The Ephesus Church - Part1
Sun, Jan 29, 2017
After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. -Acts 18:18-19 (ESV) We think of Christianity and the gospel in calm and orderly terms. Those that believe it become exemplary parents, employees, and citizens, it’s claimed. It sets their life right and they pull it all together. But does it? I know the times and culture were different, but as I read Acts, it seems that as the gospel was preached throughout the ancient world it was a disruptive force. For the next couple weeks we will look at what happened when it broke into the town of Ephesus. Take some time to read through Acts 18-19 to prepare yourself for Sunday, and I challenge you to consider how disruptive the gospel is.
Overcoming Missional Fear
Sun, Jan 22, 2017
Duration:49 mins
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. -1 Cor 2:3-5 Why don’t you share your faith? The predominant answer I hear to that question is fear. It shows up in different ways. We fear how people will view us. We fear we may not be able to answer a question. We fear we may break a relationship. We fear we won’t know what to say. We fear we will look foolish. Generally we are told to just overcome it and get out there. Go do it! I mean, look at the apostles. If they ever felt like us, then the gospel wouldn’t have spread. And then I read Acts. Paul was a strong, brave man. He boldly proclaimed the gospel. BUT, he was also afraid. This week we will see Paul planting a church in Corinth. But he did so in a fog of fear. If you experienced fear in evangelism, this week is for you. Take some time to read through Acts 18. See if you can find Paul’s display of fear.
Mission Methodology
Sun, Jan 15, 2017
Duration:1 hr 6 mins
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. - Acts 17:22-23 I’m an Alabama football fan. And I’m a Christian. But I have to admit, this one left me a little confused. Coming home in traffic the other day, I stopped behind a van. Emblazoned across the back window was a bumper sticker. It read ‘Jesus Saves’. I’ve seen that before, but this one was a little different. The ‘A’ in saves was obviously a scripted Alabama logo. I wasn’t sure what the message was. How does Alabama football connect to Jesus? What kind of salvation are we talking about? And for that matter who was Jesus being represented as? There is some talk within the Christian world about the method of evangelism. Is there a difference? Does it matter as long as the gospel gets out there? This week as we look at Acts 17, I want to take a look at three different cities where Paul preached. How did Paul communicate the gospel? How does that help us? Take some time and read through the chapter.
Defining The Mission
Sun, Jan 08, 2017
Duration:53 mins
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:9-10 I hate telemarketers. I’ve done everything I can think of to eliminate their calls, but they still seem to sneak through. My least favorite type of phone sales is the one that comes to the church. A photo directory, a new gadget, a comedy group, a hot new study; I’ve received calls for all of them and more. It seems that ‘new’ ‘hot’ ‘improved’ and ‘with more power’ are not just adjectives for soap boxes but for every new strategy and gimmick for churches too. There is a place for change and innovation in the life of the church, but what doesn’t change is the mission of the church. The church exists to point people toward Christ. We are here not just to make converts but to walk alongside each other in this journey. Are you on-board? Well, this week we get to see how Christianity went from a few scared followers after the crucifixion to a world-altering movement. We step back into this story in Acts 16. I want to encourage you to read Acts 15-16 before Sunday to get the context. And plan to bring someone along with you. It will be a great time together as we see the Gospel-on-the-Move.
How to finish well
Sun, Jan 01, 2017
Duration:49 mins
How to finish well - a study of Habakkuk.
Sun, Dec 18, 2016
Duration:41 mins
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. (1 John 4:9 ESV) Let’s be honest. Christmas is a reciprocal kinda holiday. When we give a gift, we expect something in return. We might only want a ‘thank you’ but we want something. Most of the time we want an equal or greater gift. When we don’t get it, we are a bit disappointed. (Ok - maybe that’s just me!) Because of this ‘rule’ of Christmas, we are a bit picky about who deserves a gift. But what if you got nothing in return. In fact, would you be willing to give a gift to someone that hated you? Probably not, because they deserve something worse than coal for Christmas, right? But this week, I want to tell you about how Christmas, at it’s core, is about unreciprocated giving.
Sun, Dec 11, 2016
Duration:50 mins
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 ESV) It was perfect! I had never seen anything like it. As I walked into Lowes, I thought I had hit the Church Christmas Decorating Jackpot. Before my eyes was a giant 6 foot tall J-O-Y, lit from the inside. It was sturdy yet light and it was foldable for easy storage. This was going to be perfect! I went up to it hoping to find it on sale. But I failed to find a price tag. Guessing at the price, I sought out a sale person to verify the cost. “How much for that giant bundle of Christmas J-O-Y?", I asked. The clerk looked above his glasses at me. ‘You don’t really want to know.’ he said. ‘I’m interested in it for a decoration for our church.’ I replied, kinda confused at that moment. ‘More than you can afford', he retorted. He continued, ‘For some reason they only sent us 2 and decided to price them at $1200.’ Wow, that is some pricey joy! We acknowledge that money can’t buy happiness. But as much as we deny it, at Christmas, the large attractive force between ‘things’ and ‘happiness’ prove almost impossible for us to separate. So, is the joy of Christmas in what we give or is it in what we receive? Or maybe the joy of Christmas comes from something we could never afford? This week, we examine the theme of joy. How do we get it? Where does it come from? How do we hold on to it? In addition to our advent reading and worship, we will have a special event from our youth! Bring a friend with you to celebrate this Advent season. And don’t forget to check out what else is going on at Hope, including our party on Sunday night.
Sun, Dec 04, 2016
Duration:41 mins
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14 ESV) We see it in beautifully scripted fonts on the front of Christmas cards. We sing about it in carols. We hear it recited in pageants. Yet in a season of rushing through activities and conflicts within family, peace seems to be the last thing we feel. Where is the peace the angels sang about? How do we get it? Is it what we think it is? This week, as we continue to celebrate the Advent season, we will look at Peace. Peace is a regular theme in scripture. God is even named the God of Peace. So how do we participate in this peace? Come worship with us and find out. Why not invite someone to join you? The building has been beautifully decorated and I can't wait for the church to gather to celebrate Advent. See you Sunday! Would you like a few free resources to celebrate advent at home? Check out the daily downloadable devotional from Desiring God. Have kids? Try the downloadable coloring pages from the Jesus Storybook Bible
Sun, Nov 27, 2016
Duration:42 mins
‘I hope I get that ______ for Christmas!’ Fill-in the blank. It’s the plea of every kid and many grown-ups this time of year. We ‘hope’ for something BIG. But our hopes are mere wishes wrapped in wants. Is that all ‘hope’ is? Is it just a wish? This week we will explore where we find hope as Christians. It’s more then a wish. And it has basis that is sure. Come with us as we explore the two vistas of Hope. And see how Advent helps us to see Hope clearly.
Defining Christianity - Part 2
Sun, Nov 13, 2016
Duration:46 mins
The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. (Acts 15:6-7 ESV) Some church meetings are over the color of the carpet, the budget or officers. Those are the ones that tend to get a lot of the bad press, especially when things go bad. We all know about ‘that church’ that split over the color of the carpet. However, some church meetings are vitally important and come with long lasting consequences. Acts 15 describes such a gathering. Last week we laid out the nature of the conflict. This week we want to lay out how it was resolved. The breach between the Jews and Gentiles would define the ongoing course of the church. It would solidify the understanding of the gospel. This week we lay out the witnesses, reasons, and conclusions reached in that counsel. If you have ever wondered how we went from Judaism, the temple, and sacrifices to Christianity, churches, and communion, this is a sermon for you.
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