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
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important event in human history. The Resurrection sparked a movement, that has largely formed the western world as we know it today. Nations, governments, education, healthcare and even the calendar have all been transformed on the basis of the message that is punctuated by Jesus Christ, who was crucified, and raised from the dead! Because Jesus truly rose from the grave, the world would never be the same. How could it be?
Can the same be said of your life?
How has the Resurrection changed you? How have you responded to the Easter message?
Though we live in a society that routinely recognizes the Easter holiday, many of us have hesitated to consider the true impact this event must have on our life.
Over the next four weeks, we will be considering our response to the risen Christ by looking at the accounts offered in the four gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John -- each shades the question a little differently and calls us to honestly consider and respond to this event that has already changed the world.
Through the season of Lent we will begin a new sermon series inspired by the book, "The Liturgy of the Ordinary" which is based on the assumption that we are a ritualistic people. Intentionally or accidentally we develop rituals and habits that form who we are becoming as people. Worship, of course, is an intentionally ritualistic practice meant to "form us as an alternative people marked by the love and new life of Jesus Christ." Each Sunday during Lent we will look into God's Word to better understand practices that should not only inform our time in worship each Sunday, but also the everyday moments of our life.
As most of you know, during the Advent season, we experimented by moving the modern service into the sanctuary. Though we will continue to offer the modern worship service in the fellowship hall, this experiment provided a great opportunity to think about the concept of worship while intentionally engaging the congregation. Lessons learned through this experiment will likely lead to small, but significant changes to both worship services as we attempt to position ourselves "To Be Encountered" by a living and holy God in worship. This will be the focus of my sermons for the next three weeks as we consider the idea of worship from the scripture, allowing some of the thoughts you provided in the feedback form to inform our conversation.
I hope you will agree that "Love First" is a helpful way to express who we are called to be, but have you given much thought to what it means to "Love First" lately? Surely it means something significantly different than being an affectionate church!
Over the next two weeks we are going to return to the fundamentals as we return to God's Word. We will reconsider what it means to love and what it looks like to make love our priority in this world.
During this Advent season in a sermon series entitled, "How Can I Keep From Singing" we'll spend time reflecting on the songs within the scripture that accompany our Savior's birth. My hope is that these biblical songs will not only inform the songs we sing, but the spirit we bring to this special time of year.
"Living with a Curious Hope" is a new series studying the book of 1 Peter. Within the book you'll find a command that is based on a certain presumption -- that we are living such hopeful lives, even during hard times, that those who witness it will ask where our hope comes from. It's a presumption that challenges me. I wonder if it challenges you too? Do you have people asking about your faith?
We will also be challenged to understand at a deeper level than the quick "sound bite" lesson. There are passages here that could easily be taken out of context and misused. Passages about suffering, beauty, and a faith that is visible. Even curious. There is more here in 1 Peter that we will explore together.
We are beginning a new sermon series entitled “Ascend: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.” We will be looking at Psalms 120-134, which are known as the Songs of Ascents. Three times a year, the Hebrew people were commanded to go to Jerusalem to the great worship festivals, and these psalms were likely sung by pilgrims as they traveled. Topographically Jerusalem is the highest city in Palestine, and so all who traveled there spent much of their time ascending. Climbing uphill requires much more grit than going downhill, so these songs are fortifying, encouraging, always pointing us to our prize: God.
We are starting a new sermon series that is all about prayer. What are the obstacles that keep us from praying as Jesus does? What does it look like for us to approach God as children? God is inviting us to inhabit a space of dependence, messiness, and freedom from guile and fear as we lift up our hearts to the Lord in prayer. In this season of Easter, let us be bold as we pray to the One whom Jesus called abba, to the One who had the power and love to raise Jesus from the dead!
Our church staff and musicians have been preparing to lead us well on Easter morning. It will be a wonderful time of worship! The preparation that counts the most, however, will take place in your heart. The power of the Resurrection is yours if Christ is in you.