SCRIPTURE: 2 Kings 22:3–13
SCRIPTURE: Acts 15:36–41
SCRIPTURE: Amos 8:11–12
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 6:1–12
SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 3:1–11
SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 19:8–13
SCRIPTURE: Mark 16:1–8
SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:28–40
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 4
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 3
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 2
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1:4–17
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1:1–3
SCRIPTURE: John 21:9–19
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 15:21–28
SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:1–10
SCRIPTURE: 2 Samuel 12:1–14
SCRIPTURE: Mark 2:1–12
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 14:6–21
Central to the Christian message is the idea that a new world is arriving among the present one. That God's kingdom has arrived, is arriving, and will arrive. Part of the Christian life, then, is learning how to live as God's new version of ourselves as God is renewing creation all around us. Today, we'll engage in a conversation about how we do that in day and age.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:12–16
When we identify the end goal of the trajectory we hope to achieve, we need a role model. Becoming like Jesus means we need Him to transform us.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 3:17–18
Starting a new year often calls us to turn the page, not only on the calendar, but in life. The trajectory we seek for life demands particular tools for our success.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Timothy 1:3–7
Holiday traffic, shopping lists that grow ever longer (and change!), crowded malls, seasonal parties where we eat all the wrong things…and we wonder why we are sometimes in a foul mood at this, “the most wonderful time of the year.” All the more reason to appreciate the fact that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:1-7; John 14:25-31
Another of the Bible's stunning declarations about Jesus is that He is “Everlasting Father.” This is not a statement about Jesus’ gender so much as it is about his approachability. Jesus is not just a precept, an idea, or a spirit-being. Jesus has a unique capacity for intimacy as in the way that only a parent can have with a child.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:1-7; John 14:8-14
One of the Bible's great claims about Jesus is that he is “Mighty God.” The implications of this in everyday life are profound for those who dare to put their faith in him. For those who do, there is no longer any such thing as “ordinary.” Every aspect and incident of life is charged with deeper meaning.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:1-7; Colossians 1:15-20
As the Wonderful Counselor, Jesus is one who knows all things, including us, deeply and totally. Though he knows our worst, he entrusts himself to us, bringing us grace and forgiveness and bringing us fully into his presence. And Jesus, more than any earthly advisor, can give us perfect guidance and counsel.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:1-7; John 2:23-25
A provocative element of Jesus’ parables is that they simultaneously point to the present and to the future. An important attribute of a growing, faithful Christian life is the ability to see the present and the future mingled together and to be reminded that our future is being rendered by what we participate in today.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:1–13
We live in a world filled with great injustice leaving us wondering how we should respond. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus offers us a way forward that demonstrates how to respond by loving and serving our neighbor.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:25–37
We live in a world that cries out for “more, more, more;” yet Jesus calls us less to accumlate for the sake of having more things, and more to invest in his Kingdom. What does this counter-cultural life look like today?
SCRIPTURE: Luke 12:13–21; Matthew 25:14–30
Our experience with others is dictated by “social maps” with relatively clearly defined roles and expectations, rewards, and punishments. Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector frustrates the social map of Jesus’ own day and suggests that we should examine the way we see our world as well.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 18:9–14
In our world that is shaped by competition and earning, Jesus’ parables of grace seem to be upside down, bizarre, and other-worldly. While the grace of God may be celebrated by those who are vulnerable without it, the grace of God frustrates those who suggest that they can make it all on their own.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 20:1–16
“Lost” is a reality that confuses men, confounds women, and can strike fear into the hearts of the bold if they realize they are lost. “Lost” is also a condition that Jesus used to describe people who were estranged from God. The curious thing about being lost is that more often than not, it takes someone else to find you. Someone like God, maybe.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 15:1–32
In preparation for his masterpiece, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey researched the success literature of the United States. What he found was that for the first 150 years, the material was based on character—who you were. The next 50 years, it was based on personality—how you acted. There is a significant difference between genuine faith—the kind the Apostle Paul describes in Romans—and the faith that we try to act out.
SCRIPTURE: Romans 12:9–18
In the parables, Jesus often speaks of the Kingdom of heaven, giving examples from daily life. In many cases, we can see the Kingdom growing in our world. In other cases it is harder to detect, seemingly hidden by noise and strife. On this World Communion Sunday, we will join with believers around the world to celebrate the Kingdom in our midst.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:31–34
Life is filled with weeds that choke and tangle our lives and with weedy people trying to entrap us and keep us from living into the fullness of God’s plan for our lives. Jesus teaches how we should respond to these weeds, and how we can ultimately use them for the betterment of his Kingdom.
