Northside Blog

Identity Theft: April 30

Scripture “Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are ?” - John 8:53 Never a Comfortable Question You know the feel of this question, don’t you? I mean, at some point in your life someone has asked, “Who do you think you are?” It’s never a comfortable question. You go around the boss and he discovers it. “Who do you think you are?” he says. Or maybe you try to get past security... Read More

Identity Theft: April 29

by Jacob Bales, Student Ministry Pastor Scripture You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. – Galatians 1:13 NLT Saul to Paul I want you to imagine yourself ten years ago for a few moments. Think about where you were at that time. Think about what you were doing. Who were your friends? Where were you in school or work? What were you proud of? What was difficult? What would the... Read More

Identity Theft: April 28

Scripture God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. - Ephesians 1:3b Heaven on Earth? What comes to mind when you hear the word heaven ? In the Bible, it’s where God dwells. Angels live there too, as do the redeemed. Heaven is a crowded place, if I’m reading 1 Kings 22:19 right. It’s like a large house with lots of rooms and features a great big temple. It’s jeweled, permanent, and decorated with crystal and pearls.... Read More

Identity Theft: April 27

Scripture The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 I Am More Than Meets the Eye David, the eighth son of Jesse (in a world where the number seven meant everything), was an afterthought to his father when the prophet Samuel came to his house to anoint Israel’s next king.... Read More

Identity Theft: April 26

Scripture “Here comes the dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” – Genesis 37:19-20 They Called Him a “Dreamer” Let’s suppose you’re a member of a large family, that you came along later than most of your siblings, that you are socially clueless, that you nevertheless have... Read More

Identity Theft: April 23

Scripture “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 God’s Beloved Something just happened I don’t think I’ve ever seen happen before. I’m writing this on a Google Doc, and, phrase by phrase, every part of this verse popped up automatically, reminding me again and again that no verse is more widely known or recognized than John 3:16. I close the... Read More

Identity Theft: April 22

Scripture For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10 by Jacob Bales, Student Ministry Pastor Workmanship/Masterpiece This past week we talked about the lie that can sometimes steal our identity: I am what I do . Now to be clear, doing things is good. We have been called to not be passive with our lives but to be active: to work, to come together, to serve, to put our faith in... Read More

Identity Theft: April 21

Scripture For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV What does it mean to be saved? Have you ever noticed how people talk about salvation? “I got saved” is pretty common, as is “I was saved.” What’s interesting is that in both cases someone else does the saving. In other words, “saved” is a passive verb. It... Read More

Identity Theft: April 20

Scripture For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart–it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God. – Romans 2:28-29, NRSV   A Matter of the Heart The ritual of circumcision seems so odd to us, but it is important to understand that what is odd to us was customary in... Read More

Identity Theft: April 19

Scripture You have made people a little lower than the heavenly beings. – Psalm 8:5 “I am what I am.” We’re tackling the I-am-what-I-do myth this week. In a workaholic culture, that’s no small task. Go pretty much anywhere in the world. Pay attention to how people get acquainted with one another. Where is your home? Tell me about your family. Are you married? Do you have children? Grandchildren? This is what you’ll hear. In the United... Read More

Identity Theft: April 16

Scripture “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When someone found it, they hid it again, and then in their joy went and sold all they had and bought that field.” (Matt. 13:44) Leveraging All Here’s a little story about leveraging everything you have to gain access to the one thing you don’t have.  In the ancient Jewish world, it probably wouldn’t have been unusual to bury one’s treasure in a field. What would have been... Read More

Identity Theft: April 15

by Cali Broy, Care Intern Scripture “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 Reflection The term seek in this passage means to pursue something and keep pursuing it without stopping. Earlier in this chapter, we see that God knows exactly what we need before we ask Him (6:8); God knows all of our needs (6:32). Matthew wants us to know that God provides over all things. It’s important to... Read More

Identity Theft: April 14

Scripture “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 8:18-19) Simon wanted the Holy Spirit not to help people but to exploit them. He was a sorcerer, and sorcerers were into spiritual power because it was really lucrative. So, when Simon saw Philip legitimately healing people by the... Read More

Identity Theft: April 13

Scripture Speaking to a rich young man, our text says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’” (Mark 10:20-21) Downward Mobility You remember how this story goes. This guy comes to Jesus, earnestly falling on his knees, and begging, “What can I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus in turn recites some of the key... Read More

Identity Theft: April 12

Scripture Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4:13-15 Being Consumed “You are what you... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 9

Scripture Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). One Thing Remains Have you heard the song “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script? It tells the story of a brokenhearted lover whose girl has left him. He camps out on the corner of a major urban street, proclaiming his love for her and refusing... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 8

by Tom Gilbert, Care Pastor Scripture  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). Reflection Some things are simply a mystery. Our resurrected body, the dead... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 7

Scripture The last enemy to be destroyed is death…. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:26, 55). Befriending death? Not on your life! I’ve actually heard people say you should befriend death. Truth be told, I’ve said it myself. Death is inevitable. At some point in life, we all face it and, like it or not, have to come to terms with it. So why not befriend it? Or at least learn to accept it? But Paul didn’t see... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 6

Scripture If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all people (1 Corinthians 15:19). They shall soar on eagle’s wings and run and not be weary (Isaiah 40:31). Remembering Reggie My dear friend Reggie Webb died last Friday. He’d been in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, for over fifty years. I'd first seen him rolling his way into class in the bitter cold of a Central Illinois winter back in the late 70s, studying Hebrew... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 5

Scripture For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time … Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all … to me. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). Evidence Faith... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 2

Scripture “We love because he (God) first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 Primary & Secondary Loves All week long we’ve gathered around the cross, Monday to watch Jesus die, Tuesday to marvel with the centurion, Wednesday to grieve and repent with the crowds, and Thursday to stand at a distance as with the disciples we attempt to take all this in. Today, we’re departing Luke for a touch of First John. “We love,” John says, “because he first loved... Read More

Humble & Hungry: April 1

Scripture “But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.” Luke 23:49 Uncomfortable Distance Listen as Luke talks about various people who “stood at a distance” from God and Jesus, scattered throughout the pages of his gospel: “As he (Jesus) was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice,... Read More