Death Over Dinner With Jesus
Sun, Apr 21, 2019
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. - Hebrews 2:9 (ESV) We are all inexperienced when it comes to death, but it will be a reality for everyone. Yet we avoid thinking or talking about it, but it is something everyone must face. On Easter we celebrate One who has tasted death and won. This unique event changes our perspective and our eternity when we consider our own mortality. This Sunday we come together, as we do every Sunday, to look toward this One, namely Jesus. We will see how the resurrection opens a way through grace for us. Take a few minutes to read through Hebrews 2 to prepare your heart and mind.
A Different King for a Different Kingdom
Sun, Apr 14, 2019
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Matthew 20:25–28 (ESV) The murmurs began to rise out of the growing crowd. They daily felt the oppression of the current regime, but it had never extinguished the hope that lingered from long ago. They had heard from the parents and grandparents that one day a king would arise. He would step into his rightful place and all would be set right. As they saw a figure grow over the horizon they wondered if all those hopes would meet reality. They had heard rumors he had been visited in childhood by mysterious men seeking a king. Some had heard him speak of a kingdom. Others had seen him command a crowd with his teaching. There had been others who sought to grab the throne, but none lasted. This felt different. In a moment the whispers broke out from their hushed undertones to outright declarations. 'Hosanna' someone in the back declared, and with that the flood was unleashed. This Sunday we celebrate Palm Sunday. It begins our Passion Week celebration and it reminds us of the rightful place of Jesus as King. This king and his kingdom would not be like anyone expected. Join as we explore the King and His Kingdom.
Gospel Love For The Unlovely
Sun, Apr 07, 2019
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:19–21 (ESV) Let's just be honest. We have all had those thoughts. There is a list in our head of our enemies. Usually they aren't someone far away or in a different country under a different flag, but they are people near us. They have a different outlook. They have harmed us. They have angered or wronged us. We even have a new term for some of these people - 'frenemies'. They might be in your office, in your neighborhood, or even in your own home. Now we don't want to see them harmed physically, but we do want them to get their 'just desserts'. If that happens maybe they would learn. We think that would give us a sense of justice. However, the gospel subverts this idea. This week we continue our journey through Romans 12. The gospel changes the way we love, not just the people that love us, but even our enemies (and frenemies). Take some time to read through Romans 12. I want to challenge you to write down a few names of people that came to your mind in the previous paragraph. Come ready to consider what God wants to do in you in this passage.
Gospel Love For The Beloved
Sun, Mar 31, 2019
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. - Romans 12:9–13 (ESV) Love should be easy. Right? It's a simple feeling and it should come naturally to us. Right? That is what we hear in songs and speeches and movies. 'If we could all just love each other things would work out.' Right? I don't think it's that simple. Love, real love, is not our natural inclination. We love those that love us. When there is conflict, when we don't feel like it, or when we just aren't feeling it, love seems to evaporate. We are left feeling like we didn't get what we deserve, and we are ready to find revenge instead of love. The Gospel reorganizes (actually resurrects) our hearts with real love both for God and for others. In this passage of Romans 12, Paul exposes the practical implications of the gospel by giving us a piece of the Law of Love. Take a few few minutes to read through Romans 12. Also, be praying for who you can invite for our passion week events coming up soon. Our invitations were held up in production so they won't make it here till Monday. They will be available next week to take, and don't forget to check out the rest of the email with upcoming events and info of what is going on around Hope.
Gospel Gifts
Sun, Mar 24, 2019
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. - Romans 12:4–5 (ESV) Internet quizzes are weird. I've never really wanted to know what 'character from Star Wars' I am, or how my pronunciation identifies my background, or what vegetable matches my personality. If there was one that helped me identify what part of the body of Christ I am, I might take it. However, I fear it might finally verify that I'm a nose hair or meniscus (whatever that is). One of the reoccurring pictures in the New Testament for the church is the body. It's independent, yet dependent connections make it the perfect illustration to show we are put together as God's people. This week Paul is going to point us back to that idea. It will remind us of our need for humility and dependence as we continue to grow. Take a few minutes to read through Romans 12 to prepare your heart and mind for these truths. We will have the chance to celebrate communion together as an act of corporate worship. Plan to join us and bring someone along. See you at 10:30.