Jesus tells a story in which he depicts God as a farmer who throws seeds. The seeds fall among the rocks, in the weeds, and on the hard-packed paths. Their location determines if they grow and flourish, or wither and fade. Has your seed fallen on the rock, with no way of taking root? Has it fallen among the weeds, only to be entangled by the toils of the world? Or has your seed fallen on the good soil, where it can flourish and bear fruit?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:1-32
Jesus is part Savior and part ophthalmologist. He wants us to see things as they really are, not the version that is distorted by sin and blurred by the world which come to us naturally. Through parables, Jesus opens our eyes to the true story of our lives, and offers a new perspective into his Kingdom.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 13:10-17
It was late in the season when Paul was put on a ship to stand trial before the Emperor. He knew it could get bad. Sometimes, we can see storms looming, and can't do anything to stop it. Yet even when all hope seems lost, God promises us that we will be safe.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 27:13-26
At first, Jesus doesn’t stop the storm. The disciples are out of their minds, thinking they might die, and want Jesus to rescue them. Instead, Jesus asks about their faith. Some things can only be learned in a storm. Discipleship is mostly on-the-job training. What storms are blowing in your life?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 8:23-27
One of Jesus' most famous stories concerns the optimist who opts for beachfront property and the pessimist who picks the rock-filled lot. It's been said that things don't always work out the way you plan them. The truth is that they never do. In life, there's a 100% chance of rain. How are you planning for the storms to come?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:24-27
The story of Elijah tells us how kings and kingdoms chase after temporary security and pleasure. Living in such a world can be discouraging. But God is more powerful, and wants more for us than just our comfort and wellbeing. After revealing His presence in the storm, God recommissions Elijah to minister to the world in which he lived.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 19:11-13
Sometimes life can feel stormy. The account of Jonah is one of the Bible’s most interesting storm stories, when the rebellious prophet is thrown overboard during a storm and swallowed by a great fish in whose belly he lives for three days. When storms break around us there’s a lot to learn.
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 1
As his life and ministry builds to the boiling point, Jesus feels enormous pressure and stress. So how does he respond? He goes to the garden and prays. Meanwhile, his disciples watch and wait with him. In the most heated moments of life, prayer is the practice Jesus most wants to teach us as his followers.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 26:26–46
Interesting things can happen at supper; engagements to marriage, business deals, professions of love, and even life-shattering betrayals. At supper one night, even in the face of betrayal, Jesus was glorified.
SCRIPTURE: John 13:21-31
Sometimes, when the night seems the darkest, all you can do is sing. Silly songs, serious songs, songs that give hope. And sometimes, in the midst of those songs, something amazing breaks through, and in the midst of it is God!
SCRIPTURE: Acts 16:25-34
In the morning, we're ready to take on the world. But it's at night, in our fatigue, that we take heed of our doubts and fears. Believing seems to take more than we have to give. It's at night when Gideon tests God's faithfulness, even as he pleads for mercy. Is God really present or are we getting fleeced?
SCRIPTURE: Judges 6:36-46
He wanted to believe. After he'd put Daniel and the others in with the lions for the night, the king couldn't sleep. He was anguished. He'd laid down the gauntlet, and he had to know the answer. Was Daniel right after all? Would Daniel's God come through?
SCRIPTURE: Daniel 6:16-28
Sometimes our relationship with God can feel like a wrestling match. We sense God's presence, but resist. We ask for God's favor, and when he doesn't respond, we keep on asking. The story of Jacob encourages us to keep on wrestling, even when it hurts.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 32:22-32
Jesus said, "Don’t be afraid; just believe." Some of the most popular editions of today’s Bibles have red letters for the words of Jesus. These red letters beg a question: Who is this Jesus? When we look at the red letter Jesus, we’re forced to decide, will we let his words change our life?
SCRIPTURE: Mark 5:36
Jesus said, "Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people." Who is this Jesus? When we look at this words, we’re forced to decide, will we let his words change our life?
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:15-20
Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Who is this Jesus? When we look at his words, we’re forced to decide, will we let him change our life?
SCRIPTURE: John 10:10
Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." The words of Jesus beg a question: Who is this Jesus? When we look at Jesus, we’re forced to decide, will we let his words change our life?
SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:23-25
As believers, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Life in the clouds gives us the strength to throw off the sin that so easily entangles us. As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 12:1-2
Some of the most popular editions of today’s Bibles have red letters for the words of Jesus. These red letters beg a question: Who is this Jesus? When we look at the red letter Jesus, we’re forced to decide, will we let his words change our life? Jesus said, "But what about you? Who do you say I am?"
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 16:13-18
On the cross, Jesus remembered his mother. Seeing his dear friend, he said, “Take care of her, John. Behold your mother.” Jesus expresses his inexpressible love for his mother in a simple act of remembering. Moms want to be remembered. Vic Pentz completes his ministry at Peachtree by remembering our church’s founding mother, a bereaved mom, Ida Honour, along with his own mother, Frances, who shaped his life and faith.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:12
Sometime around 2100 BC, the God of the Universe appeared to a man living in the city of Ur and said, “I want you to trust me. Pull up stakes. Leave where you are, and go to the land I will show you.” Without even asking where this land was, Abraham went, without maps. Ever since, when God wants us to show faith, he points us to a road, and as we go, we move from certainty to trust and from security to vulnerability. What a journey of joy it is.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12
Most of us have such a puny view of heaven, we'd rather spend a wet weekend in Waynesboro. Pearly gates, jeweled crowns, and roads paved with 24-karat gold? Heaven seems so boring, our great literary minds have done a better job depicting the other place. Somehow we have allowed Satan to rob us of what God intends to be the sizzle and salsa of the Christian life--our view of heaven.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthains 4:16 - 5:10
The self-helps tell us we're special and destined for greatness. But what if greatness isn't measured by our possessions and status, but by the size of God's kingdom in our wake? God's rule isn't just for our benefit, but a power that endures for all generations. The best life worth celebrating is the one in which the next generation speaks the power of God's awesome deeds.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 145
The fleetingness of time explains much of our puzzling behavior. We dash for the express lines and say, “Hurry up, I haven’t got all day.” The sand is draining through our hourglass! We want to stop time. Why? Psalm 90 says it’s because our earthly lives are like the grass of the field, like lawn cuttings in the sun on a hot afternoon. Therefore, says God, “Be wise. Number your days. Seize the moment!”
