Citizens Church exists to saturate Bryan-College Station, TX with the good news of Jesus. To learn more about Citizens Church, visit us online at citizensbcs.com.
The word itself causes us to pause and consider what God may be saying even when we don't fully understand. Individually and collectively exhaling and leaning into the arms of our Father will help prepare us to enter the Advent season. SELAH isn't working, it's pausing. It's intentionally taking a deep breath to consider. Treasure, be in the moment, present and aware of God, of ourselves and those around us. Let us be encouraged to create space to SELAH.
From the Series “Acts.” Despite the way things feel and seem at times, and against all odds, we can have hope in hopeless situations. We can have hope when things look horrible. Faith isn't measured in our ability to work up some emotional or mental power to believe, but in our ability to surrender to the faithfulness of Jesus.
From the series "Acts." Evangelism has become a dirty word. Our generation believes that sharing one's faith in Jesus is antiquated at best; at worst, it is wrong. So how do we obey the Great Commission of Jesus while recognizing the current cultural climate? Is there a way to reconstruct evangelism?
Despite being hunted, beaten up, and locked up, Paul is at peace and unshaken because he has rooted his hope in the resurrection of Jesus, which lit the flame of God's redemption of all of creation and history. Despite being at the mercy of his circumstances and a corrupt empire, Paul knows that both he and that broken world are caught up in the growing fire of justice and a world-made-right fueled by that resurrection.
God gave us our five senses to help us experience Him, His world and His scriptures. The Lord uses our prayerful imaginations to energize scripture reading and to help us to remember that much of what was real is left out; the voices of the main characters, the people in the crowd, the silence, the volume, the smells in the room or city, the architecture, the onlookers holding hands or leaning on a beam, the posture of the protagonists and the glances of the eyes, the babies crying in the background or the heat or cool breezes that would come and go... As we continue in our study of Acts chapter 23, our hope is that we can awaken our senses to God through His word.
From the Series “Vision v.2021.” It isn't enough to have a correct mindset or orthodoxy of the church. We need a proper orthopraxy of what it means to live as the church in the Way of Jesus, in 2021, in Bryan/College Station. If we are dead to sin and alive in Christ, how does this drive our wants, loves, and longings? What would it look like if transformation happened in Bryan/College Station, not because we believe the right way – but because we live and love the right way?
From the Series “Vision v.2021.” We all know what community looks like at its worst, but what does it look like at its best? The good news of Jesus is that we can be reconciled to God, but it doesn't stop there. The full gospel reconciles us to one another in the context of community. But what is a community, exactly? Most of us long for it, some think we know what it is, but how do we know when we've really reached the Graduate Level Community that Jesus longs for us to have?
From the Series “Vision v.2021.” When you think about church, what are some of the things that come to your mind? Jesus and the writers of the New Testament had very specific things to say about church. How is Citizens defined, and what are some of the core elements of our culture, and how will we saturate Bryan/College Station with the love of Jesus?
From the Series, “Acts.” After arriving in Jerusalem, Paul quickly finds his life mirroring Jesus' own in ways most of us prefer to ignore or disregard for ourselves. Paul has entered, as he references in Ephesians 6, “the evil day” when life reveals aspects of a Holy God that offend mortal humans. Paul stands firm. How might we also? The very structure of Acts reveals how we might stand with Christ in difficult seasons: 20 chapters devoted to church unity followed by eight chapters of Paul on trial. We will stand with Christ when -- and only when -- we have first learned to live in unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Speaker: Ben RushFrom the Series, “Acts.” With tens of thousands of denominations across the world, representing thousands of different opinions about thousands of subjects - why in the world would anyone want to be associated with the church? Why in the world would anyone want to follow Jesus and become part of the family of God when this family looks more divided than their own? Division in the church confuses the world and makes God sick. It might even be evidence that we aren't truly following Jesus. So is there any hope for the church? Can we be the answer to Jesus' prayer?
