The Day the LORD Made
Sun, Jun 10, 2018
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. -- Psalm 118:22–24 (ESV) The Psalms are a curious mix of tears and cries of vengeance and beauty and devastation and hope and failure and longing. This week we are going to take a look at Psalm 118 in our series, Songs of A Savior. In it the Psalmist feels the press of his enemies and the need to retreat to the safety of the love of God. But will even this refuge fail him? Where can it be found? How do we get in? I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and read through this poignant Psalm. Mickey Counter will be opening it up to us, as I will be sharing with Shade Valley Church (an EFCA church) in Birmingham on Sunday.
Psalm 14
Sun, Jun 03, 2018
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. -- Psalm 14:1–2 (ESV) Fools are easy to point out and laugh at but harder to see, especially in the mirror. The Bible is brutally honest about the world around us and the struggle within us, but it also shows us the only refuge from them both. This week we are going to look at another Song of the Savior in Psalm 14. Kevin will be opening up this Psalm that looks at denial and rebellion. It points us to a sure, true, and strong refuge. Take a few minutes to read it through, and plan to join us at 10:30 on Sunday.
Beware the Son
Sun, May 27, 2018
hy do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” - Psalm 2:1–3 (ESV) Political instability, war on the horizon, the potential for devastation and an end to our way of life. Is this a description of our moment in history? Actually it could be used to talk about many times and ages. In many ages these words would be a more apt description than today. However, the world is a troubled place on an international, national, and personal level. This rebellion is not just nation against nation, but actually had deeper more spiritual roots. It will take a greater more powerful ruler then merely a human president or king. This week, we begin our summer series entitled Songs of a Savior. We will be looking through the Psalms, God's inspired songbook, to see the laments, praises, and songs of God's people. We will also see hints and clues to this one who will set the world right again.
From Theology to Life and Back Again - Part 2
Sun, May 20, 2018
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6–8 (ESV) Suffering, pain, and anxiety are a pressure cooker. In those times, days, and years we feel the weight of life. At times it can be hard to do anything. These moments bring many questions. Why? Has God forgotten about me? Does He care? Don't I deserve something better? Can't life be easy? How do I know He even loves me? When we have these questions and read scriptures like Romans 5:3 we wonder if Paul lived in the real world, but he wants us to know he does. He knows a God who loves deeply. This week he gives us reassurance of that through two important avenues. Take a few minutes and read through Romans 5:6-11 to prepare your heart and mind to worship together.
From Theology to Life and Back Again - Part 1
Fri, May 11, 2018
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. - Romans 5:1–2 (ESV) We often think of theology as an academic study disconnected from real life. Big books and ivory towers are what theologians use and where they live, but those of us that live in the real world we just want something we can do. We need a principle for Monday on Sunday. Paul won't let us disconnect theology from life. As we round the corner to Romans 5, he wants us to see how the doctrine of Justification by Faith comes into life and even into our troubles. Why don't you take a few minutes and read through Romans 5. Have you ever rejoiced in your sufferings? Come on Sunday and find out how that is even possible.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
Sun, May 06, 2018
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. - Luke 10:30 (ESV) One thing that amazes me about Jesus is his ability to see through all the smoke screens that people would put up especially religious people. Religious folk, like us, are great at using our faith as a shield to avoid love and action. The parable of the Good Samaritan is a great example of that kind of deflection. This week we have the privilege to have John Gerhardt with us. John is the director of Urban Impact ministry in NOLA. We have supported and ministered alongside John and the team there for many years. He will be opening up the word to this parable and he will be jumping in with the worship team. It should be a great morning!
The Nature of Faith
Sun, Apr 29, 2018
That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. - Romans 4:22–24 (ESV) Have you ever doubted your faith? What made you doubt? What did you do with those doubts? Have you ever talked about them? Often in the church we treat doubt with disapproving frown and even scold people for asking questions. Some think this is the right thing to do because we should have solid, sold-out faith. In fact the passage that we are going to look at in Romans this week seems to display Abraham as an example of unfaultering faith. But was he? Didn't he wonder and question? Didn't he even think he needed to help out God to fulfill his promises? So what do we do with that? Join us this week as we explore the nature of saving faith in Romans 4:17-25. Why not take a few minutes before Sunday to read though Romans 4?
Justification - A Case Study
Sun, Apr 22, 2018
And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, Romans 4:5 (ESV) Recently, I've had a little bit of "windshield time." During these drives I enjoy listening to podcasts especially those that explore a story. My most recent listen involved an experiment to understand the most complex issue involved in space travel, humans. This case study explored the interactions of six people simulating life on Mars for a full year by being sequestered to a living space no bigger then a two-car garage. Sound fun? These case studies provide data and allow researchers to develop general principles from specific incidents. This week we are going to look at a case study of Justification by Faith. In the text of Romans 4, Paul takes us out of the clouds. He displays how God worked out the principles, we have seen in Romans 3 in the life of Abraham, the father of faith. If the last few weeks have felt a bit 'ivory-tower' theologically-speaking, get ready for a some on-the-ground theology as we journey with a guy who struggled to understand and trust the promise. What does this tell us about justification? How can we see his faith? How does this help us live a life of faith? To prepare your heart and mind for Sunday, I'd encourage you to take some time and read through Romans 4 and why not invite a friend to join you?
Justification - Part 2
Sun, Apr 15, 2018
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, - Romans 3:22–24 (ESV) If I was born in a different age I think I would have been either a mad scientist or a crazy inventor. It is fun for me to figure out how things work, take them apart, and put them back together. (Usually, I can get them back together). There is a value in understanding how things work. Over the next few weeks that's exactly what we are going to do. Except we won't be taking apart an engine or clock but something more important, valuable, and eternal. As we continue through Romans we will be looking at how God provides salvation. How does it take sinners and enemies and make them righteous? How does it do this without violating His character? It's gonna be a beautiful exploration of God's work. You don't want to miss it.
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