Sermons

Gospel Expansion
Sun, Sep 18, 2016
Duration:57 mins
And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:1 ESV) Do you fear that persecution for your faith might happen to you? How does that make you feel about the future? What would that do to your desire to communicate about Christ to those around you? This week, we will take a look at Act 8. Jesus had told his disciples that they were going to be his megaphones to the world. It would begin in Jerusalem and ripple out from there. So far Jerusalem had been rocked. But what about the rest of the world? With the strain of persecution, we find them forced to head out of town. And along the way, the gospel impacts some pretty unusual individuals. Come this week and hear how messy evangelism can be, but how we have the privilege to communicate his message.
The Connecting Gospel - Part2
Sun, Sep 11, 2016
Duration:59 mins
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”(Acts 7:51-53 ESV) Some people are judicious with their words. They are clear but careful. They know who they are talking to and gently weave their words together. Others are bulldozers. They are a verbal wreaking crew unleashing havoc, maybe intentionally and likely on purpose. Which are you? We might be tempted to read Stephen’s words above and label him as the later. He pulls no punches. He is direct and cutting. But I think there is something deeper going on here. He is not speaking to godless pagans, but to individuals that have staked their livelihoods and reputations on their righteousness actions. These are ‘good’ people. So what is he doing? This Sunday we will take another look into Acts 7. I want to encourage you to read through the narrative in Acts 6-7 to refresh yourself with the context. Then, plan to join us for worship at 10:30.
The Connecting Gospel - Part1
Sun, Sep 04, 2016
Duration:49 mins
And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8 ESV) Where do you most feel the presence of God? Is it in a specific church? Is it while singing a specific song? Is it out in nature? For the Jews of the first century that was an easy question to answer. The presence of God was located in the temple in Jerusalem. It was a monument to his grandeur and glory. It contained the holy artifacts. And it was the spot where all proper worship took place. So you have to imagine that it was disruptive to be told it was nothing more than an edifice that would be destroyed. And that it would disappear, and with it, also how you would relate to God. But that’s exactly what Jesus said. It was of no surprise then that a charge of sedition and blasphemy was leveled against him. But what did he mean? It was a couple of years later that Stephen announced similar ideas. And it caused the same level of disruption. But before we cast stones, might we be guilty of the same thing as the first century Jews? Isn’t church where you go to be close to God? This week we head back into Acts 6-7. We will be looking at the charges and sermon of Stephen. Take a few minutes to read through the chapter. It has a ton of connections with the Old Testament story-line. We will try and connect as many of the dots as we can. Your familiarity with the passage will help. Also, this week we will be celebrating communion together.
Rest: More Than a Feeling
Sun, Aug 28, 2016
Duration:47 mins
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11 ESV) Exhausted. Tired. Dragging. Need Coffee. In the midst of all of our jokes about the pace of life and the weariness of our minds and bodies, there is a truth that we often ignore. We need rest. Unfortunately, when we think of rest, we are stretched and tired even considering it. We might feel we can’t afford it. Or we might run the to-do-list both at home and at work that would never allow us to step away. Many times, what adds to our busyness is our spiritual lives. We add things like prayer or bible study to the list and our sense of frustration grows. In Hebrews 4:1, we get an almost paradoxical command about rest. You must struggle, work, and strive to rest. Wait, what? Wouldn’t that make rest work? This Sunday, my friend Ryan Haskins will be unpacking this idea of Rest. I will be gone, participating in a local race (Not a lot of rest there!). I encourage you to read through Hebrews 4 to get the context of this important command.
Real Church
Sun, Aug 21, 2016
Duration:46 mins
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. (Acts 6:1 ESV) Church government and constitutions are not exactly the most exciting subject. When people want to talk about it, it usually means they have either had a rough experience somewhere, are Biblical nerds, or need some thing to help them fall asleep. Just kidding. Sorta. But this week, we are going to at least touch on the subject. In Acts 6 we run into something that churches are exceptional at - having conflicts. In order to solve it and to protect the calling of the Apostles, something important happens. As we read through this narrative, we will begin to uncover several things about the nature and organization of the early church. Read through Acts 6 to prepare your heart and mind for this Sunday. And make sure you read through the important updates below as well.
