CORE VALUE #2: LOVE EACH OTHER

We like people who like us. Have you ever thought about that?  When you are unsure of a person (let's call him Joe for example) and then someone comes and says to you, "I was speaking with Joe and he told me how amazing he thinks you are and believes you are a true leader."

What do you feel as you consider Joe?  Wow, I really like Joe - he is a good guy.  Now imagine the opposite is true. You run into that same person, but instead they say, "I saw Joe yesterday and he said that you are a real idiot and that he does not believe in you."  Let those words sink in.  Now how do you feel about Joe?  Do you have a feeling of love for Joe or are you like the majority of humanity who would most likely respond with feelings of dislike for Joe. We live in a world that operates just like that.  

The previous Sunday we considered what it means to Love God - our numero uno Core Value and the Greatest Command (Matt. 22:38).  This Sunday we will be considering community, dealing with the second Greatest Command; and our second Core Value: love each other. Jesus' standard for love was to love others the way that we desire to be loved. Wouldn't that entail liking people, as we desire to be liked? It is amazing that we all want to be liked and yet I wonder why we don't always want to do the same in return. I hope you are able to join us this Sunday at 5pm. - Will

CORE VALUE #1: LOVE GOD

During the month of September we are reviewing our core values, while at the same time, doing our best to seek God in the process.  This past Sunday we made the decision to take the 30-Day challenge.  "Just what does that entail?" I'm glad you asked! My trainer in Young Life (Chuck Reinhold - featured with his wife Linda) use to give us this challenge when I was a trainee with Young Life, in order to help us grow in our faith and relationship with Jesus.

If you accept the challenge, you are agreeing to do your best to spend 30 straight days carving out time each day to read your Bible and to talk and listen to God.  In addition to reading & praying, keep a pen and journal handy, ready to capture any ideas that God brings to your mind in the process.  Be sure to write down any idea or prayer concerns so that you can look back later as a reminder of God's faithfulness. 

Lastly, invite another person or persons to hold you accountable and take the challenge as well. If either person misses a day, you agree to start over again and continue on that plan until you two can both spend a month of daily time with God, without missing a day.  You do not need to be together to do this challenge and you can both choose different things to read in the Bible, so the plan has flexibility.

THROWING STONES

Wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone were kind and loving?  That is far from reality. We as humans can easily offend others, and often act out of selfish intent.  When people operate in that manner around us or when they are downright mean, it can cause a number of different responses within us.  When someone sins against you in word or action, you may naturally want to retaliate.  When we witness another person making major mistakes or one who offends us, it is all too easy to stand in judgment or cast stones in their direction.  Throwing stones can take many forms: We may speak ill of them, we might slander their character, we might confront them head on or try to hurt them in some regard.  We will consider how we might deal with those who offend us and what it means to trust Jesus in a world full of humans who make mistakes just like us. 

PRESS ON

In 1998, Dr. Spencer Johnson wrote a book titled, "Who Moved My Cheese."  It became a number one best seller and addressed the subject of humans dealing with change.  Bottom line, not many humans are thrilled about it and may resist, rebel or even leave when they feel that change makes them feel uncomfortable. 

In the past year - Bridge has changed its venue for meeting, the time of the service, the name of the church and even many of the leaders.  You couldn't move more cheese if you tried. The changes have not come easy and yet the leadership has tried to do its best to make decisions prayerfully and as they have been necessary.   Please pray for our church and the leadership team as we continue to follow Jesus as He directs.

Acts: YOUR STORY

While the Apostle Paul was in a place known as Caesarea, he was given the audience of a king.  King Agrippa interviewed him to find out if he was guilty and deserving of prison or death.  In response, Paul shared his story with the king and all those who were listening (Acts 26:1-29).  Woven into his account was a unique life intersection in which Paul came to know Jesus.  That interaction and exchange changed him forever.  

In what ways has God changed your life?  How do you see Jesus today?  If you were to describe some highlights from your life, what interaction with Jesus moved you?  How did you come to know Him?  As we read over Paul's example, let's consider how we might apply certain elements to our lives today.

Acts: PRESSING ON

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and quitting on something or someone?  Life is not easy and it can be tempting to call it quits some times. The Apostle Paul faced trial after trial, with severe adversity, and yet he carried on.  He often mentioned being led by God's Spirit, followed by his willingness to press on.  How are we doing when it comes to listening to God's Spirit and following Him, regardless of the direction?  We serve the Living God, who not only has the wisdom to lead us, but the power to strengthen us when life gets difficult.  Let's lean into Him this week. (Join us in reading along in our study of the Book of Acts: Chapters 21 - 24).

Acts: COMMON GROUND

Have you ever found yourself somewhere feeling totally out of place?  How did you adapt or react to the situation?  How did you feel when you were in that environment?