Speaker: Ben RushFrom the Series, “Acts.” We all know someone who claimed to hear from God to justify an action that God clearly couldn't have instructed them to do. But, injustices cloaked in spirituality aside, what do we do when we are rooted in God's word and prayer, seek counsel, analyze the circumstances and have peace, but still someone tries to stop us? What do you do when someone tries to stop you from obeying God's voice?
Speaker: Ben RushFrom the Series, “Acts.” In an individualistic culture captivated by relativism and addicted to busyness, how do we live and share the Way of Jesus? Where do we even begin? As apprentices of Jesus, is it possible to define, determine, and distill the point in which our highest contribution lies? Paul knew what was essential, Jesus knew what was essential, and the church must rediscover the essential if we have any hope of bringing God's Kingdom to earth.
From the Series, “Acts”. In the story of Paul encountering the seven brothers of Sceva (Acts 19:11-20), interesting questions arise through the voice of an evil spirit. In the heavenlies, we want to be known both by God the Father and by God's adversary, called Satan. But why? And why should we fear not the enemy of God? What does the Bible say about God's enemy, and what does the Bible say about our response to that enemy's accusations against us, against one another, and against the church?
Just as Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit to empower Him, we too are invited to receive power from the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses. In Acts 18:24-19:12 both Apollos and this small band of believers hear an incomplete gospel without fully understanding who the Holy Spirit is and the power that he continually offers. We, as believers today, are invited to know the person and work of the Holy Spirit, not just in our minds but through power in our lives.
In Acts 18 introduces us to characters in the biblical narrative who show us what it means to persevere in difficult, unsure, and uncomfortable circumstances to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Look more closely with us as we study the lives of Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos in their roles of reconciling people to God through his God's plan and because of his love for humanity. Ask yourself: When did you last take a chance so great you needed God to come through for you or much would be lost? When was the last time you risked all comfort to share the name of Jesus with those who need to hear it? Isn't now the time?
In Acts 17, the early followers of Jesus are described as "...defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." Amid so many competitors for our attention and affections, how do we live into the legacy of a Church whose loyalty and worship are clearly and wholly offered to God as he is revealed in Jesus?
Worship is a way that God has provided for humanity to come into agreement with Him. Acts 16 is a window into Paul and Silas continually being led by the Spirit and using praise as strength and warfare. We all need encouragement to continue to allow our lives to be yielded to the Spirit.
Immediately after helping resolve one of the Church's first dramatic theological disputes, Paul and Barnabas disagree over something seemingly far smaller and decide to part ways. We've all lived this reality - ruptured relationships in the church or other contexts we can't seem to fix. What if this story of disunity and disappointment in the early Church can actually point us to hope in our wounding and waiting for the healing of broken relationships?
From the Series, “Acts”. While we often respond to God and one another through earnest and vulnerable expectations, we may not always know how to name such expectations or pinpoint where they originated. Acts 14 showcases two different people-groups responding to Barnabas and Paul through the filter of deeply entrenched cultural expectations. Because our expectations may supercede our logic, we need the Holy Spirit and the scriptures to search our hearts and sanctify our expectations of God and our place in His cosmos.
From the Series, “Acts”. Luke, author of Acts, offers an interesting story in Acts 13 of Paul addressing a “false prophet”. Paul is harsh, to say the least, both to this character and to false prophets he warns against in his Epistles. But why is Paul so harsh? And what do Luke's story and Paul's responses tell us, in the modern church, about identifying and addressing false prophets and teachings?
From the Series, "Acts”. In Acts 13:1-3, we see how the ethnic and cultural diversity of the first century church should be reflected in our church today. But instead of a “fellowship of differents”, we often have a “fellowship of sames”, and the only way to address this is to recognize the effectiveness of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
From the Series, “Acts”. In Acts 12, those who belonged to the church prayed earnestly for Peter's release, with intense passion, moments after the death of James. In the garden, hours before his execution, Jesus prayed in the same way. After the resurrection, Jesus welcomed Thomas patiently and lovingly, even though he had uncertainty that Jesus was alive. We live in a world of pain, sickness, betrayal, and death. God can do far more than we think or ask, but how do we pray when God didn't answer the last prayer we prayed in the way we asked him to answer?
