weekly gatherings. We hope you will join us for this significant series of messages.
Going through the Bible in 90 days has been a great experience so far. Genesis. Done. Exodus. Done. Leviticus. Done. Here's what I know so far - God is very good and humans have an unbelievable capacity to mess up, take for granted and forget God's grace and mercy. Most people view the God described in the Old Testament as the mean, old grumpy God who destroys everything and gives rules that are impossible to follow, and that it took Him to the New Testament to mellow out and be nice. God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He has always been gracious merciful.
1) He sent Adam and Eve away from the Garden, but gave them the promise of a Savior (Gen 3:15) and would not leave them separate forever (Gen 3:22)
2) Spared humanity through Noah
3) Promised blessing to the whole world through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3)
4) Was willing to spare Sodom for not 50, not 45, not 40, not 30, not 20, but for the sake of 10 righteous...oh well...there was 10 found righteous
5) Saved His people from bondage (Ex 1-15)
6) Feed them manna (Ex 16:31) and supplied water from a rock (Ex 17)
7) Gave them leadership (Ex 18)
8) Gave them a sacrificial system to deal with their sin (Leviticus)
Through all this, the primary response form people was to complain and forget the promises and faithfulness of God. In your life, what are the blessings God has given you? Do you remind yourself of them often or do you tend to complain about what you don't have?