Finding I AM
Sun, Jan 23, 2022
When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. - Exodus 3:4-6 (ESV) Have you ever been somewhere when you felt the presence of God? Maybe it was in a specific church whose architecture seemed to point your thoughts toward heaven. Maybe it was somewhere out in nature looking at the vastness and beauty of creation. Maybe it was in the quiet stillness of a moment where you knew God was with you. All of these in some ways could be considered sacred spaces. They are places where you felt met. They are places where God was tangible to you in the moment. Finding spaces like that can be both encouraging and faith producing. Sacred spaces are rare. In scripture there are only a few. In Exodus 3 we encounter one of the first ones that are called out. As God calls Moses he does so in a way and in a place that would remind others of his presence for generations to come. Take a few minutes and read through Exodus 3 to prepare your heart and mind for continuing our journey through Exodus.
Delivering a Deliverer
Sun, Jan 16, 2022
Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” - Exodus 1:8-10 (ESV) I like to get to the movies early. I know you can see previews online. But there is something about a trailer on the big screen. You get a glimpse at what is coming. You get to take in all the cinematic flair that can be packed into about two minutes. It’s a lot of fun. The opening chapters of Exodus are like a movie trailer. They preview the big ideas that are coming. You get to know the characters. And you see you how they will shaped by narrative. This week we continue in our series in Exodus. I want to encourage you to read through chapters 1-2. They provide a bridge from the close of Genesis and setup the grand story of God’s deliverance through a unique deliverer. It's gonna be fun to watch.
Getting Into Exodus
Sun, Jan 09, 2022
Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.' - Exodus 6:6-8 (ESV) Gaining a better understanding of where something comes from gives you not only a greater appreciation for it but also a deeper knowledge and enjoyment of it. I remember years ago reading a book about the history of Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company. Even though I’m more of Chevy guy, it helped me to appreciate the engineering innovation and the business acumen that Ford developed in order to mass produce cars. Amazingly, over 100 years later the company and even some of those original cars are still going strong. When it comes to redemptive history, sometimes we relish in our position as New Covenant recipients. We look at the New Testament and the letters of the apostles as the main source for truth and living. But as we have seen in our study of Hebrews, these ideas didn’t materialize out of thin air. God has been writing this story from the very beginning. Therefore, the more that we understand the storyline and its developments along the way, the more we come to not only appreciate – but love and desire to follow the God who is writing it. This Sunday we begin a study in Exodus. In many ways, I’d say the language we use throughout Scripture about salvation has its start here. In this book we will gain an enlarged vision of the person and character and power of the one true God. Moreover, we will see the person and work of Christ developed through both person and picture. I hope that you are excited to take this journey together! I’d encourage you to begin by becoming familiar with the first chapters. Why not take some time and read through them before Sunday? And would you consider inviting someone to experience this along with you? Join us to worship together in person and online at 10 am.
Understanding Shame and the Glory of the Cross
Sun, Jan 02, 2022
Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. - Psalm 34:5 (ESV) The Lord has given many great and precious promises to us as believers in Jesus Christ - one of which is our freedom from shame. Shame is a prominent part of our experience as human beings in a fallen world. We sense it every day, even when the word is not spoken. It is a multi-faceted experience that appears many times in Scripture yet remains misunderstood today. Our freedom from shame is so central to our hope, the hope of our standing before God in shameless perfection at his coming, because of what Christ has done for us and in the hope of the resurrection. Shame is also part of our daily experience in the struggle against sin and in our walk with Christ. Often times we are aware of our own experience and what God says is true, but our experience feels out of sync with what we know from Scripture. As we grow closer to the Lord, what we know becomes increasingly what we experience. I want to look with you at what God says about shame, particularly the cross of Christ and the shame Christ bore for us. My prayer is that we will grow in knowing our freedom from shame. We are free. God has blessed us in the heavens with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I hope you’ll plan to join us on Sunday at 10 am, in person or online, to unpack the blessing of freedom from shame and the glory of the cross.
When Bells Don't Toll
Fri, Dec 24, 2021
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. - 1 John 4:9-10 (ESV) Christmas is a time of year when we feel the love of those around us. We receive and give gifts to demonstrate it. We spend time with those we love. We share special memories and experiences. But what if that love is not returned? It can hurt us deeply when we give and don’t receive in return. How would you deal with that? In our series, Christmas in a Minor Key we have been considering the Minor Prophets and how they point us toward Christ. On Christmas Eve we will consider Hosea. It’s a book about love. Sadly though, it is a book not about the warm fuzzy Christmas-movie type love. Instead, it is about love that is spurned and abused. God’s people had abandoned and betrayed his love for them. How would he respond? We will look at his surprising and overwhelming response on Christmas Eve at 6pm. Our service will include carols, the advent wreath, the Christmas story by the Treehouse Players, and candlelight. Plan to be with us! And then we will be together again on Sunday - Dec 26th. We will have a shortened service. We are going back to the Minor Prophets. This time we will look at Habakkuk; a book that teaches us to struggle with God especially when his plans and purposes seem too hard to comprehend.
