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JR. Forasteros - November 21, 2021
From Series: "Church of Theseus"
An ancient Greek thought experiment asks us to imagine a ship that, over the years, has every plank and mast replaced. When there's no more original wood left, is it the same ship? Catalyst has changed a lot over the last decade. Despite all the changes, what defines us as a church? And what does that mean for our future?
More From "Church of Theseus"
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Where do we find Jesus today? According to Jesus, we find him among the outcast and marginal. And that's not a new idea - even for Jesus. Real religion, old time religion, the way God created us to be, looks like being a people who lives in solidarity with those who fall through the cracks in our society. So where do we find those people today? After all... that's where we'll find Jesus!
Religion is far too often nothing but platitudes. How many times have you heard, "God has a plan," or "It is what it is"? No wonder Marx called religion "the opiate of the masses!" But, at least for the prophet Isaiah, religion wasn't meant to pacify. Rather, God's arrival among us is meant to wake us up. No wonder God shows up among the marginalized, those most badly in need of justice! If we're going to find Jesus, we're going to find him among those who are most vulnerable.
It's easy to feel like we're not doing enough - especially when it comes to faith. Are we praying enough, serving enough, giving enough? Isaiah's Servant knows how that feels, which is why they remind us that what matters isn't our ability or performance. Our faithfulness is made possible because of God's work in our world. So how can we rest in God's faithfulness - especially when we feel too small to accomplish God's calling?
We love the idea that Jesus saves us from sin. But what does he save us for? What if Jesus' life is as important as his death? We kick off our new series by exploring how Jesus' death frees us to live Jesus' life. He shows us how to live, and dies so we can live like him. Let's begin the new year by igniting our faith like never before!
There's one person in the Christmas story we don't like to talk about - the guy who tried to kill Jesus, and in the process visited an atrocity on the families of Bethlehem. That's right: Herod the Great, the original Christmas Grinch. But is it possible we have more in common with Herod than we might think? Is it possible that we're grinchier than we realize? Join us for New Year's Day (and the 8th day of Christmas) as we explore how we can begin our new year taking our call to follow Jesus more seriously!
Christmas is a season of new life, of impossible possibility. Joseph illustrates for us the sort of faith that finds hope in the most unlikely places. As we approach Christmas, how can we attend to the Holy Spirit, particularly in those least likely places?
We're about to the time in the Advent season when the Christmas cheer begins to feel oppressive. After all, we know the world isn't really characterized by peace on earth or goodwill to all peoples. We might relate to John the Baptizer, who, after preparing the people for Jesus' ministry, found himself in prison. What do we make of Jesus' mysterious response to John? How do John and Jesus help us navigate the tension inherent in the Christmas season?
This time of year, nobody wants to be Scrooge. But the ba-humbug spirit is sneakier than we might think. John the Baptizer appears to us this year as the three spirits of Advent past, present and future to remind us what it looks like to be God's faithful people. Today, the question is: are we preparing ourselves for Jesus' arrival?
Ever feel like the world's ending? What comes to mind when you think of the apocalypse? Fire and brimstone? Sun blocked out and moon turning to blood? Bad news... right? Wrong. Somewhere along the way, we picked up the idea that God is going to abandon the world and take us all away. But that's wrong! The good news is that God loves the world - and home is where God's heart is. What does it look like for us to love the world the way God does?
'Curiosity' is not a word we associate with churches. Churches are more often known for quieting questions and insisting we 'just have faith.' But curiosity is a virtue - the most faithful people in Scripture were often curious. That's a good thing because God is bigger than any box we make, and when we choose to be curious, we often discover God in new and surprising ways. What does it look like for Catalyst to value curiosity?