Gateway Blog

Filter By:

Small Group Feature: Moving in Faith Beyond the Comfort Zone

A Lesson from Speed Bumps on the Road to Intimacy with God

 
 
Moving in Faith Beyond the Comfort Zone
 
All of us are familiar with the concept of "a comfort zone."  Some of us might think back to our first date, or perhaps our first job interview as experiences of getting out of our comfort zone that were absolutely necessary for our growth.
 
Although a wise individual might take these lessons and apply them to our growth in Christ, I will be the first to admit that I have not taken too many steps outside my own comfort zones in the area of faith.
 
That is not to say that I have not been willing to share my testimony with a willing audience -- or my willingness to share how Christ has impacted my life -- when people ask...  I am willing to do all of that.
 
What I find hard is actually listening with my full heart to what Jesus wants me to do with this life that He saved.
 
I confess that in my busy life here in Northern Virginia, it is too easy to stay in my comfort zone -- even in a life that has been as chaotic as mine has been over the past two years.
 
This week in our men's small group we examined the story of Ananias whom God called to minister to Saul of Tarsus (the man who would become the Apostle Paul) after his life altering encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
 
Saul had been on a mission to capture and punish followers of Christ, and Ananias knew this when our Lord sent him on his mission of healing. 
 
There are many surprising elements of this story -- not the least of which is the willingness of Ananias to place his trust in the Lord and heal someone who was a known persecutor of the Church.
 
That said, what I found most surprising about the story was that Ananias was so well attuned to the Lord's voice, that he answered instantly when he heard Jesus call his name.
 
I confess that my ears and my heart are not very well tuned to hear my Lord's voice.  Indeed, this is why I really need to take time out of my day to really listen with my ears and my heart to the words that Jesus is trying to share with me.
 
As we celebrate this Easter, we should remember that His gift to us was not only our salvation -- but also the restoration of our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  Now would probably be a great time to open our ears -- and our hearts.   I suspect that it is also the best way to challenge the limits of our "comfort zone" when it comes to practicing our faith.
Posted by Kevin Baugh with

Fantastic! - Resurrection Sunday

main image

Today Pastor Ed preached the culminating message in his series, "Fantastic - Incredible Stories from Jesus' Life and their Significance for Us."  Because many stories about Jesus are fantastic, but his Resurrection tops them all.

The service started with a moving testimony from Gateway member Kevin Hom.  His mother recently died, and he was having trouble dealing with her suffering at the end, and he was asking God "Why?"  He felt that God answered his prayer, telling him, "Kevin, I know how you feel.  I've been there before."

This has many implications, but he tied it to Jesus' death, giving it extra significance at Easter.

And then we talked about the Resurrection.

What if all of the Old Testament, all of human history, and even all of our own heart cries point to Jesus?

If this is what everything points to, we should know the truth of the Resurrection story, the context of the story, and the meaning of the story.

1) The Truth of the Resurrection

In a nutshell, some reasons to believe are:

The lives of the disciples suggest something very dramatic happened to them.

There's no good explanation for the resurrection story except that it literally happened.  (The Jews wouldn't have made it up -- that wasn't what they were looking for.  The swoon theory doesn't fit.  That the disciples were lying for years and years doesn't hold water -- even if they could pull it off, they had little to gain and much to lose.)

The New Testament documents were written too early for myth to have developed around Jesus' life.

There is no truly scientific reason for disbelieving it.

2)  The Context of the Resurrection.

The Bible is not a series of disconnected stories.  The Old Testament sacrificial system was an elaborate audiovisual aid to remind God's people that sin is costly.

The Day of Atonement in Leviticus recognized that sin is costly.  They found an unblemished lamb.  Killing a lamb was a great reminder, but they had to do it every year.

3)  The Meaning of the Resurrection.

We spend our lives looking for alternative meaning and hope.  Our souls long to be in a love relationship with God.  We're bound up in the consequences of our sin.

Jesus was the perfect lamb.

The Resurrection finishes God's Victory!

What if the Jesus story is what everything points to?

If that's true, it would be utterly Fantastic!

This story tops them all.

It's the most important story in our lives.

If it's true, you and I must fall down and worship.

***

I pray that the whole Gateway family got to worship God today and thank Him for His Fantastic Gift.

He is Risen!

Posted by Sondy Eklund with

12...82838485868788899091 ... 99100