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 90
Most people picture their life like a bell curve. You go up, up, up until you peak, then down you go until you die. Our world's dream is to be young forever. But in the Bible, the view of life is a gradual ascent all the way into eternity. God is filling you with more and more wisdom until at last you may discover the true meaning of life is not competing and accomplishing but knowing and enjoying God’s presence.
SCRIPTURE: Ecclesiastes 12: 1-8, 13
As soon as Jesus rises from the dead he starts doling out presents - the best of which is faith. Only by meeting Jesus personally do you get faith, and then a sackful of additional presents - peace, purpose, joy, hope and more.
SCRIPTURE: John 20:1-8
Accusation is in the middle of all that is broken in our world. From political arguments to fractures within the family, we all feel its sting. Accusation inspired Adam and Eve’s deviation from God’s plan in Genesis 3 and accusation sent Jesus to the cross. What we see in Jesus’ act on the cross, however, is God’s unwinding of accusation with a stunning display of affirmation. Following Jesus is a “yes” to life, not a “no.”
SCRIPTURE: John 12:12-19
Recent research shows that two weeks of not using your legs can cause a loss of more than 30% in muscular strength. Inactivity leads to a rapid decline in flexibility, strength and fitness. What is true for our physical body is true for our spirit. Here is a great way to get spiritually stronger.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 25:14-30
Athletes stretch their bodies to the limit in order to keep themselves lean and fit. The Apostle Paul asks, Why can’t you Christians be more like an athlete—focused, dedicated, and willing to suffer for the cause?
SCRIPTURE: Luke 5:17-26
We all know the physical benefits of a good workout, but knowledge alone is often a poor motivator. Staying on track with our fitness, requires meaningful goals. Likewise our faith requires us to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and press on toward the finish.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:7-14
Worship is literally the breath in our lungs. Because of Jesus we have the privilege to experience God’s presence in worship. Such worship is like being connected to a machine that fills us with pure, life-giving oxygen.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 10:19-25
Solo Christian is an oxymoron. In the body of Christ, our hearts beat in community. But Paul wouldn’t pray and preach on unity so much if it was easy.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42-47
For a time, Cain was the only child on the face of the earth. Life was good - until he had to share with his brother Abel. We're all descendants of Cain. Envy and anger is part of our daily struggle. How do we tame this tiger?
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 4:1-16
We're made for connection, and one way God gave us for being connected is through sex. But the fallen world twists God's gift by mixing sexuality with hurt and insecurity. The good news is that Christ can restore us to the purity of Eden.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2
It's been said that sin is the only empirically verifiable Christian doctrine. It's the thing in us that leads us do the thing we don't want to do. Sin isn't rule breaking as much as a form of disordered love. It's the same old story - but there's more to the story.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 3
The seven-day work week has become a familiar part of contemporary life. But in Creation, God models a different sort of work week, in which the seventh day is for rest. What if a space for grace allowed us to be both more balanced and more productive at the same time?
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:2-3
Today there is remarkable consensus among scientists that human action is determining the quality of future life on the planet, and it isn't pretty. Some blame the Bible for this mess, but the Bible tells the story of a God who created from nothing. This truth — that God made ex nihilo — has huge implications for how we should live.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1
Authors like to reveal as little as possible at the beginning of their story in order to build the suspense. God, as the author, does the opposite. So much is revealed in the beginning of God’s story that we cannot help but want to see where the story will end.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1:1-5
The Magi have been slandered throughout history: “Had they been women, they would have asked direction, shown up on time, helped with the birth, and brought useful gifts, like casseroles and diapers.” In reality, these men showed up on God’s timetable, and brought gifts with meaning and purpose.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 2:1-12
If you've ever put a baby into a 4-year-old's arms, you've seen something magical. The 4-year-old looks down with awe, reverence, and even a little fear. At Christmas, we're the 4-year-old, and God is placing the baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in our arms.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:2-7
The final paragraphs of A Christmas Carol report that Scrooge “knew how to keep Christmas well.” Simeon kept Christmas well, too, by seeing God's promise through to the day of its fulfillment.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 9:2–7
At Christmas, we long to transcend typical consumer trappings. The Christmas story is based on such an experience - the appearance of the angel, bringing good news of a great joy. The catch is that an angel's appearance is but a glimpse of the ultimate experience, God made flesh in a baby.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:8–15
Think of the keepsakes and heirlooms you treasure. How carefully do you protect them? How much more God protects us, when we belong to Him. But the fine print is that we have to be willing.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 43:1-7
John, who called people to return to the wilderness where Israel first became a people, is the best friend you could have to start the Christmas season. Only when we understand that we're lost and hopeless on our own does the coming of a Savior make any sense at all.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 3:1-20
The most common trait of the latest National Merit scholar students? Family meals, at least three times a week. Eating is central to God's family, too. Move from tablet to table and discover God's grace.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:46-47
The church is familiar with responding to crises. But what about the margins of chaos and violence, where few are equipped to respond? Jesus has called us to a life of justice, mobilizing His church to the most fragile of places. What if we were to take on the greatest needs of our day?
