How can we know who Jesus truly is?

Apostle John goes out of his way all throughout his gospel to tell us how people responded to Jesus. He doesn’t only tell us what Jesus says and does, but also what peoples reactions were to the things that He says and does. All throughout his ministry, Jesus said outrageous things that everyone who knew of Christ, met Christ or heard Him teach; had an opinion about him. In John 7, you see multiple different responses to Jesus. Some hated him, some thought he was a criminal, some thought he was brilliant, others though he was a miracle worker, and a select few believed he was God in the flesh. But, how does one know? How do we know the truth about who Jesus really was behind all of the opinions and claims that others has about him?

In John 7:17 Jesus tells us that there is a way to know. "If anyones will is to do Gods will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority." The way to know whether or not Jesus is truly who he says he is (God in the flesh, sent from heaven, to pay the penalty for sin.) is to have a willingness to do the will of God. In other words, in order to know that Jesus is the truth, it requires you seeking after him as the truth. Not just with your mind, but also with your actions. Jesus is saying that when you seek me with your mind, and your actions, you will find me. If you only seek Jesus with your mind, you'll become at best an Intellectual. If you only seek Jesus with your actions, you'll become at best a Religious Moralist. But when you seek Him with your mind and actions, your eyes will be open to how truly glorious He actually is.

5 Characteristics of a Disciple of Jesus

1. Life and Doctrine.

My fear for his generation is that we are becoming a generation full of great worship, great teachings, great talent but little internal transformation. Information should lead towards transformation. There shouldn't be a disconnect between what we say we believe and our lives. We cannot allow our youthfulness to be an excuse for being spiritually immature. Disciples of Jesus have a life that resembles the gospel they claim to put their hope in.

2. Worship.

A true disciple is someone who is a worshiper. And to be a worshiper, you have to have an accurate view of that in which you worship. Worshipers will come against spiritual attack. The way we fight is through worship, because God has already claimed victory. We don't fight for victory, we fight from victory.

3. Evangelism.

Jesus says that as we follow him, as we become his disciples...He turns us into something. He turns us into fishers of men. And that freaks us out because typically we are thinking of methods and not the mission. The mission is clear and the methods are easy. Matthew 18 says when we gather Jesus is with us, and John 1 says we should just invite people to come and see Jesus through our gathering. Whether it be 2-3 people or 200-300 people, when we gather, Jesus is among us.

4. Serve.

John 13 Jesus goes and washes his disciples and he says that he does that as an example for us to do likewise. So serving is a major part of being a disciple of Jesus. But what do we have to offer? Not much...However in John 6 we are not called to change the world; thats God's job. Rather we are called to offer what little we have and entrust that to Christ and allow him to multiply our efforts to fulfill his mission.

5. Genuine.

All of us wear a mask. We've been trained in this since salvation. We have been trained in the Christian community that Jesus makes bad people good. But that's bad theology. Good theology says that we are all bad, Jesus is good and through faith He gives us his righteousness. So, how do we fight the mask? How do we fight the temptation to make ourselves seem to appear more holy than we actually are? We let love be genuine. Hate the evil in our hearts and cling to things that make us good. (Romans 12:9)

Unity among Netcast Church.

Over the past few weeks I have had numerous conversations with numerous pastors of churches in numerous different stages of life and ministry. Among some of the conversations that I was having, the idea of having a united leadership team kept coming up. Because of that, along with a few personal reasons, I wanted to share this.

The number one priority of the enemy is to bring division. Since he cannot bring division between God's people and God himself, the next best thing is to bring division among the bride of Christ, more specifically its leadership. This can be created in numerous ways. Sexual sin, financial scandals, pride, etc…. But in my experience, this disunity starts in very subtle ways and eventually snowballs out of control. Because of that, I feel this is important for all of our partners / leaders to wrestle with this.

It is vital that we continue to fight for unity among ourselves. With the nature of how our culture typically communicates through occasional meetings and email we will have to work extra hard to fight for this. To add to the chaos, we have an incredible church, full of very gifted people with strong leadership capabilities. And, many of us are wired very different. If we are not careful, the strong personalities we have and our unique individual wiring will cause us to see our differences as hindrances rather than strengths. This is the first tactic the enemy uses in bring division. For the sake of the gospel, we have to remember how the enemy attacks and fight together for purity, humility and love of one another.

Here are 6 guidelines for us to think through as a church. I didn't come up with these, but am using them to guide my thoughts.