God's Reign Descends
Sun, Dec 19, 2021
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. - Micah 5:2 (ESV) Traditions at Christmas mark out the season. Some traditions are within families. Some have much wider and older origins. Christmas trees and gift giving date back centuries. Included in these Christmas traditions are songs. When hear them it brings us into the season. One of the oldest Christmas songs is - O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It has origins that take it back to monasteries in the 8th and 9th centuries where songs called ‘O Antiphons’ would be sung a week before Christmas. These songs were translated from Latin into English in the 1700’s. The song that we now know as O Come, O Come Emmanuel was put to the modern song by John Neale around 1850. This song points us to the arrival of God’s king in a rescue mission for His people. This week in our series of Christmas we will see more about this coming King as we look at Micah. It will remind us that this King came to establish his rule and will return to extend it forever. I encourage you to read Micah 4-5 to prepare your heart and mind to worship together. We will celebrate communion together.
Purity and Joy in the Day of the Lord
Sun, Dec 12, 2021
“Therefore wait for me,” declares the Lord, “for the day when I rise up to seize the prey. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all my burning anger; for in the fire of my jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord. From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering. - Zephaniah 3:8-10 (ESV) The consistent pattern of the all-powerful, holy, and righteous God is that he comes to save and to judge, neither of which can be separated. The times of his coming are often called by the prophets "the day of the Lord." Zephaniah the prophet tells us of the coming advents (arrivals) of God, but specifically in Zephaniah, part of God's saving is to purify his people who are scattered among the nations in division and spiritual exile. He is preparing people who are ready for the Messiah's earthly reign. The Lord is near, Paul tells us. He will cleanse, just as he is clean. As the dross is removed, all that is left is a people who long for God, who worship him in joy and splendor and unity because judgment against them has been removed. And remarkably, the righteous God takes pleasure and joy in his people who were once unholy and separate from him. I invite you to read Zephaniah chapter 3 in preparation for Sunday morning at 10am (in person or online) as we consider the arrivals of our Messiah and how God wishes to stir our hearts and minds to anticipation and acceptance of what God has and will accomplish in Christ.
Finding Faithfulness
Sun, Dec 05, 2021
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. - Zechariah 9:9 (ESV) Eugene Petersen wrote a book entitled ‘A Long Obedience in the Same Direction’ that I keep meaning to read. I love the title. It’s an ode to the need for ongoing, regular, plodding faithfulness in a lifetime of following Christ. Faithfulness isn’t flashy; it usually doesn’t result in any headlines. But it is desperately needed – especially in a world that seems to revolve around the immediate and instant. However, it can also be tiring. I think that’s why Paul told the Galatians to not become weary in doing good (Gal 6:9). Sometimes we fail in that. That was the state of those who returned from exile. They had grown tired. They had come back with excitement and energy. They had reestablished the nation. They had started rebuilding the temple. Then, about 20 years later . . . everything was at a standstill. It seems when you begin with excitement and then fail or get tired it can become even harder to start again. That’s where they were. Where would they find the motivation? What would drive them forward? How could they continue? Enter Zechariah the prophet. This week in our series, ‘Christmas in a Minor Key’, we take a look at this forgotten book. I’ve never preached on it. You probably have not read it. But it is quoted or alluded to over 60 times in the New Testament. Interestingly, it provides a look not into the principles of motivation to begin again, but the person. Take a few minutes to read or listen to the last 5 chapters (9-14). I bet you will find some phrases or pictures you are familiar with.
When Religion isn't Enough
Sun, Nov 28, 2021
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." - Malachi 4:5-6 (ESV) Revival is an amazing thing. What would it look like for a generation to have their hearts turned to Christ? To see a large group of people start following God would be incredible. But there is a problem with revival. Each generation must turn to Christ on their own. Several cycles of revival have been followed by the next generation turning away from their parents’ faith. This is what had happened in Malachi’s day. The nation had come back to from exile. Nehemiah had lead them to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem and strengthen their nation. Ezra had led them to turn their hearts in worship to God. However, as future generations passed, that fire in their hearts had dimmed. By the time of Malachi, the people had lost their heart connection to God. How would this be fixed? This Sunday we begin our advent series - Christmas in a Minor Key. We will be looking at different books in the Minor Prophets that point us to the truth behind Advent that these prophets reveal.
Fighting the Sin of Ingratitude
Sun, Nov 21, 2021
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. - Romans 1:21 (ESV) Ingratitude can be sad and hurtful. When you do something for someone and it is never acknowledged, it can be so hard. It fractures friendships. When people are ungrateful, it can sometimes seem that they act like they deserve what they have received. It seems to be a lack of character. But have you considered it isn’t just a flaw but actually a sin? In Romans 1 we often point the sins that are blatant and ‘icky’ in our perspective. But we glide by the truth that one of the sins that God’s judgment falls on is - ingratitude. Men and women in our fallen state fail to acknowledge the one who created them. This lack shows our failure to understand our real place as creature beings. This week we want to begin a season of thankfulness. We will spend time together singing songs, hearing testimonies, reading the word, and taking communion to acknowledge and praise our creator for His kindness and grace, not only as our creator but our redeemer.
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