The first nine chapters of Judges contain some of the most disturbing narratives in Scripture, recounting some of the most disturbing people in Biblical history, doing some of the most disturbing things imaginable (This is probably why most churches choose not to preach it). And the second half of the book is darker than the first. Instead of becoming more faithful with each new cycle, the people become more violent, more perverted, and more hopeless. By the end of the book, they are more faithless than when they started. Despite men’s continued unfaithfulness, God is STILL faithful.
Why have an entire series on one prayer? If you’re anything like this disciple, prayer is a struggle. I am convinced that most of us don’t know HOW or WHAT to pray. Many of us “talk with God”, but I wonder if we really understand what we are doing? How much thought goes into our approach to God before we pray? How much of what we say before the throne of God is in fact genuine prayer?
The story of Ruth is a story within the story—a glimpse into what a sovereign and good God is doing to accomplish his mission, not despite the sinful choices of men, but in fact through them. The story is not big, it is small; the characters are not amazing, they are very ordinary. It is a story about one small family, and one young non-Israelite widow, serving as light of hope in all of the darkness of Judges who ultimately leads us to Jesus Christ the light of the world. When all things appear hapless and hopeless, God is faithful.
This series is not for the faint of heart. The book of Judges is one of the most disturbing narratives in Scripture, chronicling some of the most provocative people who have ever lived, doing some of the most violent things imaginable. The book of Judges is the continuing story of God laboring to gather a community of worshippers, for Himself, from within an evil and rebellious world. The repetitive theme of, “everyone did what was right in their own eyes,” not only sets the tone for the culture, but describes the attitudes of some of the darkest “heroes” in God’s story of redemption. Ultimately, it points us to the one true hero we have.
This four-part series is designed to emphasize our family traits. Instead of a three-part series on Gospel Truth, Community, and Living, we will focus on the life of Paul and his relationships with different people. The series will follow chronologically from Paul’s conversion (Acts), to his first letter written (Galatians), through his gospel treatise (Romans), ending with his final letter to Timothy (2Timothy). The four sermons are Paul & Barnabas; Paul & Peter; Paul & Rufus' Mom; Paul & Timothy.
Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, many false teachers have come claiming that Jesus is only part of the answer to our spiritual problems. Heretics in Colossae argued that devotion to Christ alone was not enough and that something in addition to faith in Him was needed. Not only did these kinds of lies threaten the young church in Colossae, they continue to threaten the church today. Paul’s letter is a brilliant and timeless response written to authoritatively set forth the Supremacy and Sufficiency of Jesus, realized through a Christ-centered life.
Advent is a time in the historic church calendar of both anticipation and preparation for the arrival of King Baby Jesus on Christmas. The series on the 3Kings is really about two different responses to the one King of Glory--worship or treason. You cannot ignore Jesus. God's glory in human flesh moves men to fearfuly receive His Kingdom or to violently reject Him in protection of their own (for fear of losing it). We must all consider what kingdom we truly worship and which one we fear losing the most. Apart from God's grace, we will irrationally destroy all that we love in pursuit of delight in earthly things. By the power of the grace, however, we will radically give up everything in pursuit of delight in the Creator of all things.
The problem with most people’s concept of the “ideal church” is that it is shaped by emotion and intellect rather than by Scripture. We take our own ideas of community, love and God putting them in the mixer to create a final product that is really just a blend of our own sin, reactions, and biases. The truth is, this dream-church (with Billy Graham as the pastor, and a congregation made up of Gandhi and Mother Theresa) is very different than the church that God actually ordained. And the work of the church (what the church is supposed to do) is very different than what we would plan. We forget that church was actually God’s idea (not the apostles, not Constantine, not John Calvin), His plan, His creation, that He upholds, and that He intends to use to declare His glory
These letters are short but powerful. John writes his letters primarily to inform someone of how they can know that they are a christian (one with Jesus as their Savior AND Lord). Without doubt, his plain language will lead us all to painfully test the genuiness of our own faith. As he draws some hard contrasts between true and false faith, he proves that someone will not become a Christian without experiencing radical transformation in how they think theologically, how they act morally, and how they relate socially.
