Grace Under Fire
Sun, Aug 06, 2017
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. -- 2 Peter 2:1(ESV) ‘Heresy’ probably brings weird pictures to your mind. People being burned at the stake. Formal trials over ideas or doctrines. Arguments over things that seem antiquated or ridiculous. Those all probably feel buried somewhere in the dusty halls of history, so these verses may seem like an echo from a bygone time. However, Peter won’t allow us to relegate them to the past. He says false teachers have always threatened God’s revelation and will continue to be a threat. This week we head back into our study of 2 Peter. It’s been a while since we have looked at this book written by the key leader at the birth of the church. I’d encourage you to take a few minutes before Sunday and read back through chapter 1 & 2. Also, I want to encourage you to look around on Sunday. Maybe sit in a new spot. Meet someone new. Invite someone one to join you.
Parables on Prayer - Part 2
Sun, Jul 30, 2017
He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ -- Luke 18:2-3 (ESV) How high do your prayers go? Like day-old balloons they seem to float only as high as our energy and then sink again. When we feel this way repeatedly, we can be discouraged and wonder if it is even worth it to pray. It’s in these moments we need to learn from a needy woman and godless judge. Jesus tells us another confrontational and troubling tale about prayer in Luke 18. This week we will close our summer series on the Parables by taking a look at this last parable on prayer. It’s a story for those that are worn out and ready to quit, especially in prayer. We will also be pointed to the only Hope we have through a time of communion.
Parables on Prayer - Part 1
Sun, Jul 23, 2017
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. -- Luke 18:1 (ESV) ‘How’s your prayer life?’ It’s a question that turns discipleship groups silent and makes community groups find a rabbit trail faster then a hungry coyote. I’ve never met anyone that answered that question with a positive answer. We always feel we should pray more. We should pray with more consistency. We should pray longer. We should pray with less distraction. This Sunday we are going to look at prayer from the parables. I’ve been praying this examination would not be a time to walk away with our heads down in regret, but motivate us to approach a generous, available father. Will you join us?
Banquet for the Beggars
Sun, Jul 16, 2017
"When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just." -- Luke 14:12-14 (ESV) Have you signed up yet for "Dinners for 8" or have gone to one? Have you a dinner planned with invited guests this summer or will you be an invitee to one? Well, this next parable about a planned dinner may give you some "food for thought" for your next dinner conversation. Jim Maynard will unfold this dinner parable found in Luke 14:12-24 this Sunday. So before you hear it, read and think about this passage, maybe even before you eat your next meal. Hope to see you at Hope this Sunday, and bring someone with you.
Shrewdness is Scriptural
Sun, Jul 09, 2017
"The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings." -- Matthew 16:8-9(ESV) We have all admired those stories about less than pure characters using only their brains to turn an impossible situation back to their advantage. Movies like The Sting, Ocean 11, and The Italian Job are modern stories like that. Jesus in Luke 16 uses a parable similar to those stories in an unusual way that teaches us some godly truths centered around a surprising character. This week, Lynn Oakes will be unraveling this strange parable about a dishonest manager in the first 16 verses of Luke 16. We encourage you to take a look at this parable before Sunday. Hope to see you and your friends there.
God's Joy in Redeeming Sinners
Sun, Jul 02, 2017
". . . . , What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? . . . . , Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? . . . . , 'It was fitting to celebrate and be glad for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.' " -- Luke 15:1-32(ESV) Have you ever lost something really important to you and then found it again? Imagine those emotions when you realized you found it. This Sunday, Michael Bell will be sharing the parables of lost things from Luke 15 that should evoke similar emotions. We want to encourage you to take a look at this whole chapter in Luke before Sunday. Bring someone with you, maybe someone who has lost their way in life.
The Unforgiving Servant
Sun, Jun 25, 2017
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” -- Matthew 18:21(ESV) Scandalous. When we hear this word associated with church, we all cringe. Another story. Another fall. Another blight. But what if it wasn’t. What if scandalous didn’t refer to our sin but God’s grace? God’s grace is so big, so extravagant, so freely given that it has been referred to as scandalous. Often this scandal isn’t seen or felt when God’s grace is applied to us. (Because if we were really honest, we feel we deserve it). But when God’s grace is applied to someone else, especially those we think fail the most, we think of God’s grace as scandalous. This week, we look at a difficult and pointed parable called the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18. The ideas here apply to sinners and those in any relationship. So in other words, all of us. I’d encourage you to take a look at this parable before Sunday. Kevin will be opening up the word to us. Hope to see you there, and bring someone with you.
The Good Samaritan
Sun, Jun 18, 2017
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 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 10:29-30 (ESV) Who is your team? Until I moved to the south I would have answered this question with a casual nod to a NFL or MLB team. But on moving here, I was forced into a decision. I had to pick a side. If I didn’t, I would be considered an outsider, forever. But once I picked, people rooted for or against me. And to be honest it’s been a lot of fun. However, the problem with picking a team is that we end up making ‘enemies’. We all have others who we consider ‘those people’. How we think about and what we do with our enemies says much about us. Jesus tells us a story about them in Luke 10. I want to encourage you to not only read through this story but also to think about its context. In it, we find a sharp confrontation. This Sunday we will also will be sharing together in communion.
Pharisees and Sinners
Sun, Jun 11, 2017
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: Luke 18:9(ESV) Bell curves have generally been my friend. I did pretty well in school . But there were a few subjects that baffled me. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the teacher. One such subject was Physics. Our teacher, Mr. Rogers (seriously), had mantras that he would repeat, but explanation and application seemed to escape him. It was as if we would magically absorb the formulas and their applications merely by the multiplicity of the repetition. So when I received a 60ish score on an exam, I was in a bit of a shock. Until I learned he graded on a curve. And the top of the curve was 70! Grading on a curve is helpful - if you are on the top. But if you are on the bottom, it feels like an unscalable pit. How do you grade others? Do you give some a pass while looking down your nose at others? How do you grade yourself? Do you get a pass because you are aware of your thoughts, intentions, and actions? Jesus had something to say about how our righteous acts stack up to everyone else. This week, Kevin will be opening up the scripture to us in our series: Parables - Truth hidden in plain sight. I want to encourage you to read Matthew 18 to prepare for his teaching. And why not bring a friend with you. Also, make sure you are introducing yourself to the new friends God is bringing to Hope this season!
What are parables?
Sun, Jun 04, 2017
Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. Matthew 13:10-11(ESV) Some stories stick with you. Do you know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Or have you heard the one about the Little Red Hen? These childhood stories are cute but they are meant to teach greater lessons like persistence and hard work. Through the plot and characters of narratives like these, we come to learn valuable lessons. Jesus was a master at hiding truth in plain sight. He told stories to the masses. Some are easily and quickly grasped. Some have wholesome characters while others include unrighteous villains. But all of them contain spiritual truths about salvation, the kingdom, and on following Him. This summer we will explore these stories - the Parables. Join us as we seek to discover truths hidden in plain sight this Sunday at 10:30!
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