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Forever Changed 2

Week 2 (Feb 25): Nicodemus
Imagine spending your whole life at the top of your profession only to discover that you really didn’t understand the profession at all. This is the story of Nicodemus.
As a Pharisee of Pharisees, Nicodemus is thought of as one of the great religious leaders of his time. As a Pharisee, his focus would have been upholding the law and ensuring that all of Israel did the same. One evening, under the cover of darkness, Nicodemus seeks out Jesus and pursues insights to explain the miracles that he sees taking place. Jesus challenges Nicodemus by explaining that being born again would be required for one to see the kingdom of heaven. This statement temporarily breaks Nicodemus’ thought pattern but ultimately leads to a life that is, Forever Changed.
Nicodemus had to be willing to sift through his theology and allow the heart of his tradition to be challenged. What theological constructs in our lives need to be considered in light of Christ? What traditions have we held on to that need to be let go? And, how do we allow the Gospel message to forever shape our lives?

Forever Changed 1

Week 1 (Feb 18): Week one of Forever Changed connects us to the life of Matthew. This disciple turned apostle started his journey off as one that was ostracized from religious life because of his career choice. Matthew’s decision to be a tax collector found him shut out of synagogue worship and the normal ebb and flow of community life. No doubt, ridicule by religious leaders and scriptural authorities would have left a mark on this life. Thoughts of church hurt and self-righteousness permeate the landscape of his gospel account.

One of the most striking facts of Matthew’s future ministry would be his inclusion of 99 different quotes from ancient scripture in his account. This number reveals a vast knowledge of Tora and seems improbable from one who was denied community worship and would have been forced to search truth outside the normal constructs of faith. But clearly, when Jesus calls Matthew, Matthew was ready to respond. Did he finally discover authenticity? Did he finally find the one that scripture spoke of? What caused Matthew to leave a lucrative world and wade into a life of service to the Lord? One thing is for certain, when Matthew met Jesus, his life was Forever Changed.

When you Pray 2

In week two of the series “When we Pray” we will take a look at the Lord’s Prayer as it is found in the Gospel according to Matthew. Jesus provides a framework for his disciples on how to pray. This framework not only orients our hearts toward our heavenly father but also toward the community we belong to as Christ followers. We will explore a practical application of the Lord’s Prayer to one another as we participate in the body of Christ.

When You Pray 1

Have you ever considered why Jesus taught us to pray the way he did? In the first week of When You Pray we will explore Luke 11 and dive into the heart of Jesus’ lesson on prayer given to his disciples. We will discuss the importance of how we orient our hearts on our faith journey, ensuring our spiritual rhythms do not become empty repetition, wrestle with what role persistence has in our pursuit of God, and consider the relationship God has invited us to participate in.

Forever Changed -Philip 3

Come and see! This week in our series, Forever Changed, we focus on Philip. Clearly, Philip was a visual learner. His desire to know God set him on a quest that started with his connection to John the Baptist but ultimately led to him being a disciple of Jesus. In this transition, Philip drug his friends along by inviting them to, “Come and see.”

Throughout the course of his life, Philip seemed to ask probing questions that stemmed from a desire to find a deeper connection to faith. On one such occasion, Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father. Philip’s question led to our deeper understanding that Jesus in fact was the revealing of the Father. His persistence in asking, his willingness to listen, and his heart to change ultimately led Philip to a place where he became one of the first apostles to carry the message to Samaria (Acts 8). This region received his message in such a way that it was said that people were hearing and seeing the signs that he did. Who would have guessed that a person so bent on seeing would be the one that others would gather to see?

What are we asking for God to show us? What is it that God has done that we are unable to see? And, How can we be more like Philip by inviting others to come and see?

Speal Life 4

As we close out the Speak Life sermon series, we turn our hearts to Ezekiel 37. It is easy to mistakenly think that our ability to speak life is derived from ourselves. If we truly believe that Jesus is the author of life, then we must know that our capacity to Speak Life is derived from our obedience to say the words that God gives us to speak. God has Ezekiel survey a valley of dry bones and asks one simple question: Can these bones come to life? God’s question and Ezekiel’s response reveal the true source of life as found only in God. As we study this scripture, I pray that we focus not on the mere nature of Speaking but rather on Life.

Speak Life 3

In our study this week, we will focus on the transition of power from Moses to Joshua. What does it mean to Speak Life in crucial moments like this one? Our text takes us through Deuteronomy 31:1-8 and Joshua 1:1-9. The encouragement to be strong and courageous permeates the entire text. As we consider this encouragement, we must realize that in order to truly be strong and courageous we must anchor out strength and courage in the Lord. Speaking Life is not just being positive, it must be connected to the heart and nature of God. Moses is clear to Speak Life while reminding Joshua of the importance of allowing God to be the constant in the life of Israel. It seems that we should do the same.

Speak Life 2

Choosing to speak life is not always the easiest thing to do. In some instances, we may find that our voice is not heard or has even been marginalized. In our scripture this week, we will unpack a story in which voiceless servants are the ones that Speak Life. God uses these voices and their words to heal a person that you would not expect God to heal. 2 Kings 5:1-19 challenges all of the social norms about whether or not standing in society should limit your ability to speak or God’s ability to bring life.

Speak Life 1

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In an election year that will be full of divisive and hurtful political posturing, we commit to Speak Life. This series focuses on key moments in the Biblical text when life was spoken and God’s plan was realized.