We are a church, a gathering of people, who are being transformed by the grace of God, who are bringing the transforming power of the good news to the communities we live in. This is the podcast of sermons at The Olive Branch Community Church in Markham, Ontario.
The word that best describes what God wants for this planet, for our relationship with Him, with each other, and with ourselves, is shalom. Shalom is what happens when we love God with all we are and love others as we love ourselves. It goes deeper than just peace and brings us to a place of wholeness, of happiness, of relational intelligence, and into the way things are SUPPOSED to be – the way things were CREATED to be. And when people begin to live that way, the peace, the shalom, the wholeness spreads to the places and people around them. The problem is we have lived so long in a kingdom of darkness, shame, anxiety, selfishness and fear, that it’s all we know; and we live in a world system that tries to fix the problem with more money, more stuff, more pride and more selfishness.
Thousands of curious people crowded onto a primitive hillside 2000 years ago to hear the message of someone who was clearly a prophet - and had the power of God on His life. They saw stuff they’d never seen in their lives. Some suspected that He could be the Anointed King the Jewish Scriptures foretold – but time would tell.
We now know who He was! Those who follow Him in 2019 now know that He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed King – and that He was the Son of God – and God the Son. We know that even though humankind did their worst by Him - nailing Him to a cross and humiliating Him publicly, He rose from the dead and gave His best for us. We know that! So…why is it that we shy away from His teachings – and make excuses for not following them?
Right in the middle of his message on The Second Mile Jesus tells His followers to pray a prayer no one would ever think of praying. It’s an outrageous prayer! It seems to make no sense. Yet Jesus prayed it in His most agonizing moment—as His enemies were driving nails through His hands and feet. I’m guessing that He’d been praying it all along - practicing for this moment. Jesus put it like this; Love your enemies… and pray for those who persecute you. This message is part of series entitled, "Talking with God".
When we fast, we do it for God--not as a form of bribery to get what we want. And something changes deep within us in those hidden moments. This message is a part of a series entitled, "Talking with God".