The Bible describes the relationship between husband and wife as "one-flesh". God hates divorce because dissolving the marriage covenant amounts to the tearing apart of a living organism—a very painful, traumatic, and destructive experience. It is only when we understand this idea of TORN that we can begin to praise all that God has done to reconciles us back to Himself. From the TORN relationship in the garden of Eden, through the TORN body of the Son of God TORN from heaven, toward the TORN curtain of reconciliation we see how God brings himself glory through the redemption of men.
The story of Joshua and the people ofIsraelobtaining the promise rest is our story. The ultimate hope of obtaining the promise is not one of obtaining a big chunk of land—it is Jesus himself. Joshua is a general who is led, a warrior whom Jesus fights for. Jesus is the true hero of this story, conquering sin and death that we might worship Him. Without him, we will not conquer no matter how hard we fight. With him, he fights for us and gives us rest (Matt. 11.29)
A 4-week celebration of how the GLORY, VICTORY, HUMILIATION and SOVEREIGNTY of Jesus Christ results in our JOY, PEACE, HOPE and LOVE as we live in the times between His first “Arrival” and His Second “Coming”.
This brief 7-week series takes us on a journey with Jesus as our story teller. When understood and studied, his parables are some of the most disturbing sections of Scripture. They challenge our man-centered views of the kingdom, salvation, and wisdom.
The letter could have been written today. As we read, we find that the same false teachings that plagued the church 2,000 years ago are still alive and well today. In this letter we see Paul charging Timothy to protect the truth that the church atEphesusmight be a healthy one. Ironically, the letter could have been written to many of our churches today as it struggles with false doctrine, corruption, abuse, and sin from within. Paul writes with boldness and without apology. In other words, this letter is full of some hard words motivated by a love for God, His Word, and His bride. Paul will charge Timothy to draw clear lines in the sand, to take particular stands, and to defend specific truths for false teachers. As he charges this young pastor to fight, Paul commands Timothy to be more than an intellectual- warrior—he must be a Shepherd who feeds AND cares for the sheep.
People don’t avoid preaching Habakkuk because it is obscure or strange. They avoid reading and preaching this book because it brings us face to face with some VERY hard truths. The key verse to this book is Habakkuk 2.4, “…the righteous shall live by faith.” In short, this book is about FAITH. It is organized around simple and raw conversations with God that we all have in one way or another—pushing us to a place where we either have to TRUST that God is sovereign or not—that God is in control or he is not—that this is HIS story that HE wrote for His glory, or we’re going to pretend its OURS and try to rewrite for our own glory.
Sacred Assembly is a study of the church. Jesus loved the Church so much he died for it. Sadly, today many are claiming that the bride itself is dead or, at the very least, it has lost the mission that Jesus gave it. This is why our study is so important. Instead of listening to the loudest voices of culture, we’ll seek to understand what Jesus says the church he died for and built is all about. Week one seeks to clarify what is the church and what is not the church. Week two will address why we preach instead of having spiritual conversations. Week three will identify who our Senior Pastor Jesus uses to care for His bride. Finally, week four and five will explain what traditions Jesus charged His Church to practice and why their more than just routines.
Today, the word “retro” is most often used in a positive sense, referring to quirky or attractive products or trends that are no longer available. Retro-faith seeks to explore faith as James understood it back in the 50s…A.D. The practical outworking of our faith has changed since James wrote his letter—and not all for the better. A spiritualized culture with an ambiguous “faith in God” has bled over into a once distinct faith in Jesus Christ. Christianity is not lived out by Christians and therefore not viewed by Non-Christians as radically life-changing. If we’re honest, Christians rarely think, look, or sound much different than non-Christians in how they live, separated more by their tribal language and cultural traditions than by their lifestyle. In the pursuit of cultural relevance to the world and personal liberty, Christians have abandoned the basics of godly living, actions which confirm true faith, as old fashioned or outdated. In this study, we intend to re-establish the essential practices of what it means to called a Christian. We will not develop new spiritual disciplines for a more progressive Christian faith, rather, we will look backward and make that which is old new again—a Retro faith.