Gospel Disobedience (Part 2)
Sun, Aug 14, 2016
Duration:57 mins
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. (Acts 5:41 ESV) Persecution - it’s something that we fear. It’s a circumstance that we seem to think is always around the corner. The real question, I think, is not from what direction persecution will arrive, but are we prepared mentally and spiritually when it happens. I don’t think that preparation comes from just getting tougher or being ready to ‘take the hits’, but by truly understanding our salvation, identity, and security. The narrative in Acts provides pathways for us to do this as it recounts the conflicts which the church was birthed and grew in. This week we continue to look at the second half of Acts 5. If you missed last week, you can catch up online with last weeks sermon. I’d encourage you to read the chapter as we go back into it. How do you think you would respond to the pressure? Why do you think we seem to fold so easily to social pressure in the area of faith? What do you think it looks like to fight for our faith? It might be different than you think.
Gospel Disobedience (Part 1)
Sun, Aug 07, 2016
Duration:56 mins
And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” (Acts 5:27-28 ESV) I bet you consider yourself a ‘law & order’ kinda person. I don’t mean the TV show, but the inclination. You pay your taxes. You vote. You obey the laws, except maybe the speed limits. You support the police. You might even turn to a passage like Romans 13 to support and encourage that view. That’s important and I’d even say biblical. We are called to be supportive, submissive, prayerful citizens of the nations in which we live. But are there exceptions? Are there times for civil disobedience? This week we are going back to our series in Acts called The Gospel on the Move. We are headed back to Acts 5. In the incident described, the Apostles were brought face-to-face with this conflict. How did they respond? What does this tell us what our response should be? I’d encourage you to read through the chapter to be reminded of the context. And come on Sunday to worship together. Why not invite someone along? Or call up someone you haven’t seen in a while?
The God Who Feels
Sun, Jul 31, 2016
Duration:40 mins
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalm 22:1-2 ESV) What does the ‘normal’ Christian life feel like? This summer, we have tried to address this question by exploring the Psalms. Seeing the joys, fears, pains, and hopes of the psalmists rewires our perspectives through faith. And it shows us that Christians don’t avoid the bad and amplify the good feelings, but places them in a context of the gospel. This week as we conclude the summer series, we want to not only review but show how each of the emotions we cover connects and points us to Christ. Together we will celebrate the Lord’s table and worship together. So plan to be there!
Despair
Sun, Jul 24, 2016
Duration:1 hr 1 min
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, (Psalm 88:3-4 ESV) Darkness, sadness, hopelessness, or depression - these heavy-hearted feelings go by several names. They have varying levels of severity and length. They can have discernible causes or no cause at all. Everyone has felt it at some level. How do we respond? Does the scripture ever express such a feeling? Does it provide any guidance or hope? This week in our series in the Psalms: Devotion and Emotion, we deal with the emotion of despair. I want to encourage you to read Psalm 88. One commentator called it the ‘darkest corner of the Psalms’. I so appreciate it’s honesty and crying rawness. Take a few minutes before Sunday to read and listen to this Psalmist's heart. I promise this week will not be a ‘take-two-verses and call me in the morning’ solution for depression. But, I believe it will provide some perspective and hope for us as we struggle in our dark moments. Plan to be there.
Shame
Sun, Jul 17, 2016
Duration:36 mins
You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples. (Psalm 44:13-14 ESV) To recall our memories is to often times rehearse our regrets and shame. We see our failures with greater clarity than our successes. Sometimes we hear from others that in order to be truly free we need to abandon shame and move forward. But is that the best? Is there something between wallowing in our shame and forgetting about our mistakes and sin? Could there be something redemptive in shame? This week, Kevin will be opening up Psalm 44 and dealing with the emotion of Shame. I encourage you to take some time before Sunday to read through this Psalm.
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