It’s all about Jesus and He is all about changed lives!

27 07 2013

This month we are taking some time to ask ourselves a few questions.

  • “Why are we doing church?”
  • “What is God up to?”
  • “What is it all about?”

We believe that God is alive and aware.

We believe that God has purpose for us.

We embrace the reality that no one is perfect.

We are changed because God has forgiven us.

We believe that God has written us a letter for help in this life.

Here’s a few selections from this letter and several thoughts we’re considering:


For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  Romans 5:8

Confess, believe, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  Romans 10:9-13

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  Romans 8:1-2

Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.   Romans 8:38-39

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  1 John 1:8-9

Gen 1:26-28 Image Mission

Mt 22:36-40 Love God & others

Mt 6:31-34 Focus on Kingdom

Mt 16:13-19 Jesus with church in view

Mt 28:18-20 Go make disciples

Lk 19:10 Jesus came to seek and save

Mt 5:14-16 we are a light, a city

1 Jn 4:19 we can love because He loved

Rm 5:5 God’s love poured into us

Jn 17:20-23 Jesus prayed for us

1 Pt 2:9 proclaim He who called you

Let’s summarize these God thoughts:

1.  God saved us because He loves us
2.  God’s purpose – bring Him glory with result = changed lives
3.  I’m the most like Jesus when serving out of a pure heart

Our purpose is: Helping people connect with Jesus, grow in faith, and share His love.

We describe Salvation as a Fresh Start:

A second chance at life. By turning away from our sin and turning to Jesus we are provided an opportunity to be new.

At CBC Baltimore we all need a “fresh start” and nobody walks alone.

This means that it’s all about Jesus and that He is all about changed lives!

How do we define Spiritual Maturity?

  • Intimacy with God
  • Community with Insiders
  • Influence with Outsiders.

To that end: the church is a great place to connect with God and to connect with people.

This is why we:

  • Connect – Weekend Worship
  • Grow – Life  Groups
  • Share – Courageous Generosity

This is why we now see:

  • Loving Jesus in a way that people talk about.
  • Where people find salvation & healing in Jesus.
  • Helping people find careers & peaceful homes.
  • Where everyone can find a place that they fit.
  • Serving the city with love that works.

This is why we are who we are and why we do what we do!

Love Gives: Beliefs and Practices

9 07 2013


When Jesus was asked what was the most important law in all of Holy Scripture, this was His response:

“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’

This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it:

‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’

These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”

Matthew 22:37-40  from The Message

CBCBaltimore is: Helping people connect with Jesus, grow in faith, and share His love. Helping people take next steps in following Jesus.

Reflecting on Scriptures we discussed:

Ephesians 3:8-10 “so we can do,”

Matthew 18:15-20 “I’m there,”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “love is…”

Under every behavior there is a  belief.

So let’s look at beliefs and behaviors for “Love God” and “Love Others”.

Love God – Beliefs

  • God is alive, aware, Creator & King,
  •    always giving & forgiving,
  •    worthy without weakness & malice.
  • God is a “rewarder” & tenacious.
  • God’s love for me is better than…
  • When I love God I am better than…

Love God – Practices

  • Turn myself back to constant awareness of who & what He is.
  • List & celebrate what He’s done for me.
  • Steward what He’s given me.
  • Give my focus/energy to Him.

Love Others – Beliefs

  • We’re created in His image.
  • There’s a reward.
  • We represent Jesus.
  • Results are up to Him.

Love Others – Practices

  • Choose Courageous Generosity
  • Available for Intentional Relationships
  • Share Life
  • Serve
  • Celebrate
  • Support

Love Gives – Personal Results

  • Intimacy with God
  • Community with Insiders
  • Influence with Outsiders

Here’s a prayer that we can pray asking God for help:

“Dear God, please forgive me for the times that I have not loved the way that you do. Help me dream big & think small. Give me the grace to love You & others more all the time.”

abideMy suggestion is that you also take further action to help you grow stronger in the love of Jesus.

Carve out time to read Jesus’ words recorded in John 15:1-17.

Okay, now read those words again slower.

Jesus’ speaks of “abiding”…or we could say, “remain in me”, or “stay”. He speaks of an ACTIVE CONNECTION with Him. Jesus’ refers to something that requires a decision from us…an intentional turning ourselves back to Him…a staying in His presence…a constant awareness of Him. This isn’t a passive thing on our part. It’s an active thing. It’s not like a “set it and forget it” wifi setting on your phone or tablet.

What is the emphasis of His words here? “Stay in Me.”

What results come of this?

v 4 “I will remain in you,”

v 5 “produce much fruit,”

v 16 “lasting fruit,”

v 7 “My words remain in you,” answered prayer

v 10 “we will obey His commandments,”

v 11 “overflowing joy, so that My joy may remain in you and that your joy may be full,”

v 17 “love each other”

v 14-15 “friend of God,”

Carve out some time to write out how you can “remain in Jesus”. How do we do that?

Try asking yourself a few questions, such as, “What do I believe about…?”

  • Jesus is…
  • Jesus’ life on earth means ____ to me.
  • Jesus’ death on earth means ____ to me.
  • Jesus’ resurrection means ____ to me.
  • God’s love for me is ____.
  • God’s love for me means ____.
  • An active connection with Jesus brings me ____.

