This Sunday, we will look at what the qualities are of being an Elder in the church. We are all called to live as ambassadors of Christ in this world. A leader in the church is someone who embodies what that looks like. My prayer for this Sunday is that we are all open to hearing the call to be transformed into the image of Christ as we examine what a Shepherding Leader is supposed to look like.
We are part of a Family where we both receive from one another as well as give. No one is above receiving and no one is below giving. All of us have gifts worth giving as we strengthen the body of Christ. We focused this last week on Romans 12 and I want to come back to “Love in Action” (12:9-21) this coming Sunday.
Happy New Year! I’m excited about the possibilities 2018 has in store for us as a Church. This year’s focus is Building Unity in Community. We want to strengthen the unity we have as a Church community so that we can be a blessing to the community around us. We want to build bridges of unity with our neighbors as we strengthen our community in 2018.
Last week we looked at the birth of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel and the hope the incarnation brings to the marginalized. While Luke’s Gospel focuses on Mary’s perspective of Jesus’ birth, Matthew approaches it from Joseph’s perspective. This week, I want to focus on what incarnational living means for the world around us, specifically for the powers of the world. I want to approach Matthew in a different way this week by first looking at Paul’s understanding of the Church in Ephesians.
As we continue to focus on the reality of God becoming flesh in Jesus Christ, we shift our focus to the birth narratives over the next two weeks. Nick did an incredible job pointing us to being God’s presence to others as the “order” that came into the world. We are peace amongst the chaos of a broken creation. This week we shift our focus to Luke’s Birth Narrative and see what we can learn about how to be God’s presence in this world. Take time to read the first two chapters of Luke. You might read a different section each day and focus on what each story tells you about what God is doing in the world. Take a moment to consider the perspective of each character.
There is a watershed movement among the friends and acquaintances of my generation. They are beginning to sell their houses and move across country (and in some cases across the world) so they can live closer to their children. In many cases the motivating factor is their love for their children and grandchildren and their desire to physically “be with them”. There is also the desire to help shape and impact the lives of their children & grandchildren. In other instances, their motivation is a hope for restoration—to mend broken relationships, seek healing, make peace, and reconcile with family members.
Entering into the Christmas season should bring to mind the birth of Christ. Beyond the mass consumerism that has plagued our society is a reminder that God came down to be with us in the flesh so that we might become like him (2 Corinthians 5:21). God becoming flesh in Jesus Christ is called the “Incarnation.”
This week, I want us to look at two healings in the Gospel of John and how people respond to Jesus. There are a lot of characters in these stories but I specifically want you to focus on the paralytic in John 5:1-18 and the blind man in John 9:1-41. I don’t want to write a whole lot on this one because I’d love to hear what you’re seeing in the text. Here are some questions for while you’re reading.
This week we are looking at one of my favorite stories, Mark 5:1-20. To get a more complete picture of what Mark is doing in this section, read Mark 4:35-5:43. Jesus encounters three forces that are completely out of our control: Nature, Spiritual Powers, and Death. There is a question of who Jesus is at the end of the calming of the storm, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” There is a call to faith in the midst of fear. Faith is the belief that God is working in and through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:1 defines it as, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” We all have things we are afraid of, things that motivate us negatively. What are some areas of your life that are out of your control where your faith needs to be strengthened?