Who Is Jesus?

Jesus is our Advocate

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 ESV)

Jesus made a way for us to have peace with God. Every sin you’ve committed carries a consequence.  Our sin has disrupted our relationship with God.  Sin has left us restless, reckless, and in absolute depravity, unable to make peace with a perfect God; Until Jesus came.  In and through Jesus we find justice and mercy.  He did the very thing we could never do. He personally took the penalty for the sins we committed when he died on the cross, and he restores our relationship with God, as we trust Him.

Jesus is our Victor

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV)

Jesus is our Victor.  Jesus defeated the enemy.  Each of us has different perspectives and experiences with “the enemy.” However, scripture is clear that the enemy exists and that we are in a spiritual battle, not against people, but against this enemy. Whether it came as an injustice, a perversion, a harsh word, an unfair circumstance, a sickness, or the death of a loved one – we have all encountered the enemy.  And yet, there’s hope any and every time we encounter the enemy because we have Jesus as our victor.  He has already won. The end of the story has been written.

Jesus is our Light

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 ESV)

Jesus is our guide into what is True.  We live amidst so much confusion; there are so many conflicting answers and paths.  We are so prone to persuasion, so caught in a world of wilderness, and it’s dark.  If you’re like me, you’re tired of all the easy steps to change your life, sick of feeling incapable of making a good decision on your own, and disgusted with the attempt to keep everyone happy.  The great news is that you don’t have to follow everyone anymore.  You just have to follow the one true light, Jesus.

Jesus is our Refuge

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)

We are guaranteed trials in this life.  You were born with a tag that said “Hardship Guaranteed.”  You cannot avoid pain and difficulty, but you can find rest in the middle of it.  Jesus is our Refuge.  His promise is that He will never leave us.  His invitation is to come to Him.

Jesus is our Living Water

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Jesus offers us LIFE!  Everything else is fleeting.  Sadness, emptiness, boredom, those who feel no purpose, hear no compelling point to it all, or see no reason for even living must drink of the fountain of Life:  Jesus, The Christ.  When the fleeting pleasures of this world are exposed, one thing will remain…. the life of Christ.

Do you feel distant from God? Trust Jesus as your advocate.

Do you feel under attack… like you’re losing the battle? Trust Jesus as your victor.

Do you feel confused and don’t know where to turn? Trust Jesus as your light.

Do you feel tired and heavy laden? Trust Jesus as your refuge.

Do you feel low on purpose and in need of refreshment? Trust Jesus as your Living Water.

By Andrew Bach, Lead Pastor

Valuing Time

I live and operate under the conviction that time is the most valuable resource I have to give and offer in my life.

Do you doubt me?

If someone in your family died, would you want your closest friend to 1) spend the night grieving with you or 2) give you $500? What is going to help more?

Your time is valuable. Don’t let yourself ever think otherwise. And in the same way that Jesus says, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mt 6:19), I firmly believe that we spend our time according to the posture of our hearts.

In the same way that God created all things and that all things on heaven and earth (including finances) belong to Him (Ps. 24:1), God also made all time and all time belongs to Him. So when we waste time, we are actually wasting a valuable kingdom resource.

Let’s take a quick example. Mosaic has a prayer night for Unbound, our ministry to end human trafficking, once a month on a Sunday night. Many college students say they are passionate about ending sex trafficking, but when that Sunday night comes to pray for Unbound they all have homework due Monday. What a bummer! By not going to Unbound, that college student has missed out on 1) cultivating a personal discipline of an active prayer life by praying for an hour, 2) joining with their church community to pray about a common passion and 3) helping women and children who are in desperate need of breakthrough. And if that college student decides to put off homework and go to the prayernight instead, I would argue that they are not being good stewards of the plans God has for them in college. It’s a lose-lose. Why? Because the time they needed to make both college and prayer work was already squandered earlier that weekend, when the student either woke up at 1pm on Saturday morning, spent three hours playing video games, or had some other fascinating but ultimately time-wasting activity.

You may think that I am being harsh. The truth is, being a medical student at a top university, I have had extremely busy seasons of my life. And I’ve learned that I need to be ruthless about my time management in order to enjoy and partake in everything God has for me.

Time is the great equalizer: everyone has the same amount of it, and no one can gain back lost time. Nor can you really save up time as you can with money. It is a resource that is immediately available and must be used in the best capacity, in the moment. Because our time must be used in the moment, our choices with it reveal our true motives and values.

