John 14: 15-31
The early Church was rife with theological controversy. They were working out the meaning of the Trinity, the nature of Christ incarnate, and what it meant to be “Born Again.” One of the big hurdles of the early church was to reconcile what the Bible meant when it described us as “Sons and Daughters of God.” Did that mean we were divine? Did it mean that we lost our humanity? Their struggle was the result of deep reading in books like John, Ephesians and Romans, where we are told that our conversion to Christ, somehow elevates us beyond mere creatures of God to sons and daughters of the Creator of the Cosmos. In Christ, God makes it possible for man to “shed his skin” of sin and to be elevated to a state of divinity- but still in the skin of our human bodies. This week, we will look at the chemistry of the Christian who has been born of the Spirit.
There is an urban legend that travels amidst story tellers and preachers of an old indian chief once left his reservation to visit the city. As he walked down a sidewalk with his urban guide, he suddenly stopped. And there, among the cars and people and all of the noises that cities bring, he said, “Do you hear it?” The guide was perplexed. The chief then bent down, and then leaning low to the ground, he pointed to a wide crack in the base of the sidewalk, and said, “There is a cricket creaking.” The story is meant to show the contrast between the ears of those who spend their time in quiet places and those surrounded by many distractions. This week, we will learn about what Jesus hears, feels, and is sensitive to, as we explore the story of Jesus and the woman with the issue of blood.
There are no end to the stories in literature and film and everyday life of protagonists who take the blame for others in order to protect them, defend them and to rescue them. From Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities to the Hunger Games we see this reality in fiction and film. And, in everyday life we see it in parents quietly sacrificing for their kids in order for them to thrive and in friends that act sacrificially for another’s benefit. Whenever we love, we will see a price paid. And, whenever a price is paid in the name of love, we will face opposition from the forces of darkness in this world. As CS Lewis rightly observes, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.” In John 7, Jesus faces opposition at home, from his own family, because he loves them. And, his love costs. Join us as we see the beauty and trepidation that accompany being a person who stands up for this world.
Before the founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, was converted to Christianity, he worked as a missionary to Georgia. Without Christ, his mission ended in failure. Wesley returned to England deflated and confused. Crossing the Atlantic, the boat in which he traveled was caught in a storm. He and most of the passengers were terrified. However, there was a group of Moravian Christians on the boat that appeared unusually calm. They sang hymns, prayed, and looked the possibility of death in the eye without fear. The event changed John Wesley’s life, and was instrumental in bringing him to conversion. How do you handle life’s storms? Are you calm like the Moravians or terrified? Find out more about how to navigate life’s storms as we encounter, Jesus, the Lord of the storm in John chapter 6.
In John 12:1-11 Mary, sister of Martha, does something extravagant. She takes an invaluable jar of perfume worth oodles of money, and typically reserved for sacred occasions like a wedding or a funeral, and she uses it to clean Jesus’ feet. It is what someone would do out of an intense, crazy love. Have you ever done something extravagant out of love? It can leave you feeling vulnerable, embarrassed or rather proud and full of exhilaration. This Sunday, we will look at the power of love in the life of Jesus, in our lives, and in the culture around us.
Titus 2: 11-15
In the 168 hours that make up your week, how many of those hours are spent at Church? An active church members might answer 3 to 5. How much time do you spend actively studying God’s Word and his ways? A serious student of Scripture might yield 8-10 hours per week. So, is 15 hours a week really enough time to form a disciple? What if we shifted our definition of discipleship away from the classes and personal study that are vital aspects of disciple-making to the hours we spend at work and in our households? More specifically, what if we viewed the 60-80 hours a week we spend outside of church, in our jobs and personal lives, as an arena for discipleship? This sermon will look at discipleship in everyday life and asks how we can use our everyday lives to grow as disciples of Christ.
When Paul offers up to us the fruit of the Spirit, he is offering us the full yield of fruit that comes when God is fully active in growing us as disciples. We have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. Should we be tempted to say that we exhibit joy but not gentleness, we misunderstand the fruit. Joy without gentleness reveals that the joy has come from some other source instead of the Spirit. The fruit is a unit and exhibits itself as a unit in the life of the disciple. How might we order our loves in such a way that we exhibit this fruit? This sermon will explore the answer to that question.
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