Advent - Week 2

Advent - Week 2

Zechariah embraces praise over cynicism. Why do we sing on Sunday mornings? Because we want to show you how to praise regardless of what’s going on in your life when you walk through that door. Regardless of the heartbreak, regardless of the doubts, regardless of the fear, regardless of the disappointment, we give you this space and we open our mouths and sing about the God who doesn’t change, about the God who has done it in the past and will do it again. This is what I think the song of Zechariah teaches us. The song of Zechariah teaches us that God is on the move.

Passage:

Zechariah's Prophecy

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
    for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
    and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
    and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Luke 1:67-79

Advent - Week 1

Advent - Week 1

Advent is about waiting. Is about the time between the giving of the promise and its fulfillment. For Christmas to have the meaning and hope it has we need to be aware and open our eyes to the reality that while Jesus has already come, and all of the blessings and promises of God have come with him. We are also, still waiting, for His return. And we need to learn how to wait well. Because if we don’t, we are going to give in to despair.

Passage: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Jeremiah 33:14-16

Reading the Scriptures - Spiritual Practices, Pt. II, Ep. 2

Reading the Scriptures - Spiritual Practices, Pt. II, Ep. 2

The disciplines of study and meditation are not just necessary for knowing the Lord better. More importantly they are essential for diving deep into a relationship with Him. When we slow down in our study we gain a sweeter than honey blessing to our dry and weary souls.

Passage: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

How To Pray - Spiritual Practices Pt. II, Ep. 1

How To Pray - Spiritual Practices Pt. II, Ep. 1


Most of us see prayer either as some obligation or as a transaction. We pray either because that’s what a good Christian is supposed to do, or to keep God off our backs, or to get stuff. But in the Scriptures, the primary reason to pray is to encounter God. The issue is not how long we should pray or what we should say. The issue is: Do we want to have a relationship with God?

Passage: “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.””

Luke 11:1-4

Sabbath - Work in Eden, Ep. 7

Sabbath - Work in Eden, Ep. 7


One of the centerpieces of Jesus’ message is the idea of rest…but it is a different kind of rest. Jesus calls it “rest for your souls.” When we make work our idol, we look to work to provide ultimate fulfillment and acceptance, and what Jesus is saying is that if we are living like that, it’s not only our body and our mind that is tired, but our soul, and no amount of days off will give us rest. We need a better, deeper Sabbath. So Jesus invites us and says “come to me" and I will give you the rest that you really need, rest for your soul.

Passage: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

Genesis 2:1-3

Things of my Father - Work in Eden, Ep. 6

Things of my Father - Work in Eden, Ep. 6

Living out the kingdom life means that everything must remain before the throne and under the authority of the ruler. Everything must be held loosely. What tangibles are you holding onto? What are you gripping tightly? Have they become your security? Are you a slave to some image? Some name you're trying to live up to? Some job? Some possession? Some person? If you cannot let it go, it's a priority to you. It is impossible to be a slave to things or people and at the same time be a faithful servant of God.

Passage: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Do Not Worry

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:19-34

The Gospel and Work - Work in Eden, Ep. 5

The Gospel and Work - Work in Eden, Ep. 5

The Gospel gives us the imagination to not only see our culture in a different way, but also be co-creators of our culture with Christ. Through it we can visualize our work with love and opportunity and use it to transform lives and bring the kingdom of God to earth.

Passage: “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.”

Luke 5:1-11

The Dangers of Work - Work in Eden, Ep. 4

The Dangers of Work - Work in Eden, Ep. 4

Work in a fallen world can be hard and frustrating and seemingly fruitless. But that doesn’t mean we should give up on the whole enterprise. Perhaps the best example of this is the relationship between God and humanity. God makes people and they disappoint, disobey and fight against Him, but He doesn’t give up on them. Even after the Flood and even after Israel’s rebellion. The story of the Scriptures is in part, the story of God not becoming hopelessly frustrated with His work, but keeping tending to His garden.

DISCLAIMER: We had some technical difficulties with the recording this week, the audio starts in the middle of the sermon but the gist of the message is still there.

Passage:

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

Genesis 3:17-19

Identity & Vocation - Work in Eden, Ep. 3

Identity & Vocation - Work in Eden, Ep. 3

If you are made in the image of God, and if you are a child of God, and if God made you and He prepared good works ahead of you, if you don’t see the implications of that in what you are doing right now, then you are going to waste a lot of opportunities… maybe there are things that you were meant to do you that you are not doing because you are not living in your vocation, in your calling, in the thing that God wants to do through you.

Passage: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:10

God's Design for Work - Work in Eden, Ep. 2

God's Design for Work - Work in Eden, Ep. 2

When we look in the mirror, what do we see, do we see the image of God, or do we see our work? Our identity was supposed to be the based on the fact that we were made in the image of our God, when we make our identity our work, it becomes an idol, it is a cheap imitation of ourselves, because we are more than our work.

Passage: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26-28

Begin Again

Begin Again

Central to following Jesus, is the idea that there is an endless amount of new beginnings in God. In spite of who we are and what we’ve done, in spite of the mistakes we’ve made. There is a new beginning for us, for our dreams and our hopes. We can walk into the future knowing that there is always the possibility for more, because we believe in the God of hope who is making all things new, even when we fail.

Generosity - Spiritual Practices, Ep. 2

Generosity - Spiritual Practices, Ep. 2

How do we become more like Jesus?  That’s the question at the heart of discipleship.  This week in our Spiritual Practices sermon series, we share Jesus' words about generosity.  How does Jesus give and how do we respond?  Listen as we talk through we can apply his transformative and generous words to our lives.