Road Trip Sermon Series


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Someone once said, “talk is cheap.” On one hand, words can be very powerful. Still, there is some truth in that phrase. It’s easy to say something, but much harder to actually do it. One man had an encounter with bold words that changed his entire life. He was a paralyzed man and his friends had brought him before a teacher, who apparently did miraculous works. This rabbi, Jesus, looked at him and told him that his sins were forgiven. At that moment everyone froze. They were thinking, “that’s a pretty big statement. Can he even go around saying things like that? Who does he think he is?” But Jesus didn’t leave it there. What He did next was even more amazing. Jesus looked at the paralyzed man, said, “rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” Now that’s a little more risky! What happened next sent fear through the crowd... And it just might save you from your paralysis.

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So often, many of us, are just kind of walking through life unaware or oblivious to how God’s grace and compassion are shaping and encouraging our daily lives. In the moments and seasons of struggle, God, in His time, reaches out with deep compassion. In the life and work of Jesus the Bible shows us the very character of a compassionate God who has reached down to needy humanity. It is a profound, deep rooted compassion that gives us hope. For those that follow Jesus, whom have been touched by Him, His compassion changes everything! Are you trusting in this compassionate God?


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Generosity is something that makes us feel good, but we still struggle to exercise it. In the story of Zacchaeus, we see how salvation unleashes his generosity. We see the joy that comes from generosity. If we could harness the power of generosity, not only would we benefit selfishly because it brings us joy, but we would be displaying Christ to those around us. This would hopefully open up opportunities to share the source of our joy and draw people to Jesus. This “Pay it forward” mentality could spread like wildfire, not only spreading joy, but the promise of eternal life. How can we unleash generosity in our life?

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In your world who’s the big shot? Maybe it’s a boss that holds significant authority. Maybe it’s someone well known that influences many people. It is not hard for each of us to think of a prominent figure that commands the respect of those around them. There was a man like this who had an encounter with Jesus. He was a big shot in most circles he walked in. He was a Roman Centurion. While there were officers who outranked him and could tell him what to do, most of the people immediately around him did what he said. But he responded to Jesus in an astonishing way. He said that he was not even worthy to have Jesus in his house. When this man encountered Jesus, he encountered authority.


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If you could have coffee this afternoon with one person in the world, who would it be? It can be anyone. Someone you admire. Someone you want to learn from. Someone you believe in. Now, here’s the opposite question. Who is the last person on planet earth you’d have coffee with? There’s a good chance the answer to that question came more quickly than the first. One thing that is predictable about Jesus, is that you cannot predict what He’s going to do. The stories about Him in the Bible are so engaging because they are often shocking. One of the things that was the most flooring to those who witnessed his life, are the people He chose to spend time with. It shattered their norms and expectations. But that dynamic about Jesus, is powerfully instructive for us. When we encounter Jesus, we Encounter Grace...

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When I think of the word “dignity,” I think of someone with an ascot and maybe even a monocle. It seems like something only the ultra refined would be concerned with. But in reality, we have a much more down to earth relationship with that word. Dignity is the opposite of shame. Shame is when an ugly part of my life starts to become my identity. So shame and dignity deal with self-worth. And no one is exempt from wrestling with that. Often we attempt to find our dignity in something in reaction to our shame. But these attempts to run from shame, always fall short. But when we encounter Jesus, we Encounter Dignity.


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What does it look like to show mercy to someone? It’s helping someone out that is in a tough spot. It could be welcoming someone into your circle of friends because they are lonely. Maybe it’s giving a hurting person the gift of your time. Or even more difficult, extending forgiveness to someone who hasn’t asked for it. Mercy is a costly thing to give. But there is one thing that can very quickly extinguish mercy from our hearts. It’s the mercy blocker: self-righteousness. It’s too easy to feel no compulsion to show mercy, when I can so easily make a case that someone doesn’t deserve it. But when we encounter Jesus, we cannot help but Encounter Mercy.

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There are some famous Bible stories - Moses and Pharaoh, David and Goliath, Jonah and the whale. And that’s not to mention the stories of Jesus. They are great stories. They are memorable and inspiring. But do we treat them as simply feel-good stories, or do we process the fact that the Bible claims them to be real. That’s an important distinction. The Tortoise and the Hare is a motivational story. There’s a lot we can learn from it. But it’s not presented to be historical. If Bible stories are simply motivational fables, let’s take a few tips and try to better our lives. But if they are true… then we’ve just had an encounter that changes everything.