Northshore U: Who Needs Theology?

Northshore-U

Northshore U is a ministry of Northshore Community Church and is designed to help you deepen your understanding of God’s word and learn to follow Him more passionately. These classes dig deeper into the text and themes of the Bible as well as offer practical training in following Jesus.

This session, I am teaching an 8-week class called Who Needs Theology? Your theology—your thoughts on God—are your most important thoughts because they determine everything else in your life. If this is true, then we ought to dig deeper into what we believe and why we believe it. In this Northshore U class, we will explore how the Bible reveals who God is, who we are, and how He saves us to be the church for the world. If you want a fancy term for what we’ll explore, it will be a crash course in “systematic theology.”

We’ll cover the following topics:

1 – Who Needs Theology?

2 – The Bible (the nature of revelation, inspiration, inerrancy)

3 – The Trinity (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)

4 – People & Sin (The image of God, the nature of sin)

5 – Salvation & the Work of Jesus Christ (the doctrine of atonement)

6 – The Church (the people of God & our mission)

7 – Things to Come (end times, heaven, & hell)

8 – Putting It All Together (how to live a theologically shaped life)

As part of the class experience, we will read Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little.

The class begins Thursday, September 24 from 6:30-8 pm at Northshore. Children’s Ministry is provided for infants through 4th grade.

For more info on Northshore U or to register, go HERE.

Jesus is Far More

Original Jesus Series Graphic

The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He *found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael *said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:43-51, emphasis added)

Jesus is far more than Nathanael imagined. He wasn’t just a Messiah on a white horse who would free the Jews from Roman oppression. Jesus could do that, but that wouldn’t change the human condition. Jesus did something far greater. Jesus took all of humanity’s sin—all of our rebellion, guilt, and self-absorption—upon Himself, and He paid the price for it. He was raised from the dead, ultimately defeating sin and death, and He offers us a whole new life. Not a better version of you, but a new version of you. Greater things than these, Nathanael, greater things than these.

Jesus is far more than you can imagine.

Many people come to Jesus looking for a good, moral teacher who gives life principles so we can be better people. Well, Jesus does that, but He doesn’t stop there. He tells us that we can’t be better people in our own strength. He says that we can’t bridge earth to heaven and change our own hearts to be those better people. But He can help us. He can change us. Jesus is far more than you can imagine.

Or we come to Jesus to fix our relationships. Well He can and does do that, but He doesn’t stop there. He says, “I want to fix your relationships, but I need to start by fixing you. And you can’t fix what’s wrong with you until you know what’s wrong with you. What’s really wrong with you is this thing called sin, this condition that is deep within you that perverts and destroys the good that I know you want to do. You can’t fix that, but I can.” Jesus is far more than you can imagine.

Or we come to Jesus to help us fix our finances. And He can do that, but He does it by reorienting our perspective and priorities toward our stuff. He says, “I’m not just here to fix your finances. I’m actually here to turn your life and your value system upside down. I’m here to ground your security, value, and hope in Me and My love for you.”

Jesus is far more than you can imagine. He is God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of heaven and earth. He is the Only One who can defeat sin and death. The Only One who can bridge heaven and earth. The Only One who can change your life and who can change our world. Can anything good come from Nazareth? Come and see. Come and see.

 

 

Christmas in February

expected one

Over the past few months, I have been lingering in the Gospel of Luke during my time in God’s word. This morning I read and meditated upon Luke 7:18-23. Jesus has just healed the centurion’s servant (Luke 7:1-10) and raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-17). John the Baptist’s disciples reported these miracles to their teacher. He then sends two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” This one question holds hundreds of years of longing and anticipation. This one question holds all their hope. This one question holds a radical faith that God will show up.

When John’s disciples finally ask Jesus this question, He healed many people right in front of them. People who were diseased and afflicted. People who were possessed by evil spirits. Jesus showed them that He was the Long Awaited One. Then Jesus quotes a few verses from the prophet Isaiah, who called God’s people to live with anticipation and expectation that one day, the Long Awaited One, the Expected One, would show up and bring rescue and restoration.

This morning was like Christmas in February for me. I reflected upon the carol “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”

Come Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free, 

From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art, 

Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King, 

Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.