Results of this active connection with Jesus: salvation from Hell, eternity in Heaven, forgiveness of sin, freedom from sin, “fruit” (positive results in my life) that last, and a purpose for every day in my life.

If I truly believe these things it should be easier for me to do the following, in pursuit of an active connection with Jesus: make time, turn back to Jesus’ believing that He forgives, read about Him, reflect on what you read & what He’s done, write out what you believe and what He’s done, memorize Scripture and then pray it, celebrate the good that God has done in your life, and tell someone else about it.

Consider these words from Hebrews 12:

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joyawaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

14Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

15Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Jesus said, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:16-17

Here’s a prayer to use:

“Dear God, please forgive me for the times that I have not kept an active connection with you. Give me the grace to remain in You. Help me dream big & think small to strengthen my relationships.”

Love Gives in your neighborhood, work, and marriage.

9 07 2013

Picture1Our Sunday series “Love Gives” about relationships has us talking about our neighborhoods, workplaces, and marriages.

Jesus said, “Love God,  Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Jesus  Mt 22:37-38

Jesus tells a story in Luke 10:25-37 about a good neighbor.

This good neighbor provided real help by:

  1. Compassion
  2. Courage
  3. Creativity
  4. Cash & Credit

That’s why we talk about “Courageous Generosity” – choosing to live on less time, energy, money so that we can be a blessing to others.

This is why we choose to:

Share Life      Be Available

Serve            Take Action

DUKE 19 IDonald Schaefer (Mayor, Governor) said that AC was the worst thing for Baltimore because people retreated into their homes and stopped being involved in each other’s lives. At times, you have to spend time outdoors to be available for relationships with neighbors.

Psalm 112 gives us a great picture of what people look like who can really change a neighborhood.

They are Generous, Compassionate, Righteous, Confident, Fearless, and Triumphant.

They lend money generously, conduct their business fairly, not overcome by evil, trust in the Lord, share freely, and give generously to those in need.

There are Benefits to living this kind of life: Joy, Children & Generation Blessed, Influence, Honor, Remembered.

You can listen to my wife Rebecca teach on this and describe our Baltimore neighborhood experiences: here.

Here’s a Prayer we can pray in response:

“Dear God – Please forgive me for that times that I’ve lived a selfish life & ignored my neighbor. Help me choose courageous generosity. Please find me sharing life and serving my neighbors. Thank you for this opportunity to reflect your love.”

Howard Thurman

What about when I go to work or school?

Many people don’t know that Dr Howard Thurman helped Dr Martin Luther King Jr, greatly in his work.

These two pastors changed our country for good. Pastor Thurman is known as the first pastor of a racially blended mega-church in the USA. He had a great full life of service, ministry, and work. Some know him for the quote attached here.

He understood that God created each of us for a specific purpose. Before Adam and Eve sinned, God gave them a purpose in their lives. Work is not a consequence of their sin. When your vocation is fulfilling and a part of your identity, you can know a truly great life!

In Jesus’ work we see: Stewardship, Servant Leadership, and Vocational Integrity. When Jesus was at work He was always: Inspired, Honest, and Adding Value to Others.

From the book, “Your Work Matters to God” we see Four Reasons for Work:work

1.Serve People
2.Meet Our Needs
3.Earn Money to Give
4.Love God
The Bible does provide us some perspective about when we go to work:
  1. Expect evil.
  2. God is sovereign.
  3. God expects us to act.
  4. God uses evil.

Team work is better just working together:

Are you a team player?

•Selfless & Mission Conscious
•Prepared & Intentional
•Dependable & Disciplined
•Tenacious & Solution Oriented
There are benefits to your organization, in 4 areas of the organization and you, if you work well as a team:
1.Arena – We both know
2.Mask – I know, you don’t know
3.Blind Spots – You know, but I don’t
4.Potential – We don’t know, God knows
If we do this it will be easier to: Enjoy it & celebrate milestones and trust God with the results.
Here’s a prayer to help:
“Dear God, please forgive me for the times that I have not seen my work the way that you do. Help me see what you see. Give me the grace to work in a way that pleases You. Please find me sharing life and serving my teammates. Thank you for this opportunity to reflect your love.”
Harbaugh FamilyHow does love give in our marriages?
Every family looks a little different and yet we can learn from our God of love.
Reading Ephesians 5:21, 25, 33; 6:1-4 is a perfect start! “Submit to each other” is the right way to start a relationship each day. Choosing to love a person in a steady and sacrificial way is a God-kind-of-love, “agape”.
Don’t let life cause you to give up on what your marriage could be like!
We can Dream Big and Think Small to make real decisions about how we spend our time. For each relationship we can define our:  Roles and Goals..also how we can Serve and Surprise them.
A “Jesus Follower Dad” has Benefits:
1.Forgiven Forgiver
2.Faithfulness Favor
3.Connected to the Provider
4.Compassionate Encourager
Here’s a prayer that we can pray regarding our marriages and family relationships:
“Dear God, please forgive me for the times that I have not loved my family the way that you do. Help me dream big and think small. Give me the grace to love my family in a way that pleases You. Please find me sharing, serving, and surprising my family. Thank you for this opportunity to reflect your love.”