Go Fish // News Worth Sharing // Kate Murphy

What is the gospel?

My great friend and fellow pastor Eulando Henton (shameless plug for our podcast, click here) has a custom of opening meetings at his church by inviting everyone to answer that question.

That makes it awkward–but he’s not wrong.

If we are committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ–
if we’re putting our wholehearted trust and faith in the good news,
then we need to know what that good news is.
And if we are going to invite others to believe the good news with us–
then we need to be able to tell people what the good news is.

If you are anything like me–you can easily say what the gospel isn’t, but struggle to say what it is. (If you are anything like me, you especially struggle to say what it is without preaching a sermon!) We can passionately talk about what the gospel isn’t
but can we speak with equal passion about what the gospel is?

When we can’t–it’s a problem.
Because the church isn’t called to announce what God is against–the church exists to share, live, and celebrate what God is doing in creation. And what God is doing is unexpected (which makes it news) and wonderful (which makes it good).

We aren’t building a community around what we hate, what we mourn, or what we’re against. The Holy Spirit is building us into a community grounded in our shared commitment to what we are FOR–and that is the good news of Jesus Christ.

Which brings us back to the first question
What–exactly–is this good news we believe?

Listen in and think about it with us.

Go Fish // Being Interruptible // Kate Murphy

Last week we heard one of Jesus’ most famous stories about a Father who loved his son–in spite of the ways the son used and exploited their relationship.  And when the Father gets the chance to show love toward the son again–he runs towards that chance, welcoming his long lost boy home and throwing a lavish party for everyone in the neighborhood.  

And if this were a movie script–that’s when the music would swell and the credits would roll.  But this isn’t a movie, it’s truth.  And that joyful unexpected celebration isn’t a feel-good ending.

Because–as Jesus told us from the beginning–the Father had two sons.  And just at the moment the Father was finally able to rejoice with the child he’d been missing for so long, his other son–the child who never left home–went into crisis.  

What the Father does next is so simple its easy to overlook–but until we learn to do it as well, our attempt to join Jesus in his Kingdom mission will be in vain.  

I hope you will listen in. Together we’ll discover what the Father did next and learn how essential, powerful and possible it is for us to do it as well!

Go Fish // Welcome Home // Kate Murphy

The parable we call the prodigal son is one of the most beloved parts of scripture.  We turn to it, again and again, to be reminded of how we will never wander too far to return home to God’s love.

And while that’s a natural way to read the story and certainly true, that’s not what the parable is about.  The parable isn’t about us.  The parable is about God.

As we move deeper into our worship series on Evangelism, it’s time to read this familiar story with new eyes.  Instead of focusing on how we are like the prodigal son–let’s wonder how we can be more like his extraordinarily loving Father.  Now that we know ourselves to be ever-welcome at home, let’s learn how we can be about our Father’s business of running to meet, embracing and welcoming others on their way home.

I hope you’ll join us by listening in.   May we who find ourselves, unexpectedly and undeservedly, in God’s embrace find there the wisdom to recognize, welcome and celebrate others who are far from home.

Go Fish // Knowing Your Story // Kate Murphy

“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

The call to evangelism terrifies and confuses many of us because we don’t know our own stories. In John 9:9, Jesus heals a man who was born blind, and the miracle causes huge controversy. After his sight is restored, the man doesn’t understand everything about Jesus. When he is hauled before the authorities and questioned, he doesn’t know that Jesus is the son of God. He doesn’t know how he was healed, he doesn’t know whether Jesus broke the law by healing him on the sabbath. He does know one thing, though.

He knows his own story. 

He knows that he used to be blind and now he can see. He knows that Jesus gave him sight. He doesn’t understand it, but he knows that for sure.

We think we should say nothing until we can say everything. We think we shouldn’t open our mouths until we are confident we can answer every question and understand fully the mysteries of God. But, really, all we need to know is our own story. All we need is a willingness to be vulnerable and tell it.  

And, yet, many of us believe that we don’t have a story to tell. Many of us believe that our lives are too small, too ordinary, and too messy to become a worthy story.  

That’s not true. God is alive and at work in your life. Your life is full of Jesus stories—stories worthy of telling. People seeking the Lord aren’t looking for religious experts or sophisticated theologians or moral role models. People are hungry for God stories in the lives of people that are just like them.

I hope you’ll listen in. Together, we’ll discover how knowing our own Jesus stories is the first step to sharing our faith and growing in God’s love.