Christian marriage isn't really traditional marriage. It's a shining ideal of lifelong fidelity by two sexually different humans in mutual surrender. We cannot define Christian marriage. It defines us.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 5:21-33
The feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle repeated in all four gospels. It's a story of how we can become channels of God's power. All we need to do is offer our meager resources to Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: John 6: 1-14
At the heart of life with Jesus, we freely give to others what we have graciously been given from God. In forgiveness, grace abounds and transformation ensues. How do we learn to apply the value of forgiveness in our most precious community - our family?
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18:21-35
Have you ever felt like caving in? What's the use in such continued suffering? The prescription for discouragement isn't alcohol or shopping or vacations. It's a glimpse at God's majesty in worship.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40
How do we explain the silence of God? Jesus' own prayers went unanswered. How can Jesus' own forsakenness on the cross help me with unanswered prayer?
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 22
The Bible says this universe is ruled by the mighty will of a sovereign God. On the other hand, it says our prayers make things happen. How can both of these things be true? God is deeply affected by our prayers.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 32, Matthew 5
Prayer is a spiritual discipline. If you're going to be a disciple, you need to exercise discipline. Discipline isn't like eating your broccoli as much as it is creating space in your life for God to work.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:32-39
God wills that you pray; God delights in it and really wants it. Prayer is as central to the meaning of the created universe as you can get. He's near as your breathing. Just lift a finger.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:1–13
You can have a faith as orthodox as a bishop and still be a train wreck. Does the Christian life promise more than it can deliver? Learn the key to happiness, according to the Bible.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 1
The Christians at Thessalonica decided to opt out of the work force, pray and wait for Jesus to return. The tentmaking Apostle Paul was not amused. One of the most Godlike things you and I can do is get up and go to work in the morning.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Tolerance was perhaps late Roman culture's highest virtue. Jezebel, a member of the church at Thyatira, thought she should help the church evolve to a changing world. Sound familiar?
Ephesus was a big, bold and upcoming city, and its church was the most effective church of the New Testament. Peachtree has also had a big impact on its city. But is it good enough?
God invented the city. Cities can be wicked. They are also culture shapers. Even when believers are marginalized, we're to work for the welfare of our city.
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 29:4-7; Isaiah 65; Revelation 21
God can replace our fears and faithlessness with a yearning for new adventure that can only be known with a spirit made bigger by Christ’s redeeming act on the cross.
SCRIPTURE: John 21:1-22
When his ship ran ashore, the apostle Paul learned anew how life is often beyond our control. Yet even in storms that bring damage, God remains faithful and supplies both provision and joy.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 27:27-44
In spite of its reputation for castle-building, sand is not a good manufacturing material. Jesus points out what is obvious to a five year old with a bucket on a beach: It’s not easy to make a good foundation out of sand. It is unstable.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:24-28
Like a desert sand dune that overtakes a landscape, sin can bury our best intentions.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 2:11-15
When forged under heat and pressure, sand transforms from impermeable earth to translucent glass. Similarly, the Holy Spirit has transforming power for our lives.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 4
Sand-formed shorelines are a beautiful image of the greatness of God’s creation, marrying land and sea. Such is the beauty of the thoughts of God.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 139
We go to the beach to get away from our hectic lives and recover a right pace. But it is only Jesus who is capable of washing away our worst afflictions and forming our hearts and lives.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 5:1-20
You could spend a lifetime counting the grains in a single cubic foot of sand and still fail to grasp its greatness. Likewise, God loves us so much that He wants to bless us, and our families, beyond our ability to understand.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 22:17
When it comes to sex, Jesus raises the bar. Every other commandment stops at our actions, but in matters of the heart, it’s what is in our hearts that matters. Jesus calls us to radical faithfulness.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:27-30
When we’re dehydrated, we grab a can from the fridge or fill a water bottle. But the cure is temporary; soon we’re thirsty again. What if our thirst isn’t just physical, but a sign of a deeper need? Jesus teaches a woman getting some water that there is a source that never runs dry, if we will only obey our thirst.
SCRIPTURE: John 4:4-19
You get rid of the bad things in your life not by focusing on getting rid of the bad things in your life but by falling head over heels in love with Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: John 12:1-9
Matthew and Simon, two key disciples of Jesus, were natural born enemies. Yet they ate together, worked together, and prayed together. These unlikely friends were united in Christ, and they became a model for the early church.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 9:9-13
Sometimes we try doing it on our own and find ourselves at the knot on the end of the rope. Two people, hanging on to their rope for dear life, turn to Jesus, and in their desperation find help and peace.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 8:40-56
Jesus treasured, cherished, and defended women, especially his mother, in a time when it was taboo to strike up a conversation with a woman in public.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 15:21-28
How will we deal with the "needy" people around us? We often try to avoid people like Bartimaus who seem to be a bottomless pit of need.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 10
On the path of discipleship Peter discovered his true identity. As we follow Christ's call in our lives we discover our true selves.