Paul once found himself miles from Jerusalem in a foreign land (Athens, Greece) and surrounded by idol worshippers.  Here is what he had to say to those around him, "For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you." He looked for something he could use to build common ground with those he felt alienated by.  As a result, he made new friends and many came to faith that day as a result of his tact and genuine love for others. 

Next time we feel out of place, let's pray and ask God to give us wisdom to build common ground with those we may not see eye to eye with.  Love others entails taking an interest in their world, even when we feel out of place. We care pressing on in our study of the Books of Acts (This week: Acts 17 - 20).

Acts: TRUSTING IN ADVERSITY

Yes, I realize that we discussed Peter's escape from prison last week, and yet, here we are with another jail tale.  No, we are not obsessed with incarceration in Biblical times, but this account is difficult to overlook.  We are half way through our study of the Book of Acts and hope that you can join us this week to take a closer look at the way in which Paul and Silas handled adversity, and used it as an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of others.  How do you and I handle adversity in today's world? 

Acts: JAILBREAK

This week as we carry on our study of Acts, we continue to hear about more miracles. As Peter boldly proclaims to others the truth about Jesus Christ, he is locked up for doing so.  After a brief time in jail, an angel shows up on the scene, and helps Peter escape from this Roman prison (Acts 12:1-19).  Peter simply returns to what he was doing before he was locked up.  Imagine the surprise of those who locked him up when they came to realize that he was back on the streets, and that chains and bars could not bring an end to their desire to silence the truth concerning Jesus.

As you read this weeks chapters found in Acts 10 - 13, take some time to consider if there is anything that holds you back from allowing the truth of Jesus to be seen in your life.  Are there any chains that hold you back from truly experiencing Jesus today?  What would it mean to trust God's Spirit as these early followers did?  I am challenged as I continue to read about those who stepped out in faith on a daily basis and saw God show up as a result.

Acts: LISTEN AND OBEY

In Acts chapter 8, there is an interesting account told about a follower of Jesus by the name of Philip. He was told by an angel to head south down a road from Jerusalem toward Gaza. Most of us would here the word Gaza and consider the constant tension that exists on the Gaza strip to this day. Phil made his way there, although there were no other instructions as to what to do when he was on the road or where his next destination would be. While he was on the road, he saw a chariot with an Ethiopian man reading and God told him to go stand near the chariot. Once again, no further instructions, other than where he should stand.  The man in the chariot happened to be reading a passage from the Old Testament that made absolutely no sense to him.  What transpired was that Phil not only explained the passage but connected it to Jesus. The result was the man coming to know Jesus and he was baptized that day. 

How do we listen to the direction of God's Spirit each day?  What if we sense God wants us to do something or go somewhere but we are not sure what we will do once we get there?  As in this account with Philip, God often only directs us as far as we can see regarding the next few steps ahead. Why does this matter?  Imagine if God told you and me what the next 5 years would hold. I don't know about you, but I would probably charge out with the plan and check back in with God in 5 years time for my next instructions. I believe the Lord cares more about our relationship with Him than He does the tasks. The more important part is staying connected so that we might listen and obey on the daily journey and not get lost on the road. I hope you have an amazing week connecting with God as we read Acts chapters 6 - 9.

Acts: UNSCHOOLED & ORDINARY?

Do you ever feel I'll equipped to make a significant impact with regard to your faith?  If so, you are not alone.  While we may walk through life imagining the first disciples to be spiritual giants, the truth is that they were ordinary people just like us.  What made them extraordinary, was when they relied on God's Spirit and trusted Him for the direction of their lives.  

If you are reading along with us this week (Acts chapters 3 - 5), then I am sure you saw verse 13 in chapter 4 that says, "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Ordinary people who were willing to simply trust God completely saw extraordinary things take place, because they had been with Jesus.  That same Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) is available to all who are willing to trust Him, even if we feel rather ordinary. What a tremendous hope He is!

Luke: ALONG THE ROAD

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend celebrating with family.  I know that it is also an important time to remember those who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom we enjoy each day.  One of our liberties that is all too easy to take for granted is the freedom of religion.  As we have been studying the Gospel of Luke, we are able to take time each day to open the Bible and consider the life of Jesus.  A freedom that some are not able to enjoy as we do. 

This week is our final week in the book of Luke.  Please take some time to read chapters 22 - 24.  As two men were walking along the road full of discouragement, Jesus showed up and encouraged them through the Scriptures.  They did not even realize that it was Jesus until He broke bread with them.  At that point, their spirits were lifted and they ran to tell the others.  I am not sure if you are wrestling with discouragement or a lack of hope, but I do know that Jesus is present walking beside us all the time and just like these men, it is possible to be unaware.  Just realizing His presence should offer hope. Let's connect with Him this week, as we are free to do so.