By Thine own eternal spirit, Rule in all our hearts alone, 

By Thine all sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Here’s my question for you: are you living with a sense of expectation and excitement that Jesus can and will show up in the midst of your life (even with all of its ups and downs) to bring rescue and restoration?

Jesus, be the Joy of our longing hearts.

Snapshots of the Loved

When we open the pages of the New Testament in the Bible and read the opening line of Matthew’s Gospel, it reads like this: “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” And then we keep reading and it’s a list of names. It’s a family tree. It’s a family photo album. And if we keep reading through this list of names in Jesus’ family tree, we find some interesting characters. People with sorted and illicit pasts… liars and cheats… adulterers and murderers. And this is the family tree of Jesus, the Messiah… the long-awaited, long-anticipated One who would come to bring His people home. And as Matthew, the guy who opens his story of Jesus with a list of names, knows very well… this list of names doesn’t just tell us about the kind of people that Jesus came from… it tells us about the kind of people that Jesus came for.

Perhaps Matthew knew this better than others… because he has his own story to tell. You see, if Matthew told us his story, he’d tell us that he was a massive disappointment to his parents. He’d tell us that most of his family had taken him off of their Hanukkah card lists. We know some things about Matthew’s story. One of the things we know is that Matthew has another given name that’s found in Scripture—it’s the name Levi.

Levi was a name that parents gave their children when they expected them to grow up to be spiritual giants and spiritual leaders. Matthew was from the tribe of Levi, the tribe that provided the priests for Israel. Matthew likely came from a family that had generations of religious leaders and priests. Matthew’s parents expected that he’d follow in their footsteps… that he’d be like his father, his grandfather… maybe even his great grandfather. But as the way life has this tendency to go, our idyllic storied lives often take some difficult twists and turns along the way. There are ups, and there are downs. There are good things, and there are bad things.

We don’t know exactly how Matthew’s story goes before we meet him in the Bible. Perhaps Matthew was on the right track as a kid. Perhaps he went to Jewish junior high and high school. Then he applied to become a priest. But for some reason, his application wasn’t accepted. You can picture the moment he goes to the mailbox and opens the rejection letter. “Dear Levi, after an extensive review of your application to become a priest, we regret to inform you that you did not make the cut.” You can imagine the absolute sense of failure and disappointment, not only in his own heart, but especially with his parents. This Matthew… this Levi. Such high hopes, but such failure. Again, we don’t know much of the story, but we do know that when we finally meet him in the Bible, he’s a tax collector. And just so you know, tax collectors on the other end of the spectrum priests. Tax collectors were hated. They were despised. They worked for the Roman authorities, and they exacted taxes and oftentimes extorted their own people more than the prescribed amount to line their own pockets. They were outcasts. The were called “sinners.”

And then we read this. “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him” (Matthew 9:9). READ Two words that change everything—“Follow Me!” Jesus didn’t give Matthew an application to follow Him. He gave Him an invitation to relationship… an invitation to a completely different way to live life. And the Bible tells us that Matthew left everything and began to follow Jesus. And Matthew is so excited that this Jesus, the One that people have been whispering about… the One who could be the long-awaited Messiah, the One who would deliver God’s people, that he throws a party. Remember, at this point in Matthew’s life, he doesn’t have any prim and proper friends in his social circle. The only people he knows are other down and outers. People on the far, far margins of life… tax collectors, prostitutes, and other disreputable people. And Jesus shows up to that party, and He just loves on these people. He’s completely comfortable with them as He pursues them with His unconditional love.

At this point in the story, some of the religious leaders, the highbrow types, show up and ask why Jesus is hanging out with these “tax collectors and sinners.” One of the more earthy translations of the Bible calls this group of people “scum.” Jesus’ response, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician but those who are sick.” And then here’s how Jesus puts the finishing flourishes on this conversation with these religious leaders and teachers, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” I’m not sure if those highbrow religious leaders learned anything that day. But Matthew did. He learned that Jesus loves you when no one else does. He learned that Jesus pursues you when everyone else gives up on you. He learned that Jesus has enough grace and hope for you no matter what you’ve done. That’s what Matthew learned that day.

You see, Jesus came into Matthew’s life and put flesh on love. And in response to that love, Matthew followed Jesus for the rest of his days. Matthew saw Jesus pursue and love the least, the last, and the lost. He saw that love lead Jesus to the cross where Jesus was put to death as He paid the price for our sin, guilt, and shame. He heard Jesus’ love exhaled in the words “It is finished.” As Matthew followed Jesus… as he left everything behind for a new kind of life, he learned that Jesus loves you when no one else does.

