What's In A Name?: "Practicing Jesus"

Randy Christian

With those who call themselves Christian split into so many denominations today, any organization wanting to unite them has to come up with some idea of who is and who is not a Christian.  One organization came up with the idea that anyone who accepted Jesus as Lord should be considered Christian.  The problem with that is that Jesus said “no”.  In this study we explore what He said about those who belong to Him, and what that might look like for us today.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? - Practicing Jesus study guide

What's In A Name?: "What Does 'Christian' Really Mean?"

Randy Christian

In Acts 11 we have an account of the first time anyone was called “Christian”.  The word was applied to a group of people who already existed, had an identity and understood that identity required them to live in a certain way.  In the first sermon in this series we explore who these people were and what people who called them “Christian” meant by the word.

WHAT'S IN A NAME - What Does "Christian" Really Mean study guide

Risen: "The Foolishness of the Resurrection"

Randy Christian

Easter, this year, fell on another celebrated holiday, April Fool's Day. Though there is not much similarity between the two days, Easter may seem foolish to many who don't understand its real meaning. The resurrection of our Lord Jesus is the reason we celebrate, but to many, its a silly thing to believe, so how to we overcome our doubts about the foolishness of the resurrection?

RISEN - The Foolishness of the Resurrection study guide

Risen: "Good Friday"

Randy Christian and Edmund Brooks

Its seems a little backwards that "Good Friday", a day of absolutely pain and torture, is seen as such a blessing. In reality, it was Earth's saddest day, but it marked the start of our salvation, which is why we take time to witness Christ's Passion. However, this gift came at a tremendous cost, one of which caused pain physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that only the Perfect Son could pay.

Faith is Life: "Faithful Leadership"

Randy Christian

1 Peter 5:1-13

Jesus told us that, to be great, we must be servants.  Even those who are placed in positions of leadership, lead as servants.  Truly faithful followers of Jesus are humble and serve God and others.

FAITH IS LIFE - Faithful leadership study guide

Faith is Life: "Intensely Faithful"

Randy Christian

1 Peter 4:1-19

At NOCC we have a Mission statement:  We exist to facilitate a passionate, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, leading to lifelong discipleship.  “Passion” looks different in different situations, and for different people.  But there is always a fervency—an intensity—that shows itself in our love for the Lord and for others.

FAITH IS LIFE - Intensely Faithful study guide

Faith is Life: "Faithful Relationships"

Randy Christian

1 Peter 3:1-22

The faithful live in relationships just as others do.  But the way we live in those relationships is different.  Those of us who follow Jesus have very clear instructions as to what that looks like, whether we are interacting with the world in general, or in the most intimate of relationships.

FAITH IS LIFE - Faithful Relationships study guide

Faith is Life: "Faithful in the World"

Randy Christian

1 Peter 2:13-25

We are not of this world, but we are in it.  We live in this world, we interact with it—in fact we are sent here to represent Jesus to the world.  But the way we respond to the world is based on who we are, not how we feel about the world.  Whether people in authority or just people, we relate to them as Jesus does.

FAITH IS LIFE - Faithful in the World study guide

Faith is Life: "The Identity of the Faithful"

Randy Christian

1 Peter 2:1-12

The one who follows Jesus has to change his or her identity.  We can no longer align ourselves with different groups of people in the world.  Instead, we need to understand ourselves as God does, and live accordingly.

FAITH IS LIFE - The Identity of the Faithful study guide

Change of Heart: "Civil Disagreement"

Randy Christian

One of the most difficult things for people to do in the US today is to disagree without being personally attacking.  With electronic communication over personal, and people of all generations and backgrounds struggling with the use of appropriate “filters”, those with Jesus’ heart have to learn the balance Jesus’ mastered between loving people and condemning their behavior.

CHANGE OF HEART - Civil Disagreement study guide

Change of Heart: "A Driven Heart"

Randy Christian

When someone is said to “have a heart” for something, it implies that this motivates him/her.  So, it is reasonable to assume that whatever motivates us truly is our heart.  So, what does that say about us?  Paul’s life was totally turned around by his change of heart.  He not only wanted to share the gospel—he believed he would be miserable if he didn’t share the gospel.  His heart was driven by Jesus’ heart.  What does that look like for us?

CHANGE OF HEART - A Driven Heart study guide

Change of Heart: "Whose Heart?"

Randy Christian

The most important thing for anyone who wants to follow Jesus isn’t being true to one’s own heart—but being true to the right heart.  If we are truly followers of Jesus, the first thing we have to be sure of is whether we are being true to His heart.  Is it possible to be Christian, if Jesus’ heart is not ours?

CHANGE OF HEART - Whose Heart? study guide

Christmas People: "Jesus"

Randy Christian

Surely everyone understands that Jesus is the central person in the Christmas story.  But why?  To understand that, we need to know more about Jesus himself, and about the “Christ” of “Christmas”.  Who was he, and who exactly was the “Christ”—the Messiah of God

CHRISTMAS PEOPLE - Jesus study guide

Christmas People: "Shepherds"

Randy Christian

Shepherds were extremely common in first century Palestine.  So, it makes sense, but also is a little confusing, that God would grant them a special role in the welcoming of the Messiah to planet earth.  What was that role, and why did he pick common shepherds?  What should we learn from this about celebrating Christmas?

CHRISTMAS PEOPLE - Shepherds study guide

Christmas People: "Joseph"

Randy Christian

Joseph, one of the “royal family” of Christmas, was also the outsider.  He wasn’t the Messiah—he wasn’t even carrying the Messiah.  But he was tasked with protecting the baby God became and teach him as a Father.  But we know little about Joseph and therefore tend to miss the important life lessons he teaches us in the Christmas story.

CHRISTMAS PEOPLE - Joseph study guide