Do you have the Spirit?
Sun, Apr 10, 2016
Duration:1 hr 3 mins
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4 ESV) As Luke began his retelling of the early church, he points out that this is the continued works of Jesus. In a sense, it’s Luke’s Gospel - Part 2. But there is another major actor in this book. Throughout the book, the Holy Spirit plays a major role beginning on the day of Pentecost. With dramatic fashion, He comes onto the scene in a powerful way. Depending on your background, the presence, work, and person of the Holy Spirit could be exciting, odd, or expected. You might have grown up reading the KJV and know Him as the Holy Ghost. Or, you might have been a part of a church or movement where the Holy Spirit was seen as a miraculous force that caused people to do weird things and knocked people over - literally. Or, you might see the Spirit as a more subtle suggester, who hints quietly which direction you should go or what you should do. Before we get too deep into Acts, carrying all of these suppositions into the text, I want to take a brief step back and develop a short theology of the Spirit. This will serve us well to understand who He is (yes - He is a person not a feeling or force). And it will ground us to not only understand the text, but see what regular role He should play in our lives.
Ready, Set, . . .
Sun, Apr 03, 2016
Duration:56 mins
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) Have you ever had post-holiday let down? There is this big build up for weeks, maybe even months to THAT day. It might be your birthday or Christmas or National Cheeseburger Day (I’m sure it exists). It arrives in a flurry of activity and excitement. Then it’s gone. And the next day comes. We get back into our day-to-day routines and life continues to plod on. From a Christian standpoint, it would be easy for us to feel that way about Easter. We are reminded of the horror of Good Friday and the power of Resurrection Sunday, but then Monday comes. It would be easy to abandon the joy of the Resurrection as it fades into just another holiday. But the truth is the resurrection changed everything on that day and for everyday afterwards. So, in one sense, we come together every Sunday to be pointed back to that truth. Even for the disciples, in those days following the resurrection, this truth changed everything. This week, we begin our new series called ‘The Gospel on the Move’ and begin unfolding the story after Easter. This Sunday we will hear Jesus’ final earthly words to the disciples in Acts 1. I’d encourage you to sit down and read through the first few chapters of Acts to see what happened after the resurrection. Also starting next week, we will be producing weekly sermon questions for you to use individually or with your community group.
A Resurrection Restoration Project
Sun, Mar 27, 2016
Duration:46 mins
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15 ESV) It was awkward. Peter’s words and actions were not that separate from Judas'. He had denied Him and run. He figured that this disgrace would have to be lived with, now that Jesus was gone. But then something unexpected happened. Jesus came back. It makes me wonder what Peter was thinking during Jesus’ previous appearances. Was he hoping that Jesus wasn’t going to say anything? Was he afraid that he was disqualified from following? This Easter, I want to sit with Jesus and Peter on the beach for a fish breakfast and conversation. This conversation would not just change Peter’s perspective but would restore their relationship. It would expose not only Peter’s unfaithfulness, but Jesus’ love for him. Plan to be with us. It’s gonna be a great celebration. We will be baptizing. We will be worshipping through song and giving. We will be sitting before God’s word.
Soli Deo Gloria: Glory to God Alone
Sun, Mar 20, 2016
Duration:53 mins
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV) We have some weird phrases as Christians. These phrases make sense to us - sorta. If we don’t understand them, we still all nod like we all get it. One that I always wonder about is when people talk or ask me about my "call to the ministry." You almost get the feeling as if being a pastor is so different, so set-apart, so sacred, that in order to get into this special club, you need a divine invitation. You need to hear God audibly tell you or have a message written in the sky for you. I wonder sometimes if we talk this way because we don’t really understand the final Sola, Soli Deo Gloria or Glory to God Alone. In this series, we have been examining these five Latin phrases that formed the core of the Protestant Reformation nearly 500 years ago. The last of these phrases directs us to praise and boast in the one that has initiated, accomplished, and completed our salvation - God Alone. This week we will dig into this idea. I’d encourage you to read through the close of Romans 11 (specifically verses 33-35) to see Paul expand this idea. I also want to encourage you to be giving out invitations to family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors for the upcoming Easter weekend. This is a great opportunity to invite someone to come with you to explore the life, death, and resurrection of Christ and its significance in our lives. It’s gonna be a great weekend.