From Theology to Practice
Sun, Mar 17, 2019
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:1–2 (ESV) A lot of us are pretty squeamish when it comes to blood. It freaks us out. Some of us even faint at the sight of it. I'm not sure how devoted we would be if we lived in Old Testament times. Ancient Judaism was a bloody religion. Worship was filled with sacrifices, most of which involved death at the hands of the priest or worshiper. Taking life and identifying with death was essential to spiritual life. As Paul turns the corner from explaining the gospel in chapters 1-11, he wants to lay out some specific implications of this new life in Christ. He begins with a 'reasonable' response - sacrifice. This sacrifice is bloodless. In fact, it's not even dead. This week begins a new section in Romans - chapter 12 which I've entitled 'Together'. Romans 12-15 will challenge us to not only know the truth of the gospel, but to walk out this new way as the gospel stays within earshot. Take some time between now and Sunday to prepare you heart and mind by reading through Romans 12 and encourage someone to come along with you.
From Theology to Doxology
Sun, Mar 10, 2019
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. - Romans 11:33–36 (ESV) Did you grow up singing the Doxology in church? If you didn't (and want to figure out what I'm talking about) or if you want to hear a beautiful version check out this video. Doxology is simply a formula for praising God and often times doxologies are appended on the end of songs or passages. They are a reflection of truth that has been revealed about God. As we close out Romans 11, Paul busts out in song. Some people think this is an early Christian hymn. He is looking back on Romans 1-11 and is so saturated and overwhelmed with God's work in salvation, he can't help but sing. This week we take a look at his doxology. Will you take some time to read through Romans 9-11 again. Do it slowly and think about what God has done and will do. Maybe even flip through Roman 1-11, then come ready to worship together at 10:30 this Sunday.
The Future and Fate of Israel - Part 3
Sun, Mar 03, 2019
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob” - Romans 11:25–26 (ESV) Do you love a good mystery? Maybe when you think about mysteries your favorite detective character comes to mind. Maybe when you think of mystery you think of some event or place that has secrets like the pyramids. When we think of mystery in the Biblical text, it's not about a secret or 'who done it', but about a truth or idea that was once hidden but now has been revealed. God doesn't tell us everything all at once. He progressively reveals truth including Christ. As we close out Romans 9-11, Paul talks about a mystery that involves the fate and future of ethnic Israel. He has a heart to see his brothers come to faith and mystery involves their future and salvation. Take a few minutes to read through the text to prepare your heart and mind to worship together.
The Future and Fate of Israel - Part 2
Sun, Feb 24, 2019
So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! - Romans 11:11–12 (ESV) Have you ever seen one of those pictures that is made up of a bunch of miniature pictures. Each smaller picture makes up a pixel of the larger image. Depending on what medium you are viewing it in, you can zoom in and out. The big picture is made up of all these little pictures. This make me think about the way I often think about God's sovereignty in my life. I'm concerned personally and selfishly for things to go well for me. I want the 'all things' in Roman 8:28 to work out to my advantage, peace, and comfort. I don't think I'm that unusual, but in many ways we are concerned about the little picture. We are concerned about the outcome and effect of God's plan only so much as it intersects with me. When we back up we find out there is a much BIGGER picture that is being painted. It's one we can't always see or comprehend. It's one that at times feels uncomfortable. This week in Romans 11 we are going to pull back the lens. We are going to see how the hardening of Israel intersects with us. God gives us a chance to see the larger picture. In doing so I'm praying we gain a greater love and trust that He knows the beginning from the end even when it's totally beyond our view. Take a few minutes to read back through Romans 11. Slow down and focus on verses 11-24 as you read. Do you see the BIGGER picture? We will also be celebrating God's plan of redemption through communion, so come ready to worship together at 10:30. Will you reach out to someone right now to encourage them to join you?
The Future and Fate of Israel - Part 1
Sun, Feb 17, 2019
So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. - Romans 11:5–6 (ESV) Do you trust the promises of God? Do you ever fear that you might do something to screw up God's gifts to you? Maybe, He might renege. Maybe I'll cross a line from which there is no return. Maybe God will finally get fed up with my disloyalty and find someone better. Have you had any of these thoughts? I have. Looking at the people of Israel in the Old Testament we see a group of people exactly like us - disloyal and fickle. While there were times of return and repentance it seems like the overall trend was downward away from God. As we get to New Testament times and even until?today it seems like God has left them behind. In our text for the coming weeks, Romans 11, Paul clarifies the present and future of the nation. He does this not to just fill us in but to provide confidence in the promises and character of our God. Will you take some time to read through Romans 11 before Sunday?
Powered by: truthengaged