God’s everlasting promise to be in relationship with the Israelites and all creation allows hope to take root in even the most hopeless circumstances. God continues to provide and be faithful, bringing life where there was once death, like dry bones being gathered back to life. As texts move into the New Testament in this Advent season, hope is ultimately embodied in human form as God will go to any length to show love, even becoming flesh and dwelling with us. God’s presence is found among us in the humble form of a child in Jesus, the one who brings true life to all.
Each of us are invited into a life of discipleship by our loving Creator. God’s continued presence and abounding grace allows us to answer God’s call, and through those blessings, to live in hope as we serve Jesus through our neighbor.
As the Israelites turn away from God and forget their calling to serve as a blessing to all nations, the prophets call them back to relationship with their creator. The prophets offer promises of hope to a people lost and dejected, reminding them that God will never abandon them and promises a future filled with hope. The people may have turned from God, but God will not turn away from them. God’s plan for their future, and ours, is bright and filled with hope.
God continues to invite unlikely people to be great leaders and pillars of the faith. These imperfect leaders answer God’s call, allowing God to work through them in remarkable ways, even as their faults are sometimes evident. God’s presence serves as a constant source of strength and peace which equips them to serve.
In John 17:3, Jesus says that the life we all desire can only be found in “Knowing God.” Jesus claims this is the ultimate solution for every problem, but what does it mean to truly “know God?” This will be the focus of a sermon series that will run through Labor Day weekend. Are you wrestling with deep challenges in your life? I invite you to return to Jesus this Sunday to seek the answer for the pain we all face.
We will begin the summer by celebrating how far God has enabled our congregation to grow as we pursue the mission he has given to us. Pastor Jason will highlight the results from the Transforming Church Insight (TCI) Survey while lifting up the biblical principle by which we measure our life together. He will also share stories from his 25 years in the life of the church, considering how far we have come. Beginning mid-July, we will consider how much farther God is calling us to go as Pastor Clint lifts up the strategic initiatives that leaders of the church have recently identified. These initiatives will guide our life together for the next three to five years.
We are entering the season of Lent. Just as the season of Advent helps us to prepare for the birth of Christ at Christmas, Lent prepares us for Good Friday and Easter.
Lent is about Jesus. It is a season of preparation and repentance in which we are invited to make our hearts ready for remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus. During these 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, Lent is a time for us to remember that we are sinners in need of our Savior. It's a season to reflect on our lives, to reconsider how we are living in light of the presence and power of God made available to us in Jesus. It's a time to reflect on our lives as they are, and how they could be.
During this season, we want to refocus our lives on God and the call he has placed on us. That's why it's a common practice at Lent to give something up. But it's not about the giving-up or missing that which we've removed from our lives during this season – it's about clinging to Christ when we realize how often we turn to the perishable things of this world. It exposes the sin we bear when we set anything as more important than the One who is sovereign over all.
Who was Jesus? What did He stand for? What was His mission? These may seem like obvious questions for those of us who have been a part of the Church for many years. Maybe they are, but trying to answer those questions for someone who has no background in the faith may be more complex. It will take more than a quick "elevator speech" to rightly introduce Jesus!
As we continue in the gospel of Luke over these next few weeks, we'll notice how Jesus is revealed. He is the long-expected Messiah that has been foreshadowed in the passages we’ve been studying since September. He is the one many of us have heard about from a very early age in Sunday School. Even so, let’s ask God to give us eyes to recognize Him even more clearly in order that we might follow Him more faithfully.
The disruption to “normal” life that we have been experiencing over the past 6 months has left many of us feeling uprooted. The routines and relationships we once took for granted are no longer available to us, at least in the ways to which we have become accustomed. Because of this, it is tempting to believe and act as if life has fallen out of God’s control. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Our sovereign God has seen these days coming before the foundations of the earth were laid, and God has good purposes for them. God has nurtured relationships with his people through very challenging times in the past. Believing this to be true, it is critical for us to intentionally root the unfolding story of our life in the unshakable foundation that God’s story provides.
The Narrative Lectionary offers the sweep of the biblical story from Creation to the formation of the Church, and will be our guide from September through May. It will provide the focus for preaching, Bible study, family discipleship, and personal reading. You can learn more about the Narrative Lectionary at http://www.workingpreacher.org/narrative_faqs.aspx