Understanding God's Grace
Sun, Nov 17, 2013
Duration:41 mins
Understanding God's Wrath
Sun, Nov 10, 2013
Duration:46 mins
Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. (Joel 1:2-3, ESV) We are confused about what God is like. We tend to split him down into parts. And to be honest, there are some parts about him that at best confuse us, or at worst, offend us. We like to think of God in all the most pleasant ways. But when we read through the scriptures, we bump against descriptions and actions of God that don't fit neatly in our categories. Often times, we would rather not think about those attributes of God because they are unpleasant and are the fodder for angry, backwoods preachers. But they are there in scripture. So what do we do? Over the next two weeks, we are going to wrestle with who God is by looking at the small, minor prophet book of Joel. This book describes God and his actions in judgment. But, in the midst of it, we also find that God's judgment not only describes him but shows other angles of him as well. Kevin Mays will be taking this time to breakdown this book. I want to encourage you to read through Joel several times over the coming weeks so that as Kevin explains and teaches the passages, you will be familiar with the text.
Relating to Another in Hope
Sun, Nov 03, 2013
Duration:50 mins
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9, ESV) We all know the "Golden Rule," right? Treat others the way you want to be treated. We expect kindness in exchange for kindness. We expect our gestures of good will to be returned. But what happens when they aren't? What happens when they are met with disdain and disgust? How will we respond? If you have felt left out the last two weeks because you are not a servant (everyone is by the way) or a spouse, then this week is for you. Peter turns his attention to everyone. He wants us to examine how we respond to people within and outside the church, and especially those that are adversarial to the faith. If you have trouble "loving your enemies" (and we all do), then this week is for you. Take some time to read through the remainder of 1 Peter 3 to get a preview of this coming week. Then, I want to challenge you to write down and bring with you the names of a few people that you consider your enemies.
Marriages of Hope
Sun, Oct 27, 2013
Duration:57 mins
Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands . . . Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:1-7, ESV) Throughout the book of 1 Peter, Peter has been connecting our living hope, Christ, to our lives. He has helped us understand how this hope causes us to suffer well. He has helped us see how our security in Christ gives us hope in any circumstance. But now, he gets personal. It would seem a huge oversight if he didn't help us understand how this grand hope related to the most intimate of our earthly relationships, marriage. In the opening of chapter 3, he turns to husbands and wives to point them toward Christ. I want to challenge couples to not only be there on Sunday but also be prepared to hear (and not poke your significant other). As I look at our community and our church, one of the major battlegrounds is our marriages. I believe that Christ wants to bring His living hope into our homes. Will you take some time between now and Sunday to slowly read through chapter 3. Ask yourself, "What would it look like for me to take one step forward with this truth in mind?'" Then come on Sunday ready to receive and worship together.
Hope in Injustice
Sun, Oct 20, 2013
Duration:41 mins
For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:20-21, ESV) "That's not FAIR!'"she screamed, as she stomped with her arms-crossed and tense body out of the room. "Well, sorry. But life ain't fair. Get over it." Dad said with sarcastic resolve in his voice. It was a conversation that was rewound and replayed hundreds of times in their household. She believed that fair meant everything and everyone would play by the same rules and get the same outcome. He believed that fair just meant fair. This would be an argument that they would both perpetually lose and always be on different sides of the aisle. We all want to be treated fairly. But the reality of life is--disparity will happen. Sometimes it comes with malicious intent. Other times, it happens out of sheer ignorance. Regardless, when it happens, how will we respond? In this text, Peter addresses the house servants of his day. We could easily overlook this passage as penned for another time and place. But, I believe that we would miss some of his heart for us. Here he lays down a mentality, as well as the power to live in those moments of disparity, that not only endures but elucidates the gospel. Take some time to read through 1 Peter 2 before Sunday. Think of a time that you were treated unfairly. How did you respond to the situation? How did you respond to the person? Then, come with your heart ready to worship, receive, and take. In light of this passage, we will be celebrating communion together. Plan to be there.
