1st and 2nd Americans

8 Episodes 

The first part of the New Testament includes the four biographies of Jesus, followed by the book of Acts, which chronicles the early church's history. After that, the New Testament is pretty much a collection of letters, letters written by the Apostles to the churches in major cities across the Roman Empire. Today, we name them according to the recipients, like Galatians, Ephesians, or 1&2 Corinthians. They included specific instructions and applications on what it looked like to follow Jesus in their unique context. And this should make us wonder… if the Apostles lived today, what letter would they write to the church in America?

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 1
Original Airdate: April 7th, 2024

Episode 1: "Life"

When life is predictable, losing sight of what’s most important is easy. But in the face of
uncertainty, a person’s true values come to the surface. As we face (yet another) election year, does the uncertainty surface anything in you? As you think about what comes to the surface, what does it say about what’s most important in your life? And is it Jesus? The Chrisitan faith begins (or ends) with your answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” If a New Testament author were to write a letter to the American Church, the correct answer to this question might be the central theme. Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus is King. Jesus has the words of life. To believe in him is to fear him and to follow him. He must be central.

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 2
Original Airdate: April 14th, 2024

Episode 2: "Liberty"

We live in an age of expressive individualism, and Americans uphold “freedom” as our highest value. But what began in America as political freedom, hallmarked by empowering citizens and giving everyone an equal vote, has devolved into radical individualism, in which no one has the right to impose any restriction on the individual. And this is one reason why society is fragmenting. It’s going to get worse until we realize that a lack of restrictions doesn’t lead to freedom but enslavement. It is the careful selection of the right restrictions that leads to freedom.

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 3
Original Airdate: April 21st, 2024

Episode 3: "Native Land/NEXT Celebration" 

Jesus never fought to reform the political system of his day. Neither did the early church. Instead, they loved the people sitting in institutional chairs (along with everyone else) and invited them to repent and believe. They did it without taking up political positions? Why? Because they weren’t interested in saving Judea, they were interested in saving Jews. They weren’t worried about saving Rome. They were worried about saving Romans. Their focus was fixed on what happens after this life because they didn’t see their earthly home as their native land. They saw heaven as their native land. America is not the city on a hill. The church is. And we will be the light to all the earth when we firmly plant our feet in the soil of our true native land.

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 4
Original Airdate: April 28th, 2024

Episode 4: “One Nation, Under God”

Citizens' trust in government institutions has been cratering in recent years. The public’s faith in the government is at all-time lows. But how’s your faith in God? Is it also running low? Because there’s an important link between your relationship with God and your relationship with the government. 

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 5
Original Airdate: May 5th, 2024

Episode 5  “Indivisible”

Politics has become an incredibly divisive topic within American culture. As a nation, we’re at odds over immigration policy, gun laws, and more. Oddly, Christians have taken up both sides of some of these political issues. How is that possible? It’s because our political views probably aren’t as objective as we think they are. They haven’t only been shaped by Biblical values. Your experience, education, race, economic situation, and relationships have also shaped them. It’s easy to feel like our view is right, but the people around you feel the same way about their views. So rather than fight for our views, what if we learned to grow influence by valuing the people around us?
Difference is inevitable. Division is a choice.

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 6
Original Airdate: May 12th, 2024

Episode 6 “Separation of Church and Hate”

The American Christian Church is known for being divided more than it is known for being united. It’s known for what it’s against rather than for what it’s for. Church people have behaved with as much (or more) godlessness as people who don’t go to church. As a result, Americans haven’t left the church because THEY don’t believe what Jesus teaches, but because the CHURCH doesn’t seem to believe what Jesus teaches. If we’re going to make our generation think twice about throwing baby Jesus out with the church bathwater, it will only happen if we return to the number one value of God’s Kingdom.

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 7
Original Airdate: May 19th, 2024

Episode 7 “The American Dream”

In the 1900s, the American Dream wasn’t about individual wealth and possessions. It was about community flourishing. That dream didn’t just want the grass at our house to be green but also our neighbors. Today, the American Dream is simply the individual pursuit of more. Today, we have more and consume more. More cars, more square footage, more technology, and more possessions. We also have more debt, more anxiety, more loneliness, and a bigger environmental footprint than ever before. Americans continue to consume and are never satisfied. Jesus warned about the deceitfulness of wealth and the desire for things because they won’t give us the life we seek. The truth is the more we consume, the more our possessions consume us. When we can break free from our possessions, we have space to pursue what truly matters.

1st and 2nd Americans, Episode 8
Original Airdate: May 26th, 2024

Episode 8 “The Pursuit of Happiness”

If America is built on the premise of an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness, how come we don’t crack the top ten of happiest nations in the world? Why are we hanging out with Lithuania on the happiest nations in the world list? Why do we have an epidemic of mental illness? Because after 247 years of trying, maybe it’s time to admit we’re lousy at pursuing happiness. The truth is that you will never achieve happiness by pursuing happiness. In this message, we’ll learn how to end our chronic discontent and pursue inner peace, making us the happiest place on earth.