Good Friday - A Harmony of Account
Fri, Apr 10, 2020
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. - 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 (ESV) You have heard the numbers. You have read the stories. You have seen the pictures. All of these things make me consider my mortality. I've had times in the past when I've physically suffered or when I've narrowly avoided an accident that for a little while the illusion of my invincibility has been pierced. In these days we consider what is dangerous and ultimately deadly. While this is a frightening reality to live in, it also forces us to confront the truth. We will all face death. Good Friday and Easter point us toward one who confronted death, used it, and will ultimately make it obsolete. This is a reason, at this time, to pause and consider who He is. Today we released a video where members of our congregation will read to you a Harmony of the Account of what happened on Good Friday. I want to encourage you to take 20 minutes and stop to watch or listen to this account.
The Church: More Than a Leader
Sun, Apr 05, 2020
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body "Jews or Greeks, slaves or free" and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (ESV) I've heard it A LOT. I'll ask someone where they go to church. They answer by saying, 'I go to (Insert pastors name) church.' It's as if that pastor is the sole proprietor & founding owner of the institution. I get it especially when it comes to gifted leaders, pastors, and teachers. It's easy to identify them with the church the pastor. But is the church just a key leader? Or is there something different going on? This week I want you to think about the church that is bigger than one person. In fact the pictures of the church mean that everyone no matter their title, position, or gifts has an important place in the church. This is so important in this moment as we continue to find our way through this season.
The Church: More Than a Meeting
Sun, Mar 29, 2020
Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. - 1 Corinthians 3:16–17 (ESV) Is going to church really necessary? We can just watch something online and get what we need. Right? What's the reason for getting together? I can hear songs by great artists online. There are a lot of sermons I can get through broadcasts or podcasts. Does it really matter if I go to church? Those are some great questions. And this is a great time to consider them. We have been forced to 'do' church differently for a while. But is this the new way, the best way, the right way? This week in our broadcast we will be talking about church as more than a meeting. God's design for His church includes a meeting, but there is more to it than that. Tune in at 10am on Sunday to sing and hear from God's word together.
The Church - More Than an Individual
Sun, Mar 22, 2020
And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, - Ephesians 2:17-19(ESV) One of the things that I love about traveling is experiencing different cultures. When we are put into a situation where things are unfamiliar we are forced to look at the world in different and new ways. All of us in the last couple weeks have been forced into a new culture...whether we like it or not. Now we are forced to think about things differently. Everything from our interactions to our purchases to our travel has changed. What will continue to be affected is the church. With the current health restrictions in place we can't meet as we once did, but that doesn't make us less the church. This circumstance presents us with an excellent opportunity to think about what the church is and what her mission is. So I'm going to lean into this idea for a few weeks by starting a brief series entitled: 'The Church: More than. . .'
Five Choices in Chaotic Times
Sun, Mar 15, 2020
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:15–17 (ESV) Fear is cruel master. It grips and paralyzes us. It causes us to act irrationally. It isolates and imprisons us, but these words from Paul are words of gospel freedom. We know what family we are a part and we are assured of our relationship to God. That reality provides a bedrock for us to move through a fearful world. Especially in light of current uncertainty we need to understand and trust these truths. This week I want to address it directly as we consider this moment. Here's what is going to happen. We are monitoring the situation and have been listening to local authorities. We are planning on meeting at 10:30 am for worship together. We will be suspending our normal greeting time and not take communion on our normal end-of-the-month schedule for now. If you are sick or have a compromised immune system we ask you to stay home. If you are in a vulnerable state due to pre-exisiting conditions or age, we are encouraging you to stay home. We will work hard to make sure all of the service is streamed starting at 10:30 so all can connect. We will work to post the service online as soon as possible afterward. We will be considering other Hope activities on a case-by-case basis such as youth or community groups. We will communicate about those soon. Watch the FB group for the most immediate info. We have limited info on non-Hope activities (outreaches), but anticipate most will be postponed or cancelled. We will let you know when we know.
The Fall of a King
Sun, Mar 08, 2020
And Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king." - 1 Samuel 15:22-23 (ESV) 1 Samuel 15 is a difficult passage. It's not difficult because of manuscript/translation issues or even really the interpretation. Those things are fairly clear and straight forward. It's difficult because of what it says. People have looked at this text and walked away from the faith because of it. In the opening of the chapter God commands Saul to do something that many find questionable. Take a look at the opening verses. No doubt these are thorny issues to talk about and they directly connect to who God is and what he does. I actually think there is an issue in the text that is even more difficult to deal with because it's not a theoretical, theological distance but an individual personal struggle that exposes us to the core. Saul is a very religious person. He has no problem with the rites and rituals. The problem for Saul and for us is do those rites and rituals go beyond sights and scents? Do they mean anything to us at a heart level? In other words does our religion change the way to live? When Samuel shows up after the battle with the Ammorites he confronts Saul's religion and ours. How will he respond? How will we respond? Take a few minutes and read through 1 Samuel 13-15 as we explore the fall of the first king of Israel, in our search for a real King.
The Prophet's Farewell
Sun, Mar 01, 2020
If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king. - 1 Samuel 12:14-15 (ESV) In the closing words of the Dr. Seuss' classic Oh, the Places You'll Go, he points the reader into the future with this very suessical farewell. 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.' Turning the pages of life can be exciting and scary. They come with opportunities, challenges, and choices. In the upcoming chapter of 1 Samuel 12 a page is turned. The prophet-judge Samuel has presided over a peaceful transition of power from himself to the newly chosen king of Israel, Saul. As he leaves he points the nation both backward and forward. He wants to remind them of who and whose they are. He gives them a choice and direction. What will they do? What will their newly crowned king do? Take some time to read his farewell speech, or maybe use a Bible app and listen to this appeal to the nation to seek God. Hear the prophet's heart for the people.
The Unlikely King
Sun, Feb 23, 2020
Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. - 1 Samuel 10:20-21 (ESV) 'Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it!' This phrase is a haunting truth that often what we want isn't what we need. Ever been there? Your heart longs for something, but when it arrives it's disappointing. Even worse it not only does not satisfy the desire, but it only multiplies the problems of life. This week, we are introduced to the first king of Israel - Saul. He is the king the people ask for. He is literally 'head and shoulders above' everyone. From the outside he is a king just like the other nations, but he is also deeply flawed. I think in many ways he is more of a judgment on the people and their desires than a solution to their fears. Take a few minutes to read through 1 Samuel 8-11. It's a story with twists and turns. It's filled with the miraculous and ridiculous. We will take some time this Sunday to re-tell it as we try to understand what God's purposes and plans are in the middle of it.
Blessing or Judgment
Sun, Feb 16, 2020
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” - 1 Samuel 8:4–5 (ESV) Have every really wanted something so bad that you begged God for it? Did God answer your prayer? When you received it did it turn out like you planned? When we ask God for things we want Him to answer our prayers by granting our wishes. When He doesn't we can become disappointed and doubt, but have you ever considered that God giving you something could not be his blessing but actually his judgment? It's a reversal of how we usually think. Getting what we want has to be blessing. Right? In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel is old, and the people are without a king. They are still doubting God and their solution,' give us a king!' If we only had a king then things would be better. We would be safe, protected, and whole. The only problem is their desire and dependance on a king means they have forgotten who is the true King. Take a few minutes to read through 1 Samuel 8 to get the context of the narrative. Come ready to consider what you are asking God for and plan to bring a friend with you to church.
What We Long For
Sun, Feb 09, 2020
What does it take to see renewal in your life? Life's a mess but God can make something beautiful out of it. This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.
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