SCRIPTURE: John 1:40-42; Matthew 16:17-19
SCRIPTURE: John 5:1-15
See Jesus’ compassion for bereaved people. His heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones in the past year.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 7:11-23
Jesus meets you in the ordinary - so ordinary that, like his own disciples, you may not recognize him. It was only when they’d sat down at the kitchen table that the disciples recognized him. Open your eyes, and things will never be the same.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 24:13-35
Greatness is lifting up from underneath. Jesus says to his disciples that the gentile rulers “press down on them...” The donkey presses up from underneath. Greatness, like the donkey's, means lifting up.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 21:1-11
During his ministry, James earned the nickname “James the Just.” James was a man of action who refused to tolerate a church that consumed the good news of Jesus but did not respond with good deeds like Jesus.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:22-25; 2:14-26
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” ... Oh yes, they do. You remember some words that were said to you as a child, don’t you? And they still haunt you. James says words can set your life on fire. That’s why God cares deeply about the words we say to each other.
SCRIPTURE: James 3:1-12
Mercy is the kind of thing that we all want to experience-when we are merging lanes, when we have three items and the person in front of us has a cart full. But in ever deepening ways, the Bible calls us to live out mercy, not to seek it for ourselves.
SCRIPTURE: James 2:1-13
Today we don’t simply want advice. We say to an expert, “help me navigate this process." The more complex our lives become, the more we need navigators. Navigation is more than advice; it’s access to higher wisdom.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:5-8, 3:13-18, 4:13-17
Perseverance rocks. We have more clichés, mottoes and slogans about perseverance than any other virtue. Hang in there. Tough it out. And so on. Perseverance is how you go from wish to fulfillment. All it takes is stick-to-it-iveness.
SCRIPTURE: James 1:1-4
One occasionally bumps into a paradox while examining the Christian life. In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul says that spreading peace is a weapon of our warfare. This Sunday, we'll examine how one "wages" peace in Jesus' name.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 6:10-18
Unlike armor you wear, the shield is a tool used for specific times in battle, such as for protection when advancing. If you’re getting fiery arrows in your life, that means you’re a strategic person in God’s kingdom.
How do we wear spiritual armor in 21st century culture? The best defense is a good offense. We need to stay constantly on the offensive, using a simple strategy with three parts.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:8
Why do so many of the Bible’s glowing phrases feel like unfulfilled promises? We’re not wearing our armor. The world, the flesh and the devil are creaming us. We’re unarmed with what we think is clunky spiritual discipline and unable to wear Christ’s victory.
For many of us, prayer is something we do, like brushing our teeth. For Jesus, it was a way of life that opened the floodgates of heaven.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 11:1-13
When friend requests are digital and we move an average of 11 times in a lifetime, community can be hard to come by. The early followers of Jesus knew each other, cared for each other and shared life together—and people noticed. Where is your community?
The Bible is consistently one of the best-selling books in the world. At the same time it is one of the least understood. We respect the Bible – but we don’t read it. Many simply lack the confidence to open this book on their own. The best way to develop skill in reading the Bible for yourself is to simply read it for yourself.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 2:42; Psalm 119
Three men on a long road trip stop and ask directions. No, it’s not the first line of a joke; it’s the truth. What they asked, and what they found, changed history forever.
SCRIPTURE: Wise Men
If this is the infinite infant, God, naked and vulnerable, here with us tonight, that changes everything. A warm, happy holiday response won’t do. There is no more important need than to fall to our knees and give ourselves totally to him.
SCRIPTURE: John 1, Luke 2
When Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, her life is in shambles. But at her meeting with Elizabeth come joy, excitement and comprehension. This is the importance of family and friends.
Mary simply took news of her out of wedlock conception on faith. By surrendering her life, Mary became the girl through whom God changed the world. In becoming a part of God’s mission, Mary found significance.
After Gabriel’s announcement to Mary we might expect that she would know exactly who her son was. But when the infant Jesus was on the threshold of adolescence he baffled his parents by calling God his “Father.” Like Mary, our grasp of who Jesus is may strengthen slowly, over time.
Ever notice that the best news is the hardest to believe? Over the years Zachariah and Elizabeth found ways of coping with the pain of not having had a child. The one thing they could not handle would be to get their hopes up again. So Zechariah says to a singing angel, ”Go away… Get out of my life.”
SCRIPTURE: Luke 1:5-25
Common grace is the idea that God can bring us a touch of his love and make us smile through the simple, everyday things of life. What are the simple gifts right under your nose that you’re missing?
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 145, James 1:17
Nehemiah tackled a city restoration job on the order of post-Katrina New Orleans. Chaos and death reigned in the streets as rival war lords battled for control. His task, and ours today, is to restore compassion, service, justice.
SCRIPTURE: Nehemiah 1:1-11
If we stand tall like Hezekiah, God will prove faithful. No matter how insignificant or marginalized you may feel, or how mighty our culture's pressure, be strong. God is in control.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 37
Solomon had riches beyond compare, yet died unhappy. His wealth had created a lukewarm cauldron that eventually cooked him. God gives to us not for our sake but in order for us to give.
SCRIPTURE: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11
David forgot that everything he had came from God. God reminds him, "I am building my house and yours. All you have and all you are and all you ever will be are all mine.”
SCRIPTURE: 2 Samuel 7:1-7
Gideon was the weakest member of the weakest family of the weakest nation - with weak faith. Our weakness, combined with trust in God, becomes incredible strength. The most important thing we can do is strip away every layer of self sufficiency.
SCRIPTURE: Judges 6:7-16
From the point where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, the Promised Land is a journey of just a few weeks. But instead they wandered forty years. Why? How do our wildernesses shape us?
