Christmas is the celebration of the coming of King, and it is the Good News that makes the entire universe celebrate with praise! Not the Christmas with our cultural trappings, but the Christmas that brings us into the presence of God, and the promise of Justice, Equity, Goodness, and Peace! Merry Christmas!
Waiting for Jesus to Come…Again
Advent, the beginning of the Christian calendar and the season of preparation for Christmas. We join the church around the world and throughout history who have celebrated this season of anticipation of Jesus’ birth. But we don’t just celebrate the coming of Jesus at Christmas, we gather as the people of God waiting for his coming again to make all things new.
As the people of God we are waiting for Jesus’ return, and we are commanded to be on guard and watch for his coming! How are we living lives that make us ready for the coming of the Lord on that day?
The proclamation of the good news calls for us to make a two part response to Jesus. We are called to repent (to agree with God about life) and to believe (to live according to who Jesus is as Lord). How can we lay down our lives to follow Jesus faithfully?
Mary received the good news announcement that her baby would bring deliverance to God’s people and hope to the world, and with the ancient words of Israel’s prophets in her mind she was able too see a world where the dead were raised, the sick were healed, and the poor were blessed. Can we see with Mary the work of God in our world today?
Our Dreams can shape our lives, and they often dictate our areas of focus. Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of so many dreams of the past, and yet required Joseph and others to dream differently. What dreams are we called to live into with Jesus?
Joy and gratitude are postures of the heart that are central to Christian living. But how to do we live in joyful thankfulness when life happens and we don’t feel happy or thankful for what we’re experience? Paul encourages the church in the book of Colossians to anchor ourselves in something deeper than our circumstances, and thereby leading us to be able to experience our emotions honestly while finding space in Christ to be joyfully thankful above all else.
Stories of Healing & Hope
After a contentious election that has left the United States rather divided and unsure how to move forward, Pastor Debbie Vickers offers some words about how to move forward as the people of God.
The Book of Revelation
No book of the Bible causes more confusion, and even often fear, as the book of Revelation. For readers 2000 years removed from the time of its writing, the vivid and complex imagery leaves us scratching our heads to make sense of what God is saying to his people. Difficult as it may be, if we understand the library of images that are being used in this book, it is possible to hear a message that is, in fact, very important for the people of God today, and any day as we seek to live faithfully in the world.
No other book in the Bible raises more questions or seems more difficult to understand than the Book of Revelation. To start our series we consider what it means to say that the book is an Apocalypse, and how that helps us make sense of what is being said.
John starts out by address his letter and vision to seven churches of his day. These letters contain important messages from Jesus that are meant to be shared with the church throughout the years. Let’s hear what the letters say to the churches.
There are few chapters in all the Bible that are so packed with the beauty, the majesty, and the love of God more than Revelation 4-5. This week we take a look at the throne room of Heaven with John to get a glimpse behind the curtain at who God is, what it means to worship him, and how through Jesus God is enacting his will in the world.
John’s vision really kicks into high gear at chapter 6, and it’s here that so many interpretations launch off in a million directions. This week we’ll look at the seven seals that the Lamb breaks open to unfold the purposes and plan of God in the world, and consider our call to be faithful in the midst of the supposed “good news” of the world.
At the very center of the book of Revelation sits an image of God’s greatest victory won in Jesus. It’s not only our great hope, but it’s the victory that accomplishes what all of the would-be stories of Good News only seem to parody.
Throughout the book of Revelation, God has judged the promises of the powers of this world and have found them to be false. But what will He do about it, and where are Christians to put our hope when the world we live in is telling us that our hope should be found in the powers and principalities? The glorious end of the book of Revelation calls us to trust us not in our own might, or the culture of our day, or even in the leaders of this world, but to find our hope in Jesus whose Kingdom shall have no end.
Reading the B.I.B.L.E.
One of the central elements to the Christian faith is the Biblical text. It points us to Jesus and helps us to understand God, ourselves, and the world in which we live. In anticipation of our series on the book of Revelation, we’re going to spend time looking at helpful ways for reading and making sense of the biblical text.
As we consider approaches to reading the Bible that will help us better understand the text and grow in faith, we return to the notion that Old Testament or New, Jesus is the Subject of the Bible. The Word of God in text is always meant to point us to the Word of God in flesh.
The Bible is a unique book, not only in the way we approach it, but because of the nature of being a book that is a collection of books. Spanning over hundreds of years and written by a variety of authors, the variety of voices in the Bible can make reading it a challenge. Asking the question, “What kind of book is this?” will help us step closer to understanding what God is saying.
When we think about reading the Bible we often imagine reading it alone. The Bible, however, is made up of texts meant to be read by a community of believers, and this week we talk about the importance of gathering together to read the Bible and hear from God.
Prayerfully studying Scripture is important to cultivating and deepening our relationship. This week Tom Minor shared key tips and suggestions for studying the Bible in our day to day life.
Stories of Healing & Hope
This week we look at two interwoven stories about how Jesus provides healing and hope to those who will trust in him. These stories show us a picture of Jesus who not only meets our immediate needs, but restores us to wholeness as people.
I Look To The Hills…
In this one off sermon, we consider where our help comes from as Christians. Do we look to the powers and the solutions of our time, or to the God who makes the universe and loves us like his children?
Following God in the Wilderness
There are seasons in our lives, as individuals and as communities, where we find ourselves traveling through the wilderness. What do we make of these times? Are they times of punishment or training? Are we to stay there or push through. As we navigate our own wilderness journey, we will examine what it means to be faithful through to the other side, and how we trust in God in the process.