People of Hope in a Foreign Land
Sun, Oct 13, 2013
Duration:48 mins
Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. (1 Peter 2:13-14, ESV) The rules of polite company say, if you want to make friends and influence people, don't ever talk about religion and politics. Well, this Sunday, I guess I'm shooting to lose friends and destroy my influence because we are going to talk about both. In today's political environment, it is an intensely practical and confrontational time to examine this passage. But, this is where we have landed. So here we go . . . I want to encourage you to do two things before Sunday. First, take some time to slowly read 1 Peter 2. Second, take some time to pray for our political leaders of all stripes and convictions during this time.
A People of Hope
Sun, Oct 06, 2013
Duration:36 mins
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5, ESV) Imagine that you were separated from everything you knew. Gone were friends, family, and familiar surroundings. You would wonder where to find stability and support. You would fear difficulties, wondering if anyone would know or care. I think this is often the reason that, when people immigrate from one country to another, they tend to find people of their own ethnicity to live and work around, for some sense of familiarity and family. In 1 Peter, we are called a people without a country. We are exiles and strangers to this world. Gone is the familiar, replaced with foreign. But God says you are not alone. In fact, not only are you not alone, but you have been called into a new people. A people built with a purpose and plan. This week we will see the People of Hope as we explore 1 Peter 2. Take some time to read through this chapter and pick out all the different titles used to identify God's people. And this Sunday, Kevin will be opening this section of scripture to us.
The Word of Hope
Sun, Sep 29, 2013
Duration:49 mins
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; (1 Peter 1:22-23, ESV) Grace and truth sometimes seem like oil and water. While they can be in the same container, they don't mix. People tend to gravitate toward one or the other. There are "truth people" who deliver truth conviction no matter the consequences. You probably have run up against them when you said something in your community group that was outside of their theological box. Without warning, a cruise missile of truth is launched into the conversation. But there are also the "grace people." We all know these people because we feel pleasantly warm around them. They ooze with love and kindness. Whatever you say or do seems to be met with a smile. You might even say something to see if it's possible to offend them. It's not. What are we supposed to be? Do they both exist in the church as some divine balancing act? In this passage, Peter wants us to understand that the message of Hope produces people of a different stripe. Take some time to read through 1 Peter 1 & 2. And ask yourself, "Where do I tend to land? Grace or truth? Why?" Then come ready to worship together on Sunday. Also, we will be celebrating communion together. And we are going to show a brief recap video before and after the service of last week's women's retreat. Get there a few minutes early to take a look.
Becoming What We Already Are
Sun, Sep 22, 2013
Duration:52 mins
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13, ESV) Identity leads to action. Or as someone else put it, when we get who we are, it moves us to become what we have been declared. This week, we are going to see both sides of that reality. As we continue in our series Living in Hope, we will explore more of our privileged place in history, and salvation. But we can't just stay there. There is a call to action. Take some time to read through the first couple of chapters of 1 Peter to prepare your hearts and minds for worship.
Clarity in Suffering
Sun, Sep 15, 2013
Duration:45 mins
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3, ESV) Mister Magoo and I have a lot in common. Without my glasses or contacts, I'm lost. The world is a blurry mess. It's no wonder that my first action of every day is to reach for my glasses. And suddenly, the world is crystal clear again. Trials, difficulties, and struggles tend to blur our vision. We are unable to see beyond the moment. And, we can easily become lost in the struggle. Peter wants to give his readers a prescription for clarity. He wants them to have clear vision of the 'now' while giving them a clear picture of their past and their future. This week we will begin to explore 1 Peter as we continue our series, Living In Hope. I encourage you to read through the first chapter or two to prepare your heart and mind to come together. Also, consider who you might invite to come along on this journey. This weekend also will be a time to thank God for the new life he has brought into our body through several new additions. You won't want to miss it.
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