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 32:11
God’s presence in your life is all you need. Like Moses, you know him! Now you get to go through life doing miracles like Moses did. Salvation is not a human project. Jesus is the human name of God. This table is our Passover.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 3:11-15
When we align our lives to God's grand story, we find strength like Joseph to handle all the bad things life throws at us. Despite all evidences to the contrary, God knows what he’s doing in your life.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 37:18-28
Sometimes God's way seems foolish and naive. We become impatient and lose sight of our role in the story. We want to trust the Ishmaels of our own plan B rather than the Isaacs of God's plan A.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 16:1-2; 17:15-22
The Bible isn't a collection of unrelated stories, but a beautiful mural joined together to tell the grand story of God's great love for us and the lengths to which God goes to draw us to Him.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 1:1, 26-27
Worship is our response to the majesty of God who is “high and lifted up.” If you were to get in touch with a sense of awe, wonder and astonishment before God, what would that look like?
SCRIPTURE: 2 Samuel 6
Too often we are like Martha—busy, distracted, and skating on the surface. It takes daily time sitting at Jesus’ feet if we are to grasp how deep is the love of God. Escape the world’s programming. Let God reach deep inside you.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:38-42
Love suffers long, says I Corinthians 13. Human love has limits, but God will never abandon you. There are ten distinct passages sprinkled throughout Scripture where God says essentially, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 3:14-19
How wide is your love range? We’re pretty picky people. We love only certain types. Is that because we’re not sure we are embraced by the width of God’s love? Are you sure that God’s arm span includes you? “Inclusive” is not a four letter word.
Who do you say I am?
SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:28-31
If you’ve ever been in place you never asked to be, waiting for the next thing and not knowing when or how it will come, then you can understand Elijah as he sits by the brook. While you are waiting God is working.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 17:1 - 18:1
We have caricatures of Samson as the ultimate body builder. His actual story is that of a hero without a halo: Samson was a man who was led by God to use his gifts but forgot that God was the source of his gift.
SCRIPTURE: Judges 16:15-22
Faced with an overwhelming threat, Hezekiah took difficult circumstances and literally “spread them out before the Lord.” His example guides us in what it means to bring our lives before God.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Kings 19:14-19
Sometimes we have to get to the end of our rope to understand God’s faithfulness. As Deborah’s heroic leadership shows us, when we go where God sends us, He goes with us, protecting us.
SCRIPTURE: Judges 4:1-10
When faced with a difficult decision, Gideon must discern the difference between good risk and bad risk. In life, we must manage many decisions. How do we, like Gideon, know when it’s right to take a bold risk in faith?
SCRIPTURE: Judges 6 - 7
The first step is always the hardest. Courage is when, in the midst of challenge, fear, and uncertainty, we do something. Courage enables us to overcome fear, see possibility in the midst of adversity, and make an impact for God’s kingdom.
SCRIPTURE: Esther 4:12-17
Daniel shows how to build a character of integrity: start with small matters and develop the muscle to stand up under great pressure. The key? Make beliefs always match actions, in private and public.
SCRIPTURE: Daniel 1:3-21
Faithfulness: we all want it, mostly directed towards us. But what does faithfulness look like, and how can we live it out—not only towards God, but towards others, as well?
SCRIPTURE: Joshua 14:6-13
With his tongue twister name, the marginal biblical character Mephibosheth offers huge insight into the vastness of God's love. King David lavishes "the kindness of God" on this poor man he's never met. Could God really love us the very same way?
SCRIPTURE: 2 Samuel 9:1-13
As followers of Jesus, we are sisters and brothers. In real Christianity the barriers drop. Strangers become friends. Friends become family. "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." - I Corinthians 12:27
What we're going through right now is the warm up. Eternity is Showtime. As Dallas Willard says, we're "in training for reigning" with God forever.
"And the two shall become one flesh." Sometimes in marriage, we've already decided which one. Marriage is learning that to love your spouse is to love yourself.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:18-25
If we're honest amid the tributes of Mother's Day, moms pay a huge life-altering price in raising a child. Yet beneath the stress, diapers and sleeplessness is a strange joy. Isaiah reminds us that a mother does God's work on earth.
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 49:13-16
We teach our students to love God with heart and strength, but what about the mind? God wants us to celebrate science as a part of faith, and vigorously defend our faith to others. These are expressions of loving God with mind.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:25-34
The trinity is a mystery. We don't know how, we don't know what, we simply know.
SCRIPTURE: John 14:10-14 and 25-31
On Easter, Jesus enters our life as the fresh air of the resurrected Messiah, opening the windows on the fears of our lives.
Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” And with that he breathed on them… - John 20:19-22
SCRIPTURE: John 20:19-22
We love to make Judas into a dark villain. But he wasn't evil as much as an inept, misguided control freak. That's what is so scary. He wasn't that much different than us.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 26:20-25
The old rugged cross brings atonement, which is at-one-ment. It is subtitionary and sacrificial, and the ultimate act of love.
SCRIPTURE: John 19:16-30
It is said that other artists paint people on the outside, while Bosch paints them on the inside. The cross is the greatest revelation of the utter depth of human evil. But it's also the great source of God's redemptive love.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 26:57-68
Many of us become Christians without knowing what we are getting into. Like Simon of Cyrene, we show just up at the parade and only later discover that we are asked to bear the cross.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 9:23-24
Jesus was crucified by a gutless bureaucrat trying to hang on to his job. He tried desperately to stay in control, never realizing Jesus had a better kind of power to offer.
