Hope in 2018 and Beyond
Sun, Dec 02, 2018
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. - Acts 20:26–28 (ESV) How many churches did you pass in your travel yesterday or today? I bet for most of us we would have a hard time counting or remembering. In some places they seem to be around every corner with different names and stripes of Christianity. That wasn't the case in the early years of Christianity. One city meant one church. It meant one mission - the spread of the gospel and the encouragement of the faith. This week we want to pause and think about our place and our mission in God's greater story. This Sunday we will take a look back at 2018 to see what God has done in and through Hope Church. We will consider what God wants us to be about as a church and how we desire to step toward those goals in 2019.
A Sure Hope in a World of Suffering
Sun, Nov 11, 2018
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. - Romans 8:18–19 (ESV) One of the biggest obstacles for many when considering Christianity is the pain and suffering that we see around us. Globally we see and read about famines, wars, or worse. But most of us identify with this painful world in much more personal ways. Our lives seem like a trail of suffering and pain punctuated with only brief, fleeting moments of joy. So when Christians describe God as good and filled with love for us, I can understand the discontinuity this presents. This week Paul addresses not only our personal distress but the global pain. And in fact, in one aspect he points to God as the cause of this futility. But it is meaningless. Take a few minutes to read through Romans 8. Slow down and focus on the last half (Romans 8:18-39). And join us this Sunday as we unpack it.
From Debtor to Son to Heir
Sun, Nov 04, 2018
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. - Romans 8:15–17 (ESV) Adoption is a concept that is personal to me. I'm a second generation product of adoption. My mother was adopted. I can't imagine what her life would have been like without the kindness, love, and sacrifices my grandparents made. When Paul writes that the Spirit confirms our position with God by bringing us through adoption it comes with some added personal significance. As he says in this passage, it not only changes who you are and how you relate to God, but also how you respond to Him. I hope you plan to join us on Sunday as we continue to unfold this amazing chapter of Romans 8.
Mission Sunday
Sun, Oct 28, 2018
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” - Matthew 11:19 (ESV) It's instructive to me the people that Jesus counted as friends. They were a motley crew. Most of the religious people didn't want to be associated with them. They were from the bad parts of town and had major problems. But Jesus called them friends. In contrast, we often see 'those people' as folks who need our help. We 'do ministry' to them and for them but not often alongside them. If we aren't careful they are projects not friends. That's one reason why I'm excited about the way God has been weaving Hope together with the ministry of the Downtown Rescue Mission. In this tapestry of ministry the 'us & them' is disappearing as we are just the church. This week we are excited to have our friends share with us more about what God is doing at DRM. Some will come and lead worship. Some will share testimonies. And Kevin and Mickey will teach us about God's plan in the midst of it all. I hope you plan to be there and hear more.
No Condemnation - Part 2
Sun, Oct 21, 2018
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. - Romans 8:9–10 (ESV) Most Christians don't really know what to do with the Holy Spirit. We believe that the supernatural exists, but most of the time we sequester this supernatural to the spectacular (or spooky) either in the pursuit or denial of it. The work of the Spirit is greater and more regular then we realize. This week we continue through Romans 8 and we will begin to see how the Spirit is involved in our salvation from the very beginning. Take some time this week to read through Romans 8 again looking for the Spirit's work and the security He provides.
No Condemnation - Part 1
Sun, Oct 14, 2018
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. - Romans 8:1–2 (ESV) In chapter 7 of Romans, we are exposed to the personal and universal struggle of every Christian with sin. While the war is over and Christ has defeated Satan, sin, and death, there is still a battle that rages in every Christian. And while the chapter ends with a triumphant note, we may want to hear more of that song. Enter Romans 8. In this chapter, Paul will go on to tell us about the new connection and power that every Christian possesses. And how the third person of the Triune God is involved with you, personally. This chapter has been called one of the greatest in the Bible. And an encouraging assurance to what God has accomplished through Christ and applied by the Spirit to us. Take a few minutes to read through it before Sunday. And come ready to worship together. Also, don't stop reading here. Check out the rest of what is going on around Hope.
Law and Gospel - The Law for the Redeemed
Fri, Oct 05, 2018
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. - Romans 7:21–23 (ESV) I believe that God's word is completely true. God doesn't lie. However, if I'm honest, there are passages that I read that just don't match up with my experience or my feelings. When Paul says Romans 6 that I'm 'dead to sin' my skepticism grows. Am I really? When he says 'I'm no longer a slave to sin but righteousness' that's not what it feels like in the struggle to do right. Do you feel like me? This week we get to a passage that will probably ring more true in your experience. In Romans 7, Paul gets personal. Some might even say too personal. He opens up about his own struggle as one trusting in Christ but living in this fallen world. Take a few minutes and read the last half of Romans 7, starting in verse 13. Can you relate to Paul? Come hear how this helps us to reconcile what we were, where we are going, and the struggle in between.
Law and Gospel - The Law for the Lawless
Sun, Sep 30, 2018
But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. - Romans 7:8–10 (ESV) We are confused about what part God's law is to play in our personal and public lives. One example that has caused controversy especially in Alabama is the posting of the 10 Commandments. These clear unshifting delineations of God's standards stand in contrast to our moral fluidity of our culture. No matter how you feel about their public display, there is a great question to us to ask. 'Do these laws make anybody better?' If we just follow these laws we will be good with God and God will be good with us, right? This week we take another look at Romans 7. This time we look at Paul's explanation and place of the law in our lives. He already told us that because of Christ we are free from the law. Does that mean we don't need it? His answer may surprise you. Take a few minutes to re-read Romans 7 and come with your heart and mind ready to worship, learn, and fellowship on Sunday.
Law and Gospel - The Law for the Legalist
Sun, Sep 23, 2018
Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. - Romans 7:4 (ESV) Christians think of themselves as 'law & order' folks. Not the show as much as the attitude. Generally, politically we are for an active civil government that legislates and enforces order. We are positive about the police and we see the system set up as generally just. Anarchy is something to be feared and stopped. So when we come to Romans 7, you might be taken back because Paul's descriptions of the law aren't very positive. He's not talking about man's laws or governmental justice, but God's law. In fact this law doesn't prevent sin but promotes it. This week we head into this critical chapter in Romans. It's a chapter that brings with it a lot of debate. But also one that I think resonates deeply in the heart of every sinner-saint.
Slaves of God
Sun, Sep 16, 2018
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. - Romans 6:16–18 (ESV) One of Martin Luther's most notable quotes is 'Love God and sin boldly.' This has been used from several corners to accuse him of blatant disregard for God's commands. After all he was a nun-marrying, nail-driving monk with a mallet. When you hear someone talk about God's overwhelming grace, how do you respond? Do you hope that there is some balance given to our obligation? If it doesn't come do you feel a need to fill it in? This week we will continue studying the relationship of God's saving work and our obedience. Last week we learned the vital role that our union with Christ plays. This week we look at a similar question from a different vantage point. If we talk about grace too much, won't it unleash people to sin? Read through Romans 6:15-23 to see Paul's answer.
Powered by: truthengaged