Summary: Listen to the weekly audio messages from Resonate Church
Have you ever run a marathon? If you ever have, you're no stranger to the concept of enduring over a long distance. For the rest of us, running 26.2 miles probably seems virtually impossible. Whether we've run an actual race or not, we all face situations that test our endurance. We start running and hit a wall, and everything in us tells us to stop. When it seems impossible to go on, faith is just about putting one foot in front of the other again and again until we've finished the race.
There aren't too many stories more familiar than David and Goliath. David, the young shepherd with God on his side, beats the giant warrior Goliath. It's a great story, but what happens when we face our own giants? The story feels very inspirational in church, but what about after? When Sunday turns to Monday and our own personal Goliaths are looming over us, what do we do? Guest speaker Brian Cromer shares some practical steps to having the faith to face our own giants.
When we encounter problems in our lives too big for ourselves, it's vital to pray for a miracle. We have to ask God to do what we can't in our situations. But is that all? It's one thing to pray for a miracle, but then what? When we ask God to move for us, we can't just stop there. If we want to see God's miracles, we have to position ourselves to receive what we're asking for.
What are you carrying right now that you shouldn't be? Depression, anxiety, doubt, fear - it's easy to pick up weights that we aren't strong enough to hold. We carry a weight on our shoulders that we were never meant to bear while we look at ourselves and wonder why it's not working. Will we cling to the weights that are crushing us, or will we lay them down at the feet of someone who can carry what we can't?
Prayer is one of those things that we know we should do, but most of us probably don't really do it much. Sure, we might bow our heads and say a few words every now and then, but if we're honest, how many of us can say we have a real, vibrant prayer life? Are our prayers just a few words out of religious obligation every now and then? Wishes on some Bible-flavored genie we like to imagine but don't really believe in? An almost-literal Hail Mary when things are really bad and we've tried everything else? Or do we come before a loving father who's waiting to hear from us and ask him for what we need? God wants to move in ways we couldn't imagine in every one of our lives; all we have to do is have the faith to ask God for big things.
Every December, people all over the world celebrate something that was anticipated for centuries. In ancient Jewish culture, the birth of Jesus was an event that had been foretold hundreds of years prior. But when that long-awaited event finally happened, not everyone responded in the way we might expect. For some, the end of that waiting period meant a challenge to their own power, while for others it was merely an inconvenience that there just wasn't time to deal with. The lowest of society heard good news that they never would have expected would reach them, while those who seemingly had everything finally found what they were looking for. The question that these people over 2,000 years ago had to answer is the same one that we face today: what will you do with the person of Jesus?
Have you ever gotten "that" phone call, "that" text message? It only takes a second to take us from going about our business as usual to going through something we never saw coming. What do we do when we get news that's completely unexpected? Guest speaker Kenneth Wagner breaks down what to do when we find ourselves in a situation we would never have imagined.
Nobody likes waiting, but we're all familiar with it. When we want something we think we should have, no one wants to hear "not yet." But so often that's how God works. God is good and will do good for us, but we can't expect it on our own timetables. When we learn how to wait on God, we can begin to see what he's doing in us and around us right now to prepare us for whatever we're waiting for.
What are you waiting on? We're all waiting for something. Maybe it's a relationship, a child, or a career. Whatever it is, we all know the feeling of waiting for something we think we should have by now, but it's nowhere to be found. So often we ask God again and again for something, but he doesn't seem to answer. What can we do when we're waiting for God to come through for us, but he seems silent?
Who is the church for? Is it a place for nonbelievers to come and hear about Jesus, a hospital to bring hope for the spiritually sick? Or is it a place for Christians to grow closer to Jesus and learn to follow him better together? Of course, it's not really an either/or question. The church is both of those things. Only when we embrace the church as God's plan to change us can we truly take part in his plan to use the church to change the world.
We've all probably heard Christians say things that contradict each other, and it seems at times like the Bible contradicts itself too. Depending on who's talking, we've all been told that God wants us to be rich or poor, to strive for success or be content with little. So which is it? Is it wrong to want more money, fame, or success? Is it more spiritual to get rid of everything and live in poverty? Following Jesus isn't about what we do or don't have, but whether we look to God or to his gifts for satisfaction.
As Christians, we're called to be holy, to live set-apart lives, to not conform to the world. But does that mean we should escape the world entirely, separate ourselves from anyone who doesn't share our beliefs, and live fully "holy" lives where the world can't touch us? Or maybe it's the opposite. We can become all things to all people to save some, so does that mean we should be doing everything nonbelievers do so that we can gain their trust. It's easy to live holier-than-thou lifestyles that don't make a difference to anyone, or to try so hard to fit in with the world that we fall into the very things we want to pull others out of. There's no one answer to whether we should live set-apart lives or live alongside "unholy" people in the world. The truth is in the tension.
No one has ever said that being a parent is easy. At least, no one with kids. Being a mother or father comes with no shortage of challenges. Do you try to be your kid's friend or lay down the law to keep them safe? Do you focus on showing grace or truth? Like much of life, many of the choices we face as parents aren't about this or that. It's not a problem to be solved; it's a tension to be managed. If you are a parent, have a parent, or know a parent, you won't want to miss this message from guest speakers Eddy and Esther Shigley.
We often spend a lot of time trying to impress God. We may not use those words, but that's the reality of what we do. We put our trust in our ability to do things ourselves and expect God to give us favor because of what we can do. We try to move mountains on our own and expect God to follow along. But God doesn't work like that. He's not looking for what we can do. The faith that can see mountains move only comes when we trade our independence for dependence in God.
For Jameel McGee, a day that started out as a normal day like any other ended with him being arrested for a crime he never committed. When falsified reports and a lying police officer landed him in federal prison with a ten year sentence, all he wanted to do was get out and hurt the man who put him there. That man's name was Andrew Collins. Andrew's crimes eventually found him out, and he found himself in prison as Jameel's conviction was overturned. The two met again years later, but things didn't go the way they might have expected. Andrew and Jameel's story could easily have been one of hatred and revenge, but God had a different plan.