Ruth: There is a Redeemer

This Sunday we begin a brief sermon series in the Book of Ruth, where we will meditate on a beautiful story of God’s gracious pursuit of his people. Ruth 1 consists of the story of the suffering and desperation of Naomi and the various hard providences that had come to define her life. Yet in her destitution and hopelessness, the Lord though at times hidden, continues to pursue Naomi in love. The Book of Ruth is the story of God providing redemption to a people desperately in need of it. What seems like a detour from the major storyline of Scripture is actually part of the beginning of God’s ultimate story of redemption as Ruth takes her place among the mothers of Jesus, Israel’s long awaited redeemer.

VBS

Vacation Bible School 2017 is quickly approaching! Kids entering kindergarten through the conclusion of 5th grade are invited to join us the week of June 26th for a week of fun, games, and learning. We’re also always looking for additional helpers to make the week a success. Please speak with Meredith LaBonte or Pastor Robert if you would be willing to volunteer.

You can register today by clicking HERE!

Reading God’s Word Together

For the past six months we have added a new part to our worship service as we read the Psalms together as a congregation. One of our intentions in the worship service is to be saturated in God’s Word and the corporate reading of the Scriptures is a powerful way to do just that. We are all full participants in the service called as men, women, and children to be reoriented according to our identities in Christ. This reorienting work doesn’t consist of merely listening to a sermon, it involves praying, confessing, repenting, and actively responding to God’s grace. In other words, it involves participating.

Part of God’s reorienting heart-shaping work of worship isn’t just about hearing the Word proclaimed to us (important as that is!) but also a time to let God’s Word fill our lips. This is one more movement in the service where we remember our roles and pick up our scripts as those united to Christ in faith. Writer Tish Harrison Warren puts it this way,

I like the parts of the worship service when we talk to each other. In historic liturgy this happens most often through the responsive reading of the Scriptures and responsive prayers. In my church we read the Psalms responsively every week. Instead of just one person reading to everyone else . . . we read together, in turns. Back and forth, we share the same sacred sentences. As we join together in responsive prayer or reading, I look at the faces in the congregation: some rapt, some bored, some pained, many weary. We made it through another week. We are being the church, speaking words of life to each other, showing up for each other. Again.

Let us embrace our high calling as a royal priesthood and holy nation (1 Peter 2:9-10) and speak words of life to each other, week after week.

Spring Sunday School

This week our Spring Sunday School session begins with classes available for kids from pre-school to adults. Our youngest kids class will begin working through a survey of the Bible focusing on how all of the Scriptures ultimately point to Christ, while our older elementary class will be working through the basics of Christianity.

Our adult class will be looking at the topic of covenant theology. We often talk about or allude to covenant theology and so for the next few weeks we will explore what exactly it is and how covenant theology helps us to better read the Bible and discern how we are to live out our day-to-day Christian lives. Hope to see the whole family at 9:30!

Acts: The Church’s One Foundation

This month we return to our study in Acts at what many consider to be the very heart of the book, the Jerusalem Council in chapter 15. This ancient deliberation of the early church that navigated Jew-Gentile relations stands as a central event in redemptive history and is absolutely relevant for the church in every age. Ultimately Acts 15 is all about determining and confessing the very heart of the Gospel. In Acts we read of the church being built up with men and women from the nations joining the body of Christ, not through external rites or obedience to Moses’ law, but through faith in Jesus as the crucified and resurrected Messiah. This is the kind of news and reality that defines a people and has everything to do with how we relate to one another as people of the crucified and risen king!

O that Birth Forever Blessèd

Last Sunday’s sermon was about the hopes, expectations, and faithfulness of Mary, as the angel Gabriel announces to her God’s plan of salvation in the birth of Jesus. The first couple of weeks in this advent series we’ve seen the testimony of creation (Jesus is the firstborn of all creation and the image of the invisible God), the testimony of the prophets (Jesus is Israel’s long-awaited redeemer), and now this week we turn to hear the remarkable testimony of his mother. A testimony that points to her need of the one she would carry in her own body. A testimony that directs our eyes to the God in whom she placed her trust. And a testimony that directs our eyes to the one in whom we find the forgiveness of sins and the promise of his kingdom of which there will be no end.

Listen to it here.

Now He Shines the Long Expected

In our first sermon on Advent, we looked at the cosmically grand reality that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and firstborn of all creation. This week we turn our attention to Jesus as the long-expected Messiah foretold by Israel’s prophets. Far from the incarnation being a kind of Plan B to an initial failed redemption program of God, the Old Testament is the beautiful prelude to the redemptive work of God in Christ. The pages of the Hebrew Bible are filled with anticipation and longing that find their fulfillment in the Word made flesh.

Listen to last Sunday’s sermon here.

He is Alpha and Omega

Yesterday we began a brief new sermon series for the advent season. Using the lesser known ancient Christmas hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,of-the-fathers-love-2” we’ll explore the various aspects of Christ’s person and work as we reflect upon the great event of the incarnation in time and space.

While it might be rare for an advent sermon to begin at the creation of all things, it’s as good a place to start as any as we reflect upon on the incarnation of the Son. The story of Christmas, after all, doesn’t begin with shepherds in a field or a baby in a manger. It begins with the eternal Son of God, who out of infinite love intervened into our world to reconcile all things to himself. Listen to the sermon here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is a holy protest against cynicism, fatalism, doubt, entitlement, self-pity, joyless discontentment, self-sufficiency, and apathy.

– Duke Kwonpraying-hands-1379173656p80

The Light of the World

light-image

 

What does Jesus mean when he announced that he was the light of the world? It’s easy to be so familiar with this kind of famous saying of Jesus that we lose sight of the power and insight these words once had. What we need to be reminded of is that this is far from just a nice religious platitude or sentimental thought, it was instead the declaration that everything had changed. In Jesus,

Israel’s long-awaited promises were being fulfilled in their midst. We, like the original audience who stood before Jesus, have our greatest needs revealed by this great light and ultimately find that he alone can satisfy. Listen to last Sunday’s HERE.

God in Christ has done everything He requires to reconcile sinners to Himself.

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