From the Series, “Acts”. In the West, we openly talk about sex but avoid talking about money. The church in Acts is a family that loves generously by sharing time, energy, and money with anyone in need. How do we live in the Way of Jesus in a culture addicted to affluence, accumulation, and abundance? And how do we change our scarcity mindset to a sharing mindset, where everything we have is just a gift from God to be shared with others?
From the series, "Acts". In Chapter 11, we see Barnabas, who is called the "son of encouragement". Walking in the Way of Jesus is seeing your entire existence as an encourager. Encouragers see people and situations through the eyes of Jesus. They are joyful people, full of goodness, faith, and the Holy Spirit. Encouragers form partnerships, emulating God the Father, who forms covenants throughout the Bible, working alongside people to accomplish good together.
While a Partial Gospel views sin in the Garden and redemption on the Cross as the totality of our Christian experience, a Fuller Gospel reaches back to our Image-bearing purposes with God in Creation and our redeemed partnership with Him in restoring His Kingdom to this earth. Speaking forgiveness and blessings well, offers concrete opportunities to partner with God in His Fuller Gospel story.
From the series, "Acts". As Peter and the early Church continue to discover in Acts 10, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus open the doorway to God's Kingdom for anyone and everyone in need of forgiveness and new life. Then and now, that reality redefines who God's people are, who our people are, and what that means for the life of the Church.
From the series, "Acts". Why is it that when some people face opposition, they’re resilient, while others completely fall apart? Roadblocks, detours, and closed doors are expected parts of life in The Way of Jesus. Opposition, conflict, and tension may feel like defeat, but instead, it is an opportunity and an invitation for new life and a new beginning.
Resurrection is God’s rescue mission, and it all begins with Jesus conquering death with a tomb that’s empty. Resurrection announces that there is a new creation bursting forth, right here and right now. Resurrection is the promise of something better and a hope that the end is not really the end. Resurrection is God’s invitation to join him in redeeming, restoring, and renewing all things.
The Bible is meant to be read in three dimensions: understanding the text, knowing its historical significance, and seeing it all through the cultural lens of ancient Israel. Palm Sunday challenges the beliefs we hold at our core, who and what we serve, and how far we’re willing to go. Listen and see how the text lives and breathes and reveals the mystery of a savior who holds something so dear He would die for it.
From the series, "Acts". Encounters with Jesus change us as individuals and together as the family of God. The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to do more through our lives than humanly possible and the effects will far outlast our own lives.
Most of our misconceptions regarding the "Family of God" are steeped in the modern American ethos of do more and more things for more and more people, which is not the Father's heart for His children. The "Family of God" instead looks more like a collective faith in Christ infused by the Holy Spirit's authority to "rejoice and mourn" together freely and well -- even, if necessary, in the same room.
From the Series, “Acts”. God is deeply and fundamentally relational, and because of this, he will use any means possible to be in a relationship with humankind, and that includes you. In Acts 8, we see five ways God reconciles us to himself: through disruption, generosity, inclusion, obedience, and suffering.
From the series, “Acts”. The faith that has been handed down to us is not the result of a Church that won cultural and political battles over the centuries. It's an inheritance from men and women like Stephen, who demonstrate the power, cost, and hope of cross-shaped living rooted in the Church. Stephen's story is not meant to make him an uncommon hero but to invite us into the kind of life he lived, whether or not we face the kind of death he faced - a life of service in the Church, shaped by the upside-down love and wisdom of the cross even in the face of suffering and opposition.
From the Series, “The Way of Jesus”. Our lives are no more than the combination of a million tiny decisions. How do we live with discernment and wisdom that reflects the way of Jesus in areas that aren’t specifically spelled out in scripture? True wisdom is humble action that recognizes the value of others above ourselves.