1. Let’s avoid gossiping.
The New Testament warns against gossiping. Gossiping is anytime we talk about one another to someone other than that person. Gossip is talking without the motive of seeking to be corrected ourselves and united to the person we are talking about. Among us, there should never be any gossip. Never!! The mission is too big and a local church is to fragile. All of us should search our hearts and repent of this sin immediately if necessary. If your brother has sinned against you, annoys you, bothers you, frustrates you, etc…Go directly to him / her and nobody else.

2. Let’s identify evidences of grace in each other and speak them to each other and about each other.

This is such a powerful opportunity for encouragement. It is so easy to get frustrated in church world. The bible calls us family, and we all know that families fight. However, for every negative thing we see in one anothers lives there should be 10 things that we see that is evidence of God's grace in their life. We have got to check our hearts and ask the question “why is it so easy to see the negatives yet so difficult to see God's grace.” Fight to see the evidence of Gods grace in our lives. Beg God to show you that in one another and pray fervently for a deep love for one another. Outside of God's miraculous grace, this cannot be obtained.

3. Let’s speak criticism directly to each other if we feel the need to speak to others about it.
Criticism is necessary. We all must get better at what we do. Whether it is parenting, the way we speak to one another, spiritual disciplines, our commitment levels, gifts and talents, etc...we should all desire to get better at what we do. And, the primary way we get better is when we can lovingly come along side of one another and offer helpful critique. Lets always fight for unity by speaking critique to one another as a means of encouragement. Hold one another accountable to this. Go directly to one another, and don't wait to do this. Do this personally and never offer criticism through email or text. Unity is to valuable and fragile, therefore we must handle it with care.

4. Let’s look for, and assume, the best motive in the others viewpoint, especially when we disagree.
In such a technological world, most of us are typically behind a computer when conversing. The downfall with that is it's nearly impossible to know a persons motive since you can't see body language or hear tone. Especially when we disagree. We have always got to assume the best of one another. This is not an option, this is the only option. Every great relationship is built on trust. Not just trust that we will do what we say, but trust even when we don't come through for one another. Here are some questions to ponder...How have we lacked trust lately? Who do I not trust and do they know that I don't trust them? Is my lack of trust, my issue or theirs? How have I assumed the worse?

5. Let's think often of the magnificent things we hold in common.

For every difference we have, we have 100 things in common. We all love Jesus. We all love the bride of Christ. We all love Netcast and want to see this local body flourish. We all love one another. We all are committed to a vision and mission....and the list can go on. Always remember that there is much more commonality to celebrate than there is differences to point out. How often do you just praise Jesus for how He has unified our church? I pray that we grow in this area.

6. Let’s be more amazed that we are forgiven than that we are right.
Let’s shape our relationships by the gospel. I want to fight for righteousness rather than fight to be right. In church world, this may be our biggest temptation. There are seldom times where there will be one “right” way to do something. In actuality, there are multiple of ways to do the things that we do together as a team. As Netcast grows and our influence grows, our tendency will be to fight to be right, and in the process neglect our desire for righteousness. Because of that, I am calling us to out-do one another with honor. As we fight to out-do one another in honor, our pride is crushed, humility is birthed and Jesus can continue to anoint and bless our lives and ministries.

All of you are like family to me. I pray that God gives us a special unity. Join me in fighting for this through prayer and dedication. It is our spiritual act of worship. Worship well Netcast!!

- Pastor Matt

Community should not be worshiped.

I want to be careful in what I say because I don't want to come across as if community isn't vital to us as believers. That said, we need to be careful to not put such an emphasis on community that we make it some sort of spiritual law. At Netcast, community groups are designed to be a family of people who meet so that deeper community can be forged. As a pastor, it is my desire that the people of Netcast are growing in relationship with others, therefore able to be authentic, transparent and stirred on to good things while at times being confronted with their blind areas. I never want Netcast to be a place where if someone is not at a community group every week than they can't be a partner with us or feel that they are not as spiritual as the next person. To me, that seems cultish and overly controlling. I feel that type of commitment is unnecessary to what community groups are trying to accomplish.

In my experience with this movement of community among evangelicalism, we have to be careful. The gospel is our means of justification, redemption and glorification; not community. Don't hear what I'm not saying, my heart is that everyone at Netcast would be plugged into a group and plan on attending as often as able. This way we are able to continue to stay connected with people. This hopefully would allow for deeper relationships to be forged that will go beyond a weekly meeting. Again the goal is never attendance, it's deep relationship. Often times it takes years of work for people to feel like they are building this.

Remember, community should not be worshiped. However, worship should happen in community. Lets press on to see Netcast become a gospel-centered worshipful community.