That’s why Matthew opens his Gospel with a list of names… a list of names that tells us so much more than just the kind of people that Jesus came from. Matthew’s list of prostitutes and outsiders and adulterers and murderers really tells us about the kind of people that Jesus came for.

And so right after Matthew finishes penning the last of those names, he tells us about the birth of Jesus. And this isn’t a mere recounting of history. It truly is a historical account, but it’s so much more. The birth of Jesus, the coming of God’s love, hope, and grace, the coming of God with skin on, is what changed everything in Matthew’s life… and it’s what can change everything in your life as well. So let’s listen to what Matthew wrote.

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Jesus… the One who loves you when no one else does. Jesus… the One who pursues you when everyone else has given up on you. Jesus… the One who has enough grace and hope for you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. Jesus, the One and only One who will save His people from their sins.

Summer Series: DREAMER

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We all have dreams planted deep within our hearts. We all have hopes and desires for the future. Whether realistic aspirations or flights of fancy, it’s hard when those dreams fall apart and life doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. In life’s twists and turns, we have to ask ourselves some questions: Is this my dream or God’s dream for me? How will I respond when my dreams fall apart? How is God developing my character in the midst of my disappointment?

When those dreams fall apart, we can learn a lot from the biblical character Joseph. He had a God-given dream, yet there were many moments in his life when he couldn’t see how it would all turn out. In the end, God’s character proved faithful, and Joseph’s character proved patient. This summer, come discover how God can and will shape your life and character when your dreams and hopes fall apart.

Here’s the line-up for the series:

June 30 – When Your Dreams Fall Apart (Genesis 37:1-36)

July 7 – The Temptation of Shortcuts (Genesis 39:1-20)

July 14 – Forgotten & Disappointed (Genesis 39:21-40:23)

July 21 – Handling Success (Genesis 41:1-57)

July 28 – Getting Unstuck (Genesis 42:1-44:34)

August 4 – Divine Perspective (Genesis 45:1-15)

August 11 – Restoration (Genesis 45:16-46:30)

August 18 – Summer Sunday at Juanita High School

August 25 – God at Work (Genesis 46:31-47:31)

September – A Life Well Lived (Genesis 50:22-26)

For more information on Northshore and our Sunday services, click HERE.

The Rest & The Storm

The Glorious Crown

Crown of broken glass by Christina Bothel

“Jesus is both the rest and the storm, both the victim and the wielder of the flaming sword, and you must accept Him or reject Him on the basis of both. Either you’ll have to kill Him or you’ll have to crown Him. The one thing you can’t do is just say, ‘What an interesting guy.’

Please don’t try to keep Jesus on the periphery of your life. He cannot remain there. Give yourself to Him–center your entire life on Him–and let His power reproduce His character in you.”

~ Tim Keller, King’s Cross

New Series: Hello, My Name is God

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Do you ever wonder about God? Do you ever wonder what He’s like? Do you ever wonder what He does? Our questions about God are our most important questions, and the answers we find shape our lives. In exploring who God is and what God is like, we discover that He meets us where we’re at… in our darkest fears and deepest needs. The Apostle Paul takes us on a journey in Romans 8 to discover who God is and what He’s like. He shows us that God gives us life out of His great love for us. He tells us that God takes our greatest pain in life and turns it to good. He reveals that God will never leave or forsake us. Here are some things about God that we’ll discover over the next 6 weeks:

March 31 – God Gives Us Life (Romans 8:1-11)

April 7 – God Adopts Us (Romans 8:12-17)

April 14 – God Gives Us Hope (Romans 8:18-25)

April 21 – God Listens to Us (Romans 8:26-27)

April 28 – God Redeems Our Pain (Romans 8:28-30)

May 5 – God Never Leaves (Romans 8:31-39)

If you’ve ever wondered what God is like, then join us for this new 6-week series beginning Easter Sunday. Your life won’t be the same.

Invite someone to Easter services with the email invite tool below as we will begin this series.

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New Beginnings

Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.
The beasts of the field will glorify Me,
The jackals and the ostriches,
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to My chosen people.
The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise.

 

Isaiah 43:18-21