In every situation where we can control our time, the things that we do are the things that we truly value. So what do you truly value?

By Ben Drum, Neighborhood Section Leader

God is With Me

“God is with me” is a phrase we use often in the Kids Ministry. We desire each of our kids to know that God made them, he loves them, he saved them, and he will always be with them.

On a recent Sunday morning as the kids were coming into their classrooms, the Roots kids (2-4year old class) heard a little girl in the Nest (0-2 year old class) crying. “Who is crying?” a two year old asked. The classroom leader told the kids it was a baby next door. Another young one asked, “Why is she sad?” The classroom leader replied, “Maybe its because she doesn’t want to be away from her mommy and daddy even though they went downstairs for just a little bit. But do you know who is with her right now?” Most of the class piped in, “God is with her!” Then the class gathered in a circle and some of the kids prayed for the little one next door. “God, I pray for her not to be sad,” prayed one child; “God, would she not be afraid,” prayed another. The classroom leader closed the time of prayer and as they finished the little girl next door had stopped crying!

Our kids are living with confidence that God is with each of them forever and always. It’s a testimony that not only do they believe it for themselves, but also they are fighting for each other to have more faith and to be comforted by God’s presence.

God is doing so much in Mosaic Kids and I am so blessed to be part of seeing the next generation live out the simple truths of God’s kingdom. They are constantly encouraging me to believe the simple but profound reality that I am a child of the King. Reminding me that every moment of the day God is with me, forever and always.

Like our kids, we too can have childlike faith. Know, today, that God made you, he loves you, he saved you, and he will always be with you.

By Tina Jackson, Children’s Ministry Director

Interested in serving with Mosaic Kids? Click here

Deep and Wide

A church that is both deep and wide. This concept has been pervading my mind ever since Andrew’s sermon several weeks ago, and I believe each follower of Jesus needs to consider it with me.

Will we be deep? Pursuing intimate friendship with Jesus, studying scripture, intentional to give glory to God in every facet of our lives and living in meaningful Christ-centered community with each other?

OR

Will we be wide? Making a place for anyone and everyone to experience the Gospel, purposefully living to see as many people as possible put their trust in Jesus?

The challenge is obvious. Take preaching for example. The more theologically intricate a sermon is, the less approachable for a person who has no background with Jesus. And yet – if everything we do is geared toward pre-christians, mature followers of Jesus may feel that their river runs dry.

Deep and wide. Is it even possible? I propose that for our church to be both deep and wide, we must leverage two ancient truths:

#1 It’s about Him (God) and them.

As we turn our focus to glorifying Jesus and advancing HIS Kingdom, we will begin to think about ourselves less. As we think about ourselves less, we will think less about having or not having our individual spiritual needs met. In fact, we will become more alive in Christ than ever before as we glorify Jesus and share His love with others.

#2 As we get bigger, we need to get smaller.

When I first joined Mosaic, there were about 20people total. We gathered on Sundays at the Lutheran Student Center in the U-District and even one new visitor on a Sunday was basically synonymous with God having performed a miracle. In contrast, around thirty people sat on the floor at Mosaic the Sunday before last; there simply wasn’t space for them to sit anywhere else. God is bringing people to Mosaic, transforming their lives through His grace, and knitting them into this local expression of His body.

Is there a certain size we will reach when we will say “we’re full–no more room for people here?” Absolutely not!

This is the fundamental reason why we will transition to two Sunday services in January. We need to ensure that we are consistently in a position to welcome new people into the body of Christ.

But as our church gets bigger, we must get smaller in order to pursue the same depth that we see in Acts 2. The essence of getting smaller is to commit to agroup of people who you can endeavor in the values of Acts 2:42-47 together. We think this is best done through Lifegroups. What is a Lifegroup? A Christ-centered community, devoted to connecting with each other and encountering God together. In this definition, the word “devoted” is essential. There is no such thing as being partially devoted. You either are or you aren’t. When a group of people is devoted to the to the vision of Lifegroup, to going small together, the potential for depth in God and in Christ-centered community is seemingly limitless.

I want to be a person who knows Jesus intimately in the midst of meaningful, Christ-centered community. And I want to be a person who sees countless people put their faith in Jesus. Deep and Wide. I am not willing to settle for anything less.