Solus Christus: Christ Alone
Sun, Mar 13, 2016
Duration:43 mins
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV) History is filled with unique, important personalities. In fact, history really could be written as the biography of a few. It’s these individuals who shape nations and cultures. They lead sometimes for the betterment of humanity and sometimes towards it's demise. Scripture records some of these people’s lives. However, in reality, all of human history is really the story of two men - Adam and Christ. And the rest of humanity lines up behind them. This week we examine the idea of Solus Christus or Christ Alone. In this truth we explore the important unique role that Christ plays in salvation. If you have ever wondered why our services are filled with Christ’s name and references to his works, this week you should find out. If you want to get a preview, I’d encourage you to read through Romans 5.
Sola Fide: Faith Alone
Sun, Mar 06, 2016
Duration:55 mins
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” -- (Romans 4:1-3 ESV) Trust is a major issue in our time. All you need to do is listen to any coverage of this year's elections to see it. Who do you trust? Are they telling the truth? Do I trust them enough to put my vote of confidence behind them? Our trust and faith however extends beyond our politics. They are vital in our spiritual life as well. This week we take a look at the third Sola - Sola Fide or Faith Alone. This theological maxim continues to define the gospel for us. This week we will open up Romans 4 to look at this truth. I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to slowly read through the passage. If you have more time, go back to Genesis 15 and explore the reference that Paul is making to Abraham. How did he come into a right relationship with God? This is going to be a vital week to understand where we place our trust for ultimate realities. Plan to be with us. And invite someone to come along!
Sola Gratia: By Grace Alone
Sun, Feb 28, 2016
Duration:56 mins
No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. (Ezekiel 16:5 ESV) To be honest, some passages of scripture are hard to read. Not because they contain a lot of names or places you can’t pronounce or can’t find, but because you see yourself in them so clearly. And what you see isn’t pretty. Looking in the mirror is hard to do. And when that exposure comes at the depth of our soul it can be frightening and depressing. But to honestly deal with ourselves and our standing before God, we must stare into the face of sin. For me, Ezekiel 16 is one of those passages. It chronicles the birth, growth, maturity, and betrayal of the nation of Israel. In their experience I see my own heart wandering and worshiping things other than God. It’s a sad but true indictment of our true status. I want to encourage you to take a look. Don’t skim the details and don’t point fingers but accept the reality of what it reveals. What makes this chapter even more amazing to me is how it ends. So don’t get stuck in the middle. Read this all the way to the end because the ending begs the question, ‘Why in the world would God act like this to such a people?’ This week, in our 5 Solas series, we will look at Sola Gratia (latin for Grace Alone). That passage gives you a little clue as to why.
Sola Scriptura: Scripture Alone
Sun, Feb 21, 2016
Duration:56 mins
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; -- (Psalm 19:7-8 ESV) 499 years ago, with a lengthy list, a bible, and the hope of the gospel, a monk by the name of Martin Luther began a movement that would transform the landscape of Christianity. He had experienced the reality of grace in his own life and he was angered by the counterfeits that he saw around him. As his voice grew, others joined him. Together, their cries for reformation formulated around five key truths. Over the next five weeks, we are going to explore each of these. We will come to see that they continue to be important and relevant. This week, we are going to explore the first of these truths, known in Christianity as Sola Scriptura. Take some time to read through Psalm 19. We will be exploring this psalm and other passages as we discover how God has revealed himself to us. Why don’t you consider inviting someone to come along?
Gospel Redux
Sun, Feb 14, 2016
Duration:49 mins
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. - (Galatians 6: 14 ESV) Fear is a powerful motivator. Mix that with our desire to please others and you have a dangerous combination. But when one or both of those are used as a method to try to force holiness, watch out! This week we close out our look at Galatians. As Paul closes out the book, he takes pen in hand and his passion comes through. I want to encourage you to take a few minutes to read through the final chapter of Galatians to prepare your heart and mind to worship together.
Gospel Faithfulness
Sun, Feb 07, 2016
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6: 7-9 ESV) I think if I was a farmer, I would automatically have a better understanding of the Bible. But the only farming I do is sorting through the produce section of Kroger for unbruised apples (but only when my wife sends me). Because of that, I have little appreciation for the labor and patience it takes to grow an excellent crop. But if we are going to understand ongoing, faithful, fruitful Christian growth, we are going to all become spiritual farmers. Take a few minutes to read through Galatians 6 to prepare your heart and mind for the passage this week.
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