The Songs of Summer take us on a journey through 7-10 Psalms in the book of Psalms--a book of praise. In Psalms, we are commanded to praise, given instruction on how to praise, and shown examples of what praise looks like in the life of David. If we read the book, we see that the beginning of the book is filled with Psalms of lament. As the books move on, we see this lament transformed to praise. By the end of the book, we see psalm after psalm of declaration of who God is and what He has done, and finishes with the instruction to praise God in everything. In the same way, our life moves from the depths of our own depravity, to enlightenment by the Spirit, to response in worship for what God has done to reconcile us to Himself.
The first part of Exodus was a verse by verse study of Exodus 1-15. The 2nd and 3rd parts take larger sections as Moses receives the Law of God and God comes to dwell with his people. Part 2 fast forwards after the giving of the law to Exodus 32 where Israel is at the bottom of the mountain starting their own new cult. After Moses intercession, Part 3 begins as God again makes a covenant with the people, restarts his building plan, and comes to dwell in a house made by His people.
The Roads to Resurrection is a study of the nature and character of Jesus, examining why he had to be exactly who he was. How did Jesus fulfill ALL the Old Testament? Why did Jesus have to be fully human? Why did Jesus have to be fully God? Why did Jesus have to be rejected? Why did Jesus have to die? Why did Jesus have to rise from the dead? This five week series will take us up through the Passion Week and Good Friday to the most important day in a Christian's life, Easter--the celebration of the empty tomb! er.
The family traits series is a study of our core convictions. This brief 3-week series will seek to affirm the primary motivations behind all that we do and say. These three convictions express unchanging aspects to our identity as oppossed to the ever-changing methods we use to express them in culture.
The story of Exodus is much more than a story of national identity. The Hebrew "History of Salvation" is our own story of redemption told over thousands of years ago. In Exodus chapter five verse two, Pharaoh asks, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” Pharaoh, leader of a Kingdom steeped in idolatry, asks the question about the “new god on the block”. It is less of a question of ignorance and more one of arrogance. It is a challenge to the so called ‘God of the Hebrews’—a challenge that God appears to have taken seriously...this is his answer.
Jesus sent us into the world to proclaim the gospel to all of creation. Galatians 5.1 says that it was for freedom that Christ sets us free and yet, we are warned in 1Peter 2.16 not to use our freedom as a means to indulge the flesh. We are called to avoid the extremes of both self-righteous legalism and self-indulgent liberty as we walk the God-glorifying line of self-denial. This series aims to address the nitty-gritty raw issues of life that consistently cause people trouble living in the world yet, without sin. We hope to repair the damage caused by legalism, and call everyone to repent as well reform our understandings of what it means to be a believer in Jesus redeeming the world around us.
Jesus asked Peter, "Who do the people say that I am? Then, Jesus asked Peter, "Who do YOU say that I am." The gospel according to John gives us a radically unique answer to the question of Who Jesus is. Perhaps you have never met him, or maybe your Jesus is one of the popular counselor Jesus, or boyfriend Jesus, or hippy-flocked-hair Jesus. John, a "Son of Thunder" portrays Jesus in a way that is unexpected, challenging, and refreshing.
Most of the books of prophecy focus on declaring the wrath of God and calling people to repentence. Every prophet lives and proclaims in a unique context, but the message is consistent. The book of Jonah is unique among the minor prophets. Instead of focusing on the prophecy, this book focuses on the prophet. Unlike the prophets who came before him, Jonah is told to arise and go proclaim God's truth to those outside the church. Jonah doesn't argue, he simply walks away, fearlessly running away from where God told him to go. Shamlessly, he refuses to call "those people" to repentence because, well, they are "those people." We are Jonah.
We live in a sexualized culture. It makes sense because we are sexual beings--we were designed this way by God. Unfortunately, what God formed as a means to reflect His glory, man has deformed through sin. The culture denies this. They believe that the sexual revolution led to a throwing off the chains of repression, that the church has nothing to offer but slavery. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
The earliest of N.T. letters, in it Paul argues for the freedom of the gospel over and against religiosity. A young church Paul had planted falls under the persecution of Judaizers who ascribe to the Jesus PLUS program. We still fight this same battle as the freedom of the gospel is attacked by legalists and moralists who make their 'traditions" a pre-requisite for righteousness. Paul rightly argues, we are saved by faith in Jesus' righteousness alone. We bring nothing to the table. We are more wicked than we will ever admit and more loved than we could possibly imagine (notes: the audio is low quality).