It is possible for our church to be both deep and wide? Will you come with us?

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By Executive Pastor Paul Jackson

Already but Not Yet

We live in this tension of already, but not yet. Meaning, as lovers of Jesus, we have promises that we are standing, hoping, and believing for – but that have not come to pass.

Thousands of years ago, God went on a walk with an elderly man. He had the man start counting the stars, and as this man did so, God whispered His promise “you will be the father of many nations.” The irony was not lost on this man whose name changed from Abram to Abraham. He was childless – well past the age of bearing children. And still, it says that Abraham believed. And this God credited to him as righteousness.

We live in a now culture, a culture of immediate gratification and microwavable success. We want things now. And that includes the promises spoken by God. But here we are, in this tension of learning how to live and wait. And to live and wait without becoming complacent and bitter. To live and wait, having it be credited it to us as righteousness. Because anything valuable takes time. Abraham and Sarah waited twenty five years for their promise to become tangible – for Isaac to be born. It is living and waiting. Living and waiting. Living and waiting…

I look at it this way. While I wait for the blossoming fullness of God’s promises coming to pass, I want my roots to be going deep. I want a strong foundation for God to lay His promises upon; I want it to be able to withstand the weight and the presence of His dreams. Because His dreams are weighty. And even though nothing looks as though it is changing on the surface. The underground is full of movement and growth because my roots are finding the Living Water, water that never leaves me dry.

What pushes my roots deeper into Him – what strengthens my foundation – is time with the living God; getting to know Him for the sake of Him, not using Him for an external need or want. Letting go of the promise, and holding on to Him and Him alone. And from that place of knowing Him, I am standing and believing the promise. I am recounting it, counting the stars.

I will be a woman of righteousness, waiting, believing, and standing with My God. My promises are “yes and amen” in Jesus. It is not if, but when . And that ‘when’ may not take place until I see him face to face and every tear is wiped from my eye, but His promises, whispered over and over again by me, are shouted in heaven – and the answer is yes. I have been renamed. I am a woman who counts the stars. And it is credited to me as righteousness. For those of you with unanswered promises, go and count the stars tonight. Stir up and breathe on old dreams and promises, and take a walk with your living God.

By Carrie Bach, member of Mosaic’s Senior Leadership Team

He is With Us

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9 ESV)

 This is the single greatest promise from our Creator.  He is with us. He is Emmanuel.  Not only did God create us, bless us, and grant us purpose, authority, and dominion on earth, but God also gave us the best gift imaginable: Himself.

Throughout scripture, we read about all kinds of people living through  various predicaments who find strength and rest in the knowledge of His Presence. This list of biblical heroes includes men, women, children, kings, servants, fishermen, scholars and simpletons.  It includes people in obscurity and popularity; it includes those dreaming for bigger things and those desperate for anything – people found in palaces, sheepfolds, prisons, and deserts.  The presence of God knows no bounds for those who desire Him. What binds the heroes of faith  in scripture is the honest desire to be with God.

And we too must burn with the desire to be with Him, for in His presence we find fullness of Joy. Eternal Perspective. Hope. In His Presence all things are made new.  Lies are exposed.  Gifts are released.  Ideas are generated.  Relationships are restored.  Fears are dispelled.  In His presence, we find peace… and healing for our souls.

YES!  I desire the Presence of GOD.  Now, how can I actually find Him?

Finding HIM is more of an acknowledgment than it is an accomplishment.  It’s not about doing something to find Him, as much as it is discovering that He’s already here. Spiritual discipline is important.  But my disciplines don’t attain God.  It’s more accurate to say that I discipline myself to silence all the distractions.   CS Lewis says it this way,

 “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.”

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For the past 10 years I’ve only found God to be more present.  I realize more every day what it means that HE is with me.  In the loneliest, most desperate seasons, He has comforted me.  And in every thrill and pleasurable moment, He has been by my side.  I love being with Him.  And so for the rest of my life I will fight to position myself in quiet, prayerful, meditative places – places where I can be with Him.  This is not because He shows up when it’s quiet, but because when I quiet my life I recognize and remember that He’s there.

This is the place where I can hear Jesus reminding me of the last thing He told his disciples:  “And surely, I will be with you always.  Even to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

By Lead Pastor Andrew Bach