From the series, “Acts”. Acts 6:1-7 reports the first major conflict in the early church. The disciples' response reveals significant truths (and challenges) about God's hope to establish spiritual families even among the unimpressive and unfamiliar within our communities.
From the series, “Acts”. We are, by and large, suspicious of any kind of authority, both good or bad. We fear the loss of our independent control, so we recoil with skepticism and negativity. In Acts 5:17-42, we see those who surrendered to God's authority in a commitment to teach the good news of Jesus at all costs - even if they lost what we might call “rights” or “freedom”. We see a church submitted to God’s authority by way of the cross, a way that transcends trend and technique, and this is really good news for a worn out church in a world that’s lost its way.
From the series, “Acts”. In Acts 4:32-5:11, we learn to live in the Way of Jesus, and in the new identity that follows, through extreme generosity. The arrogance of accumulation, the conceit of comparison, and the pride of privilege slowly undermine the message of the cross, and ultimately destroy our souls.
From the series, "Acts". In Acts 4:23-31, the early church prays, and God answers. How do we pray for America? Will our prayers lead to revival, or do they wear God out? Christian Nationalism is idolatry that must be renounced. Before there is reconciliation, there must be repentance.
From the series, “The Way of Jesus”. God is the consummate promise keeper, but even the most faithful of us reach a point of needing to reach deeper into our faith and into scripture to find hope for better or even more predictable days. Thankfully, from the very beginning, God has carried humanity to places of new beginnings and solid ground after terrible circumstances and catastrophic change. Join us in recalling God’s faithfulness, steadfast presence and purpose as we step into this new year.
From the series, “The Way of Jesus”. We pray to know God, imitate Jesus, and rely on the Holy Spirit. In Luke 18, Jesus highlights a prayer mindset that is persistent and humble. A prayer model that overcomes our philosophical protest, defective doctrine, and our functional frustration. In this message, learn 3 simple ways to practice prayer in your apprenticeship to Jesus.
From the series, “Advent”. The first advent was motivated by love; to seek and save the lost. Advent living is loving God and neighbor - carrying out Jesus’ first advent mission - emotion plus action. We prepare for the second advent by removing the masks we’ve worn and social distancing we’ve practiced, apart from any pandemic, that insulate us from even knowing the lost. And, as we begin to love the lost, and our enemies, we must face the cold reality of our own incessant struggle to love our own brothers and sisters in Christ.
From the series, “Advent”. Joy is the unshakable awareness that God is good and He is with us. Joy isn't a simple feeling of optimism or a personality trait, nor is it a slave to circumstance, but it is all about our relationship with God. Jesus lived this way and He is inviting us into more and more joy forever.
From the series, “Advent”. Peacemaking is Advent living because it recognizes that the fullness of God’s peace is not here yet, but it hopes for it, and not passively; we hope for and anticipate the coming of God’s peace by beginning to put into place the landscape for that peace so that people see in us the way and peace of Jesus.
From the series, “Advent”. As God's children, we were not created to crumble before harsh realities, nor were we made to dull ourselves to personal or social adversities. Rather, we were designed to echo King David in proclaiming -- even during great troubles -- faith in God today, hope in God tomorrow, and love for God always.
From the series, “The Way of Jesus”. Every day, we can grumble or we can live with gratitude. Nothing is deserved. Everything is a gift from God. The only adequate response to all life’s gifts is gratitude. Gratitude isn’t spiritual bypassing, yet it is more than pithy platitude. Gratitude flows downstream from suffering, kills cynicism and complaint, and points to a future hope.
From the series “The Way of Jesus”. We live in the chaos of an over-busy, hurried, digitally distracted, and noisy world. The practices of silence and solitude enable us to thrive in spite of chaos through intentional time in the quiet, alone with ourselves and God.
From the series, “The Way of Jesus”. Spiritual practices are important and good. They are tools that can grow us, change us, and deepen intimacy with our Father. However, unless our foundational beliefs are solid, spiritual practices can only take us so far. Consider your foundation by examining two potential obstacles to real transformation: not thinking rightly about God and not thinking rightly about self.