Jesus teaches that identity results in activity: who we are in Christ determines what we do. If you are a light, shine in the darkness of the world. Your light also should continue to grow brighter. Maturing as a Christian requires listening carefully to God’s Word and God’s preachers. The powerful preacher George Whitefield (1714–1770) offers six exhortations for how to listen to a sermon. Finally, in the church, serve like family; true family members hear what they are supposed to hear, and then do what they’re supposed to do.

John was great because he called people to true repentance (not its counterfeits, such as religious repentance, pagan repentance, worldly sorrow, mere confession, blame shifting, minimizing, and excuse making), because he endured impossible people, and because he suffered critics. Above all, though, John was great because he was filled with the Holy Spirit; like a kite filled with the power of the wind, he flew high and strong. That’s such a better life than a kite that never gets out of the box.

Jesus calls the twelve disciples—and all of his people today—to transition from a come-and-see experience to a go-and-die life. We can learn eleven leadership lessons from Jesus’ selection of the twelve disciples, so that, by the Holy Spirit’s power, we will follow Jesus’ leadership example and have a church that is patterned after Jesus’ ministry.

Pastor Mark preaches from the Jordan River, where John the Baptizer baptized many, including Jesus Christ. John preached a baptism of repentance to the religious people who came to hear him, whom he called a “brood of vipers.” John urged them to live a life of true repentance instead, which includes conviction, confession, repentance, and restitution. Baptism shows that repentance is made possible through Jesus—his life, death, burial, and resurrection.

Pastor Mark Driscoll examines Luke 2, one of the most familiar passages of Scripture, where an angel announces the birth of Jesus, “Christ the Lord,” to shepherds in a field. The angel reveals how we are to see Jesus. We are not to insert him into a false ideology, such as atheism, deism, pantheism or panentheism, or theism; these offer no hope, no good news, and no savior. Rather, we are to praise Jesus as the Savior, Christ the Lord—good news for all the people—like the angels, Mary, and the shepherds did.