Though we may find ourselves mourning in the wilderness, it is important to note that often times it is because we have experienced a mighty act of God’s deliverance. In the wake of shootings and racial unrest in the United States, we look to God’s act of deliverance in Egypt to recognize the impact of fear, power, and violence, and the need to respond in love, humility, and sacrifice as we walk through the wilderness of a world not yet fully reconciled in Jesus.
Following God INTO the wilderness is an act of faith. It will often look like we’re lost or confused, but in the midst of the struggle, we can still trust on God to lead us toward goodness.
When traveling through the wilderness with God, it’s easy to get wonder if God is even there at all. When that happens fear and doubt can creep in and make us wonder how we’ll make it to where we’re going. The good news is that Jesus, the bread from heaven, is with us.
As we journey through the wilderness it’s important to remember that we do it together. We look at how Moses relied on others for the journey, and how God’s equipped his church to share the burden of traveling together with one another.
Traveling through the wilderness is difficult, but what about when God calls his people to stop in the midst of the travel? This week we look at the important things that happen when God says, “Stop!”
The Big Gospel and the Church
The Good News of the Kingdom of God has come in Jesus, and it is exactly the sort of news that people need to hear in all times and all places. Today, however, we tend to focus on one small area of God’s good work, personal salvation for the individual believer. While that’s part of the Good News, there’s a lot more to it. This series will explore how the Big Gospel shapes who we are and what we do as the people of God.
Foundational to the Good News that the church lives and proclaims is the acknowledgement that God is love. Not only that, but God loves everything he’s made, which is very good news indeed. We begin this series by looking at God’s love and how it shapes us and the way we live as his church.
What is central to the good news? The work of Jesus’ death on the cross and the good news that he rose from the dead again. This week we look at how this works in story of the bible and how it’s good news for our lives.
What is broken in the world? How about in our lives or our neighborhoods, or even in ourselves? The good news of Jesus isn’t just about getting our individual spiritual lives in order. This week the Big Gospel begins to reveal the extent to which God is going to bring life and flourishing to his creation that he loves.
The church’s historic declaration of the gospel is the statement, “Jesus is Lord,” and it is this statement that we look at this week to complete our journey around the outer stations of the Big Gospel. How does the good news that Jesus is Lord change how we relate to a loving God?
The Good News of God’s work in the world invites us into a hope for an eternal life in his new creation. The most amazing part? By filling his people with His very Spirit that new creation life begins now!
The first of (what became) a two-part series finally on the Big Gospel, we run through all five parts of the Big Gospel and look at the commands, the gifts, and the practices that grow out of the good news of the Kingdom of God come in Jesus. This sermon will set up next week’s sermon, The Implications of Our Tiny Gospels.
The gospel is the big, good news announcement about what God is doing in the world through Jesus, and how we can experience it by the power of the Holy Spirit. But what happens when we leave out part of the gospel? What happens to our expression of faith, and our living out our lives?
Jesus’ Ascension and the day of Pentecost are two of the most significant, though often overlooked days in the church’s calendar. They stand as the pinnacle of Jesus’ mission in the world and the birthday of the church. For these two weeks we will focus on their importance for our faithfulness before God.
When the church in Ephesus was facing a Hope Crisis, Paul wrote to them about their hope in Jesus who has been raised not only from the dead but to the right hand of God. How can we look to the ascension as a source of hope as God’s people in the world?
From the beginning of the church God has worked among his people in powerful ways. What did it look like when God’s Spirit was poured out on his people in the church’s beginning? What has it looked like in the lives of Christians in our own culture? What might it look like in coming days?
What Sort of World is This?
Easter Sunday breaks in and the dawn of a new world is upon us. Jesus’ resurrection is the pivot point of human history, but it’s the most unexpected way for God to work. During the season of Easter we will explore the question, “If Jesus has been raised from the dead, then what sort of world is this?” How is God at work through this miraculous event, and how should we live as resurrection people.
The women, the only ones faithful to the end, come to the tomb early in the morning, believe all their hopes had been dashed, only to find that Jesus is gone and these mysterious men are proclaiming him alive. They are perplexed, Peter is perplexed, and we are left with the realization that the perhaps world is not what we thought it was.
When Jesus appears to his disciples on Easter night, their world is changed. By seeing Jesus raised from the dead, and when they receive the Holy Spirit, they become people who see the world as it is, a world where Jesus is Lord. This transformation has all sorts of ramifications for their witness in the world as people of the Kingdom of God.
In a world where Jesus is Risen and Jesus is Lord we find radical reconciliation lived out among God’s people, because we have been forgiven and reconciled to God Himself.
*Please forgive the poor audio quality. We had a buzz in the system and this is the best we could manage today.
Looking back over the life of Jesus in light of the resurrection, we find Jesus claiming to be the “good shepherd.” How does this title point to his identity at Messiah and the Son of God? This Sunday we look at how Jesus’ Messiahship is different than those who came before him, and the difference is what secures salvation forever.
Jesus gave his disciples a new command to love one another. When we do this we become a community of people living at witnesses to God’s work to make all things new, and to unite heaven and earth in the end.
Noel Lewis shared a great sermon wrapping up this series…that’s been lost. You can read his manuscript at the link above.
As the season of Lent begins, and we are preparing for the coming celebration of Easter, we are following Jesus on his journey from Galilee to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We will listen to Jesus as he teaches and watch what he does so that as we travel we can better follow Jesus in the Kingdom that he says is coming.
Who is this Jesus? We’re spending the season of Epiphany to be introduced to Jesus again. Primarily looking at the book of Luke, we find stories of the early days of Jesus’ life and ministry, and these stories set the stage for how we see Jesus as we follow him.