Teaching at the Tree is communicated in a practical, easy to understand way that is relevant to your everyday life. It’s not religious jargon, just the truth of God’s word presented in a loving and challenging way.
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Title: A Life That Glorifies God
Scripture: Colossians 3:12-17 (ESV)
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Explanation: So much of the discipleship-making process is wrapped up in our own discipleship. As we submit our lives to Jesus, and are made to reflect Him in our lives, God simultaneously uses our experiences in the process of discipling others. In other words, living lives that reflect Christ is one of the best ways to teach others what it looks like to follow Him. Christ uses it all. The good, the bad, the tough, the easy, our successes, and our failures all have the potential to be used in our discipleship and the discipleship of others. This means that all of life is a discipleship opportunity. How we love our families is discipleship, how we work is part of discipleship, how we play can be used for discipleship. Everything done in the name of Jesus is an opportunity for us to be discipled and to disciple others!
Title: The Holy Spirit Empowers Our Mission
Scripture: Acts 1:8 (ESV)
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Explanation: One of the great promises Jesus left with His disciples (and with us) when He resurrected back into heaven was that he would send His Holy Spirit, the Helper (John 14:26), to be with us in whatever endeavors He would call us to in our lives. In our reading today, Jesus uses the word “power” to describe the experience we will have when we receive the Holy Spirit. This is precisely what we need in both our everyday lives and in the ministry God has laid out for us. Culture will often commend the individual who uses their own power to accomplish something, but we were not designed to accomplish anything by simply using our own power. Our power is such a diluted version of the true power that will be at work in us when we allow the Holy Spirit to empower us.
When Jesus initially spoke these words to His disciples, they were in desperate need of a power outside of their own. They had walked with Jesus in person, and rightfully relied heavily on the power He provided to them, but now that Jesus was not physically with them, life had just gotten dramatically more difficult. This is true for us as well. Life is dramatically more difficult when we rely on our power. As mentioned earlier, our power is such a weakened version of what we need to survive. Often our power will run out, and then we are left completely powerless to move forward. This is the opportune time to receive the Holy Spirit and begin to walk in the limitless power that the Spirit of God can provide. The disciples needed it then, and we need it now.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
These words were said to eleven of Jesus’s disciples, in the upper room, after He had washed their feet. They all knew the original ten commandments given through Moses, and now Jesus was giving them a new one that would change them. The atmosphere was sober. Judas had gone, and Jesus was telling the remaining eleven something that would change the world after he died and ascended—love for each other.
“Peter and John, I know you are so different in temperament—but love each other. Simon and Matthew, I know you came to me from opposite backgrounds —but love one another. Daring Andrew and doubting Thomas—love one another.”
Most Christ followers would acknowledge the importance of loving unbelievers, but Jesus takes it further by telling the eleven they have to get along and love each other. Two thousand years later, He wants us to know.
Introverts—love extroverts. Organized—love the unorganized.
Passionate—love the placid. Poor—love the rich.
Slow—love the whizzes. List makers—love the airheads.
Privileged—love the underprivileged. Processors—love the impulsive.
Crude—love the prim. Prompt—love the late.
Strong—love the weak. Loud—love the demure.
Easygoing—love the high-strung. Deep thinkers—love the skimmers.
And vice versa to all of these.
I realize this is a vanilla list, and the rub is more intense when it moves past preferences to actual wrongs, but let us be clear…for a dying and lost world, it matters! We have to get along. We have to work it out. Our love for each other has to be palpable. People who don’t know Jesus are watching us, and our actions will either declare His love or our disobedience. In a fragmented world, unity is not only refreshing to live in, it proclaims Who we are following.
Nothing will counteract a loud and divided world like the power of love and unity among Jesus followers.
empower you with His love to forgive and release, or talk and reconcile.
Title: Called to Make Disciples
Author: Stacey Crawford
Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
The above passage is one I have heard for years, this idea that we are called to go into the world and make disciples. For years, I sort of wrestled with this, as I didn’t know exactly what being a disciple meant. I didn’t know how to teach others to be disciples. After all, isn’t that the pastor’s job?
The truth is that all of us who follow Christ, the body, are called to go out and make disciples. And what I love is this isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. We all have the same calling to go make disciples, but the way we accomplish this will look different for each person. Some individuals feel a tug to feed the hungry and dedicate their lives to helping the needy. Some people are called to be missionaries in foreign countries, taking the Word of God to countries that have yet to hear about Him. Some are called to be leaders in the church who disciple people on a regular basis. Others are called to be teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, police officers, tattoo artists, and the list goes on.
God has designed each of us differently. We all have unique qualities that allow us to be able to minister and disciple differently. The calling may be the same across the board, but the way it is accomplished is different for all of us. God has designed me with a heart that longs to make people feel welcomed and comfortable. So, I have the ability to disciple people and usher them into the body of Christ. Another way I am called to disciple is by being a mom. I am doing my best to teach my daughter about God in hopes that one day she too will be a disciple of Christ.
What about you? Where has God placed you in your life? Are you a parent? You are called to disciple your children. Are you spouse? You are called to disciple your spouse. Where do you work? You are called to be a witness and disciple others. Do you consider the Tree Church your home? You are called to disciple here at church, through being a part of a Connect Group or joining one of our volunteer teams.
It doesn’t matter where you find yourself, what your skill set is, or who you are around. Our mission is to go out into the world, to the places where God has placed us, and to teach others about Him. You don’t have to be a deep theological thinker who knows the Bible inside and out. The best way to be and make disciples is through your example. By speaking, acting, and thinking like Christ, you are setting an example for the rest of the world to follow. Let’s do our part and show the world a better way. Let’s be an example others will want to follow. It is our job to tell others about Jesus, knowing He will be with us to lead every step of the way. Let’s go out this week and share Jesus with those we come in contact with. Go out and make disciples wherever you go!
Title: Your Reason for Hope
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Explanation: Your story matters…it is important. So important that it needs to be shared. How many times have you been inspired, motivated, energized, refreshed, or given new hope because you heard some else’s story? You may not have run across America or beaten cancer or bravely freed a group of people, but your story is still powerful. It’s powerful because it is a story of a living God who still lives and breathes life into His people. We are a culture in desperate, and I mean desperate, need of hope.
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (emphasis added). This is the God we get to serve every day. A God who wants to fill us with hope…and not just any hope, but an abounding hope. Why? It’s partly for our own perseverance as we walk in this life, but also to share our hope with others. Your story of redemption in Christ can be shared with anyone, but one of the best places to share it is in a group of people who are all striving together to connect and grow in Christ. At The Tree, we call these Connect Groups. If you are not part of a group, now is the time, because there is someone out there who needs to hear your story, and there is someone out there who needs to share their story with you. Together, you can mutually edify one another, and this is precisely how God designed the body to operate. Get connected…the health of the body is in desperate need of it.