Luke: JESUS INVITES US TO CONSIDER PRIORITIES

As we carry on in our study of Luke's Gospel, this week we are reading along in chapters 16 - 18. In chapter 18, Jesus is confronted by a young wealthy man who asks Him what is necessary to receive eternal life.  In the midst of answering this man's question, Jesus let this man know that he was lacking in one area.  He then challenged the man to surrender that area and to follow Him whole-heartedly.  The man walked away with his head hung low, deciding instead to carry on in life without a willingness to trust Jesus with his life.  Let's continue to read through the Book of Luke and to ask ourselves some of the same difficult questions regarding our personal commitment to Jesus. 

Luke: LUKE & THE LOST

As we continue reading through the Book of Luke, this week we are reading chapters 12 - 15.  When you get to chapter 15, Jesus tells 3 stories to his audience to communicate one significant point. Something happens in the first two verses that cause Jesus to feel the need to express what God values in contrast to popular opinion in that day. Take some time to consider what God values as you read that chapter.  How do His values match our own?  This Sunday, we will be discussing how to practically live out His values 

Luke: "USE THE FORCE, LUKE"

For some reason, every time someone mentions the name "Luke", I think of Skywalker, and not the famous doctor, who was responsible for more of the New Testament material than any other single author (27.5%). The recent advertisements for the long awaited Star Wars sequel is not helping the matter.  

If you missed our first week exploring the first portion of Luke's Gospel, it's not too late to play catch up and take the "Luke Challenge."  We are asking that everyone simply take time to read along and explore the chapters for the week. Last week was chapters 1-4, and this coming week is 5-7. So if you are just starting the challenge, simply read the first 7 chapters before Sunday.  Why not keep some paper and a pen close at hand and invite God's Spirit to speak to you as you read along; after all, He is the co-author. Hope you can join us this Sunday at 5pm as we continue to consider the life of Jesus from this physician/reporter's perspective!

1 Cor. 15:16 EASTER SUNDAY SERVICE 5:00PM

I have had the privilege of visiting Israel on two occasions.  While there is some disagreement about which of the two tomb locations were where they believe Jesus' dead body was laid, there is no dispute concerning the fact that no one could find his body three days after his burial.  What is more convincing to note is that more than 500 witnesses saw Jesus after his resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6).  Join us this Sunday, as we celebrate the fact that Jesus is alive!  Hope you can join us at 5PM at our new location.

Chirst-centered Life: A TIME FOR CHANGE

Everyone responds differently to change. Some people resist it, others are indifferent to it and few people actually thrive in it. I do not believe in change simply for change sake; however, regardless of our differing personalities and how we may react to change, change is upon us as a church in several areas.

Due to the timing of Embassy Suites telling us that there would be no way to offer us a steady meeting place for approximately 3 months, the leadership team spent a great deal of time praying and surveying other potential venues.  We decided on the use of Christ Community Church on Sunday evenings for several reasons, but suffice it to say that we all felt that this was the right decision given our scenario. For more details regarding changes at J10, please click on the link below to listen to this past Sunday's message. 

This Sunday we will resume our Christ-centered Life series.  Hope you can join us at 5PM at our new location.

Potluck

This Sunday will be the pilot launch of our new venue, as Embassy Suites will not be an option for months to come.  Please join us for a unique Sunday evening service, at 5PM with potluck meal to follow.  We plan to have a short time of worship and a "Town Hall" meeting/message led by Will Cravens, with time for Q&A.  Please bring your best covered dish and enjoy the late afternoon with J10!  The location of the service for our Sunday's forward is: 21660 Red Rum Dr, Ashburn, VA 20147.

Christ-centered Life: Sticking Together: The Value of Community

Is anyone out there feeling a bit stir crazy when cooped up with snow, ice, wind and frigid temperatures?  After the 3-5 inch forecast last week became more than a foot of snow, most local churches kept their doors closed for safety sake. It was refreshing to join a number of familiar J10 faces at Manhattan's Pizzeria on Sunday afternoon.  Why is community so important?  What is it about our relationships together that has the power for life change and makes "community" one of the 6 catalysts, when it comes to growing in faith? Brave the cold this Sunday, as we carry on that discussion at the Embassy Suites in Ashburn @ 10AM.  If you are able, join us for lunch at Moe's next door, following the service!  

Christ-centered Life: DEALING WITH LIFE STORMS

How do you respond when an unexpected trial or crisis arises in your life?  Life storms are not something that we tend to welcome with open arms.  When they strike, usually we have little to no control regarding the timing of their initial impact, their severity and the length of time that they remain. Our only variables seem to be related to our response; how we face the squall, and who we invite to join us as we seek to weather the storm.  Storms are part of life and they are also one of the greatest catalysts for spiritual growth and maturity. Join us this week at Embassy Suites in Ashburn for an unforgettable service - featuring a few people sharing about their storm encounters that they were simply thankful to have survived. J10 Church meets at 10am, but come a few minutes early to enjoy beverages, sweets and some good conversation!