How much to give?
Sun, May 29, 2016
Duration:40 mins
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. (Acts 5:1-2 ESV) The things that were happening in the early church were pretty amazing. The Spirit had swept in a literal roar. The gospel had been preached and people were coming to faith in great numbers. People were willingly and sacrificially giving of themselves and their possessions to serve one another. In light of these descriptions, it’s easy to romanticize these early Christians. Just like today, the early church was not full of perfect people who perfectly lived out their faith. In fact, they were sinners just like us, that needed Jesus just like us. This week we see how true this is. Take some time to read through Acts 4-5. We will be looking at the end of 4 and the beginning of 5 by looking into the introduction of Barnabas and the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
No Good Deed
Sun, May 22, 2016
Duration:45 mins
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by him this man is standing before you well. (Acts 4:8-10 ESV) When someone asks me for money, I’m usually caught off guard. I’m Thanks for taking care of this ladies! I really appreciate of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. (Acts 4:8-10 ESV) "No good deed goes unpunished." If that phrase existed when the apostles lived through the events in Acts 3, they probably would have said it. Last week we saw the miraculous healing of the man lame from birth. This caused a crowd to gather and Peter took the opportunity to declare the person and work of Christ. He pointed back not just to the miracle but to the power, works, and salvation available in Jesus. The people were excited, but the religious leaders weren’t. In fact, the apostles actions and teaching earned them a night in jail. This week we will continue to tell the story of what happened next. I encourage you to take some time and re-read Acts 3-4 before Sunday. It only takes a few minutes. How did their view of Christ motivate their actions? It’s a pretty amazing picture.
A Beggar and Jesus
Sun, May 15, 2016
Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. . . But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” - (Acts 3:1-6 ESV) When someone asks me for money, I’m usually caught off guard. I’m not sure what to do. Most often my response is one of avoidance and skepticism. I’ve heard their stories. I regularly doubt that the money they are requesting is going to the real need. Out of my embarrassment and awkwardness, I try to pass by. My cultural repugnance overcomes my gospel conscience. Peter and Johnsaw things differently. They saw that this man’s need was greater than money or even health. What he truly needed (along with every person regardless of their financial status or physical capabilities) was the gospel. This week we continue to tell the ongoing story of the early church in Acts 3. Take some time to read through Acts 3-4. There are some amazing connections to the whole redemptive storyline. See if you can find them. And then plan to join us on Sunday at 10:30 for worship.
The Birth of the Church - Part 2
Sun, May 08, 2016
Duration:45 mins
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles (Acts 2:42-43 ESV) What are you looking for in a church? What is your church about? What do y’all do? These are questions I’ve asked or been asked by people that are checking out Hope. We live in a culture that values church but has a variety of flavors and definitions of what a church looks, feels, and sounds like. Driving around town I must have seen at least 3 advertisements for different churches. And if we aren’t careful, we will begin to define church not by what the scriptures display that it is, but what we want, what we are comfortable with, what we grew up with, or what seems "to work." As we have begun to move through Acts we have witnessed the pivotal day of Pentecost. On that day, the Spirit rushed in and the gospel was preached. This week we are going to see what it produced. It was overwhelming, awe inspiring, and instructive. I want to encourage you to be there on Sunday morning as we continue to look at Acts 2. Take some time beforehand to read through it. And why not invite someone to join you?
Role of Christ's Resurrection in our Sanctification and Future Glorification
Sun, May 01, 2016
Duration:47 mins
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. - (Colossians 3:1-2 ESV) Life seems to move so quickly. Once an event passes, it seems to also fade quickly from memory. My wife reminded me this week that Easter was a month ago. It would be easy to think that we gave the resurrection its deserved passing thought and that it can now be filed until next year. But for Christians, the resurrection is at least a weekly reality. We should gather each Sunday intentionally to point us back to the day that death died. This week I will be preaching out of town. But Kevin will be opening up the significance of the resurrection, not just to seminary professors and theologians, but to every believer. Take some time before Sunday to read through Colossians 3 which connects resurrection and its power to our everyday Christian walk. Plan to be there.
The Birth of the Church - Part 1
Sun, Apr 24, 2016
Duration:1 hr 11 mins
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:22-24 ESV) If you were to pick out 5-10 events across biblical history to capture the most important storylines of the Bible, what would they be? Creation? The Exodus? Mount Sinai? David’s coronation? The fall of Jerusalem? The incarnation? The Cross? If I were making the list, I think Pentecost would make it. It’s a pivotal moment. It was predicted. And its effects continue to be seen and felt over 2,000 years later. But what makes it so important? This week, we will go through Acts 2 seeking to understand this event and see what we might learn about Christ, the Spirit, and the gospel. You need to be there. Why don’t you plan to bring someone with you, too? Also, don’t forget to read through the rest of the email which includes some important news and upcoming events.
Role of Christ's Resurrection in our Justification
Sun, Apr 17, 2016
Duration:41 mins
Role of Christ's Resurrection in our Justification - Jesus would still be in the grave if there is more sin to be punished for - It is finished
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.
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