Be the Tree

“And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way” (Luke 19:2-4).

In Luke 19:1-10, the tree was where Zaccheus got his first look at Jesus. The tree was the intersection between this little man with big problems and a big God with a big heart. The tree was the meeting place of a man’s great need and Jesus’ great grace. The tree is where Jesus invited Zaccheus into relationship with Him.

Be the tree! Be the intersection between people’s hurt and God’s hope. Live the kind of life that helps people see who Jesus is and what He can do. Live the kind of life that’s different from the world around you so that when people are searching for meaning, purpose, and identity—for a different way to live—they’ll see something different in the way you live. You don’t have to have it all together. You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, when your life isn’t perfect and isn’t going as planned, God’s grace can shine all the more through your life. When your family, friends, neighbors or co-workers see you going through a difficult season with grace and perseverance, they’ll want to know how on earth you’re doing it. In those moments, be the tree. Help them see who Jesus is and what He can do.

Most importantly, be the tree that points to another tree. Our lives, our story, and our hope point to another tree—the cross—where Jesus ultimately gave His life for us.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, ESV, emphasis added)

Because of the tree Jesus hung on, we’re healed, changed, and transformed. In His grace and limitless love, He’s not only forgiven us our sin and rebellion, but He’s also provided us with the power to live differently…the power to live changed lives. The people in your world are searching for that, even if they don’t know it yet. Be the tree that points them to another tree, the beautiful tree…the cross of Jesus Christ.

How can you be “the tree” in your world?

Choosing Compassion

As we began our new series Stories from the Road, the conversations Jesus has and the stories He tells as He journeys to the cross are insightful. In every conversation and every story, there is a call to live out the heart of God. But in every conversation and in every story, the ultimate aim is to reveal more fully who Jesus is and what He’s come to do. Most of us have heard the story of the Good Samaritan, and we understand that the Samaritan showed compassion. So we believe the main point of the story is to be compassionate like the Samaritan. As we discussed Sunday, the story ultimately points us to Jesus and His compassion. He’s telling the story as He’s on the road to suffer (compassion = “with suffering”) for us. If we want to be compassionate people, it’s Jesus and the Holy Spirit who must change and transform us from the inside out. And as we grow in our relationship with Jesus and as the Spirit changes our heart, we grow in our ability to be people of compassion.

Where is Jesus calling you to grow in compassion as He transforms you from the inside out? Here are a couple of areas to consider:

  1. Compassion in your relationships – Who are the people who are closest to you? Your family, your friends, your classmates or workmates? Do you live a lifestyle of compassion with them? Are you sacrificially generous (time, talent, touch and treasure) with them? Are you struggling with compassion in any of these relationships? If so, ask Jesus to give you insight and discernment on why you’re struggling with compassion? Then ask Him to give you compassion for that person and in that relationship.
  2. Compassion in your ministry – Are you serving others within the body of Christ at Northshore? Are you connected in a small group? As you serve others, are you doing so out of an overflow of what Jesus is doing in your life? If not, ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Ask Jesus to give you His eyes to see people the way He sees them. Ask Jesus for wisdom in tangible ways to serve others at Northshore. And take action in compassion—do something out of compassion for someone else.
  3. Compassion in your mission to your world – Good works create Good Will which opens the door to share the Good News. Pray that Jesus will give you compassion for those who don’t yet know Him. And as He grows compassion in you, find tangible ways to serve your neighbor. Watch their home or pick up their mail while they’re out of town. Bake cookies for your neighbor. Invite them over for dinner. Mow their lawn. As you think about our global world, find a focus area or a need and discover how you can do something about it. Go on a global mission trip. Again, take action in compassion. A good place to discover how you can serve your world, locally and globally is to visit Northshore’s SERVE page on our website.

Choose compassion. Be prayerful and proactive. As you choose one or more of these areas, share it with a friend. Ask them to pray for you and hold you accountable in this area.

Here’s the audio for the message “Be Compassionate”

New Series: Stories from the Road

When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem~ Luke 9:51

Jesus journeys from heaven to earth to go to the cross. As He heads toward Jerusalem on His journey to the cross, He meets various people. Some grasp who Jesus is and what He came to do and some don’t. In each and every conversation, Jesus shares the heart of God, the heart of who He is and the heart of who He calls us to be. In Stories from the Road, we’ll lean in and listen to some of these conversations from the Gospel of Luke. Here’s the series line-up:

March 11 – “Be Compassionate” (Luke 10:25-37)

March 18 – “Be  Grateful” (Luke 17:11-19)

March 25 – “Be Transformed” (Luke 19:1-10)

April 1 – “Be Whole” (Luke 10:38-42)

Join us March 11 – April 1 as we explore who Jesus really is and who He invites us to be. This is a great series to invite your friends and family who don’t yet know Jesus. They’ll discover who Jesus really is, what He came to do, and how He changes everything!