In the darkness of the sealed tomb, early on the first Easter morning, new life emerged. The heart of Jesus began to beat again. Blood flowed again through his veins, his eyes opened, his feet found the ground, his legs stood, his lungs filled with air. This was resurrection life. Life on the other side of death. Life that could not be suppressed, not by any power on earth or in heaven. And in that moment, the world was changed. Soon the new and risen life of Jesus was witnessed by his friends. They saw and touched him. And they remembered his promise: “because I live, you also shall live.”
At Pentecost, the promise came true. His risen life came upon them. His energy coursed through their veins – his spirit alive in them. His life filled them up and spilled over – the lame were healed, the lonely were loved, and a new humanity took shape – a growing community of “little Christs.” This is the story of the birth of the church, as told in the book of Acts. The risen life of Jesus, poured out upon his people, and carried by them to the ends of the earth. It’s a story we’re still living. The risen life of Jesus is still on the move, still filling up broken vessels like you and me and spilling out into the world.
This fall, we dive into the book of Acts. My prayer is that this won’t just be another sermon series, but something more like a rallying cry – an urgent summons to carry forward what our first Christian forebears began. We’ve been given the same resources – the good news of the gospel, and the living Word of Christ himself, alive in us. And we’re called to the same holy task – to make his life visible on earth as it is in heaven. As we read the stories of Peter and James, Lydia and Priscilla, Paul and Barnabas, the martyr Stephen, the evangelist Phillip – we’re looking into a mirror. These were ordinary people, transformed by Christ to become vessels of his presence. They knew that his good news was a gift that had to be shared. And so my prayer for us is that our study of Acts will shape us and send us, to risk boldly, to live our faith transparently, to carry the risen power of Christ into every sphere of life. At the heart of the church is a mission – not a building or a program or a pastor, but a calling – to be the living presence of Christ together, out loud, in action, wherever we are.
St. Teresa of Avila wrote this: “Christ has no body now but yours.” If we want the world to see him, they’ll have to glimpse him in us. As we jump into another fall season, I pray that his heart might beat more boldly within us, and his life spill out more
widely from us into a world that is thirsty for him.
The story isn’t over. As we trace the “Acts of the Apostles,” may we find our living Lord writing a new chapter, in and through us!
ACTS: Church on the Move series continues in January 2019…
Summer Series: Worship at 10am — ONE Service — through September 2
When it comes to prayer, many of us wonder: am I doing it right? Are my prayers acceptable? Do I pray about the right things, in the right ways? What is prayer supposed to sound like? Jesus and his contemporaries turned to the Book of Psalms as a foundation for prayer, finding in the Psalms a rich testimony of what a prayer-saturated life sounds like. Join us this summer as we follow Jesus’ lead, allowing the Psalms to shape our lives of prayer as we explore what it means to live life in dialogue with our Maker!
- Peace-loving guru?
- Enlightened sage?
- Social revolutionary?
- Pious preacher?
Who is this Jesus we serve?
Does the real Jesus fit the profile we’ve created for him?
Do we see him as he is, or only as we want him to be?
When we look closely at the gospel accounts, we find
a Jesus who doesn’t fit neatly into the boxes we try
to put him in. Only when we lay down our biases and
bow before the real Jesus can we discover his
Join us for a challenging, up-close look at our surprising Savior!
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We call Jesus “Redeemer,” but what does that really mean? Long before the coming of Christ, God began to lay the groundwork for redemption in the lives of his people, weaving stories and images into the history of Israel that point forward to the work Christ would do on the cross. This Lenten season, as we prepare for Holy Week, we will trace this pattern of redemption, seeking a deeper understanding of all that Christ accomplished when he went to the cross for us. We will discover that from its very beginning, the story of scripture is a message of redemption, leading us straight to Calvary, the tomb, and the glory of Easter! Read More »
Our current scripture focus is the book of I Corinthians. No other New Testament book speaks as powerfully to both the importance, and the challenge, of Christian community. Paul’s letter reveals just how messy and conflicted the Corinthian congregation often was.
Rather than sugarcoat these realities, Paul helps us see the genius of God’s design for church: in the midst of the mess, we get softened and shaped, humbled and held, in such a way that our character becomes more like that of Christ. Just as a rock tossed into a tumbler with a bunch of other rocks gets knocked around, only to emerge polished and perfected, so our fellowship becomes a “gospel tumbler” in which we can become our best and most beautiful selves.
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Summer Fruit Sermon Series. “Quit trying so hard!” This was my buddy’s thoughtful advice as I flailed my arms back and forth trying to get line to spool from my fly reel. “Stop thrashing! Let the equipment do the work.” Fly fishing, like many physical endeavors, is less about making something happen than about learning to allow it to happen: tilt the rod back, release forward, and the line simply spools out – the less effort, the better the outcome. Read More »
“Connect the Dots” Sermon Series with Weekly Bible Readings
Read Your Bible!! This reading guide traces the main events, themes and characters in the Bible from start to finish. Readings will be discussed and addressed in weekly class sessions (Sundays, 9:30 and 11) and explored in the Sunday sermon.
“The Bible has a storied history. Martyrs have died to uphold it. Missionaries spend their lives translating it into obscure tribal dialects. “Your word is better to me” says the Psalmist “than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Ps. 119). The importance and value of God’s written word is hard to overstate. Read More »
Who am I? What is my identity? It’s impossible to answer these questions apart from the relationships that define our lives: the people we come from, the people we live with, the people we serve. We know who we are only through relationship. And behind all of our human relationships stands one great, primary relationship: our relationship to our Maker. When we start to ask “who am I?” we stand before an even deeper question: who is God? And who am I, in relationship to him? Read More »
I once asked a respected pastor friend how he plans out his preaching. He said “I try to make sure that someone attending regularly over a five year period would be exposed to the whole story of scripture, Old and New Testaments.” I have been heeding his advice ever since.
You cannot grasp the story of scripture without a good sense of its primary characters, and David is close to the top of the list. The reign of King David was the pinnacle of Israel’s history. His career shows us both the enormous possibilities and the devastating weaknesses of human power. To meet King David is to meet a “man after God’s own heart” (I Sam. 13:14). But David’s weaknesses ultimately pave the way for the coming of a greater King – the “son of David,” Jesus himself. Read More »
The final days of Jesus’ life took the form of a journey. Jesus, having spent several years ministering throughout Judea and Samaria, reached a decisive moment: the time to “set his face toward Jerusalem.” He knew what he would find there: hostile authorities, calloused Romans, and the Cross. Yet he chose to go, and he didn’t look back.
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