SCRIPTURE: John 18:33-19:5
In Dali's painting, the cross is a triangle pointed as a gift toward Earth. Salvation is a gift from God. It's not a little of me and a lot of God. It's all God. It's our job to receive it.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 5:21
Watch and listen: God may send you a new set of life directions. Don't discount them. you're a strategic person in God's plan to save the world, and now is a strategic moment.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 8:26-40
When we live as followers of Jesus in mission and community with others around the world, we live a life woven together in friendship.
Note: guest preacher Jonathan Reckford will preach in all three Sanctuary services.
SCRIPTURE: Romans 1:12
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 28:16-20
For many, the environment is the issue of our time. Contrary to popular opinion, the Christian vision gives a much stronger case for loving and preserving the environment than does today's post enlightenment, mechanistic view of nature.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:13-14
The message of Acts 2 is that "people liked what they saw." Now, Christianity is seen as uncool. Yet Jesus is cool. MLK is cool. Where do we go to get our coolness factor back?
In this increasingly post-Christian culture, is the local church still the hope of the world? Is this movement launched by Jesus 2,000 years ago still God’s plan for bringing renewal to our cities, and to the world? Join us as we explore what it means to be a Christ-centered church with a heart for the city.
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 29:4-7
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. - Hebrews 10:23
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 10:22-25
The gospel is bearing fruit and growing. Aslan is on the move. What will we do to join in the movement of the gospel in the year to come? What steps will we take to live a life worthy of the Lord?
SCRIPTURE: Colossians 1:3-14
A tingle of fear is in order on Christmas Eve. It’s an evening when we step inside the curtain into the Holy of Holies. Coming close to God is not a completely comforting idea. Baby Jesus is the God of the Universe. At the cradle of the Christ child we’re transformed and will never be the same again. Fools do rush where angels fear to tread. Let’s go. Christmas is the invitation to draw near to God. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence.” (Hebrews 4:16)
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:9
SCRIPTURE: Galatians 4:4-7
The message of Christmas and the Narnia Tales is that smallness is no barrier to greatness. Weakness is no disqualifier from glory.
SCRIPTURE: Micah 5:2-4
Have you ever gotten a bad gift? Just like the serpent’s gift of the fruit to Eve, the Witch gave Edmond the very bad gift of Turkish Delight. Evil appears as something good, and we are promised to become like God.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 3:1-7
Do you feel hopeless? Does the world feel hopeless? What if God were on the move in your life? The evil witch controls Narnia, but "Aslan is on the move."
Every Thanksgiving we ask, “What can I bring?” We ask the same question before God. The answer is, nothing. He only requires that we do justice, love kindness, and walk with him in humility.
SCRIPTURE: Micah 6:8
The biblical call to 'love mercy' is not just a greeting card reminder. Jesus confronts us with a courageous challenge to be a people whose lives are marked by compassionate love for all.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:25-37
What makes you angry? Potholes, spam on your computer? Injustice angers God. Things like the deaths of millions of children from preventable diseases, the deaths of Christians for their faith and the wasting of the minds of children. Sometimes it’s a sin not to be angry.
SCRIPTURE: Amos 5:11-15, 21-24
We've got "red letter" editions of the Bible that highlight what Jesus said. We need a "green letter" edition of Christ followers who demonstrate what Jesus did.
SCRIPTURE: Acts 9:1-19
Jesus says not to store up treasures on earth. Why not? Because treasures are bad? No. Because treasures won't last.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:19-21
You don't need more information. As a follower of Jesus, you have everything you need for a life of transformation, already within you.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:28-34
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 6:1-13
Seeds are about power. Hidden, unassuming power. The Clark Kent of nature.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 4:26-34
Broken and strained relationships are the sources of our greatest misery. The good news is that healthy relationships is at the heart of Jesus' teaching.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:8, 20-26
Sex isn't one thing to one person and something else to somebody else. God's limits on sexual expression are there to protect something incredibly desirable: you and your happiness.
The sadness of secularism would be living in a vast universe of emptiness. "Heaven" is the ambient space around us.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 4:23-5:5
This is not a matter of winning Gid's approval by works. It's embracing the good news of Jesus' message to such an extent that we live his heavenly reality every day.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 7:24-29
Kindness is being practically generous. It doesn’t just mean loving. It doesn’t just mean you have this sense of feeling for someone. It means you put your time, you put your money, you put your talents, you put your deeds where your heart is.
SCRIPTURE: 1 John 3:16-20
How do you handle difficult people? We do have them don’t we? The kind of people you just have to thank God for-- because every time you are with them you find yourself calling on the name of the Lord!
SCRIPTURE: Acts 15:36-41
We work, work, work, work to the neglect of our health, our marriage, our family, and God. According to the Sabbath commandment, we’re supposed to take a day off every week. Yet how can anybody be successful taking a whole day off every week?
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:8-11
You may recall that classic Disney movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. "Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work we go!" You’ve probably also seen the bumpersticker that says, "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go." Which is it for you?
SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:22-24
Whether we admit it or not, we often have a grim picture of normal everyday life as “The Grind, ” where we get breaks from the grind called vacations when we get to go away and really live. That’s not the Christian life. We’re to have ongoing, unceasing love and joy and peace through our fellowship with God. How do we achieve this?
SCRIPTURE: John 15:5-8
When summer ends, we wonder where it went. As adults, we recognize that summer isn’t endless, and that time that once seemed ongoing in fact passes quickly. How do we live in a way that redeems the time, and makes the most of our days?
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 5:15, Luke 12:54-56
We are a traveling people. The question is, do we sing on the way?
SCRIPTURE: Mark 12:28-34
Summer means water, at lakes and beaches. Water quenches a need for leisure and a need of thirst, when we are dehydrated, physically and spiritually.
SCRIPTURE: John 4:1-14
Like a good garden that produces abundance beyond measure, God’s goodness gives us more than we know what to do with.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 3:14-21
Summertime is our easiest living, the time when we are least hurried and worried by the pressures of life. In summer, we get a fuller glimpse at the rhythm of Sabbath keeping.
Many of us remember summers of childhood with fondness. Memory is a significant part of the life of faith, as well, enabling us to look back on blessings of the past, with graces received and lessons learned.
SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 8:11f
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 103:13
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 121
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 78:4-7
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 10
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 127:3
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 119:9-16
Celebrating the life of going not knowing, where life’s greatest moments happen.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 12:1-5
In a week of serious doubts and crisis, where do we find God?
Reconciling science and the mystery of faith in God. Scientists have been climbing the mountain of knowledge for centuries. When they get to the top, the theologians will be already sitting there.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 8
Anyone who puts his or her whole trust in God is going to have times when God doesn’t seem to be there. Why? God works by a higher wisdom and plan than we do.
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Celebrate Easter with us!
Children’s programs are available at all services. Enjoy triumphant musical selections with brass, organ, and choir. All are invited to join the Chancel Choir in singing the Hallelujah Chorus at the end of the service.
SCRIPTURE: John 20:24-29
On Palm Sunday, we celebrate King Jesus, entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Although he was crucified five days later, he then rose again, and reigns in our hearts and over this world as King Forever.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 21:7
The beloved biped. That's us. The final commandment in our series reflects on God's basic provision to not murder one another. (#6)
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 5:21-22
Of Headlines and Heartaches: Thou shall not bear false witness.
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:16
Don't touch my stuff! Two of the ten commandments reflect on our relationship with our things: Thou shall not steal (#8) and Thou shall not covet your neighbor’s things. (#10)
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:15, 17
Parents are love's training wheels. This weekend reflects on the fifth commandment: Honor your father and your mother.
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 6:1-4
Sabbath: Unplug (Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, #4) is a critically important commandment. It is the only commandment with an explanation from God.
The Sacredness of Words reflects on two commandments: Thou shall not take the name of the Lord in vain (#3) and Thou shall not commit adultery (#7).
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:7, 14
The first week of the series is Monotheism, based on the first two commandments: Thou shall have no other gods before me (#1) and Thou shall not make any graven image (#2).
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 20:2-6
The gospel calls us to selfless acts of servant love and sacrifice for others. Unbroken Christians can be counted on to help each other. Like heroic prisoners of war we serve and sacrifice for one another.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 2:1-11
It’s one thing to endure pain and prison. It’s quite another to exude joy while behind bars. Most of us live with mood swings based on circumstances. What are the secrets of unbroken joy?
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 4:1, 4-7
“This one thing I do...” In praise of single tasking. Narrow your focus in 2013. To remain unbroken in prison, Paul stayed focused. So did Louis Zamperini. Progress only comes through relentless focus and total commitment.
SCRIPTURE: Philippians 3:1-14
In the end, Frosty disappears and the children are downcast, until he leaves them with a promise, “to be back again someday.” Bet you never thought of Frosty the Snowman and the Second Coming in the same sentence.
The great Christmas stories last not because they’re cute but because every year, they offer important reminders. Like the famous green monster whose name has come to represent the moment our heart grows a few sizes, when we learn How the Grinch Found Christmas.
SCRIPTURE: Matthew 1:18-25
The Scrooge is an icon of humbug, the embodiment of “oh, bother,” when we look at our seasonal schedules and extra expenses. For most of us, at some point during Christmas, we acquire Ebenezer’s Empathy Disorder, becoming like the miserly crumudgeon in Jesus’ parable. Learning to see beyond the stuff to the needs of others is a key to grasping the true meaning of the season.
SCRIPTURE: Luke 16:19-31
Instead of a harmless children’s story, perhaps our favorite reindeer is really a lowly figure raised up. Like the shepherds in the fields at night, everything changes when Rudolph Sees the Light.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
At Christmas, we buy and wrap; we eat; we excessively decorate; we attend parties. All of it is perhaps just an effort to manufacture a little joy in our lives. When we look to Santa Claus to be our joy maker, all we get is Santa's Merry Meltdown.
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 91
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 1:3-11, 18-23
SCRIPTURE: Mark 12:13-17
SCRIPTURE: Luke 12:13-21
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4:25-32
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 37
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 25:24-34
SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 6:6-11
SCRIPTURE: Romans 1:16-20; 3:21-25
SCRIPTURE: Romans 8:28-31
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:12-17, Psalm 139:7-18
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 32:22-31
SCRIPTURE: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27