Paul continues his 2nd missionary journey, and travels to Athens, the birthplace of modern western thought and democracy. In a proud city of extraordinary architecture, art, and culture – one designed to display its great history, people, and ideas, Paul becomes “greatly distressed” by what he observes – in a way reminiscent of God himself, whenever God-given artistry and ability is not attributed and celebrated as grace and gifts from him alone. Since Paul has been transformed by Jesus himself, he is able to deeply understand Athens, and at the same time love Athens with the love of Jesus himself. In so doing, he gives us a clear example of how to engage in our highly nuanced, pluralist culture… blank Starbucks holiday cups and all.
Jesus was a man of prayer so we can learn much from Him when it comes to conversing with God. In this message based on what many people call The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us a framework for prayer that honors God and includes several key priorities to be included our prayers.
When we hear the word, “worship” we often think of music or a Sunday morning service. Throughout the Bible worship is described with words like delight, honor, ascribe supreme worth to, enjoy, give the best of what has been given to us to, and find pleasure in God. This week we look to David, a man after God’s own heart, to see how we can worship God in all spheres of life including, but not limited to, when we gather with others for corporate worship.
As we discovered last week, receiving God’s grace and forgiveness through faith in Jesus leads to a fresh start in a whole new life. Yet, this is just the beginning. After we believe in Jesus, he extends a new invitation, “Abide in me.” To abide means to live in a close continual dependent relationship with our resurrected Christ through the presence of his Holy Spirit who indwells all who put their faith in him. In this message we discover more about this beautiful way of life as well as the rewards for all who rsvp with a “yes” to this incredible invitation.
Today’s service focuses on praising God for inviting ordinary people to join Him in bringing His love to people of every nation until His vision to be glorified throughout the whole earth is fulfilled. We are grateful for and extend a loving welcome to Don and Janet Guizzetti, as well as some of our teens, for joining us today, modeling this way of life and reminding us of this beautiful reality during our service today.
After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared to many people over 40 days. In his final time with his disciples he declared that God’s vision to bless the world was still on track and that they would be a significant part of this plan. As he did in A.D. 30, God’s Holy Spirit empowers followers today to join him in God’s vision to bring people from every language, tongue and tribe to himself through faith in Jesus for the glory of God the Father.
Two of the most famous Biblical stories are (1) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, and (2) Daniel in the Lion’s Den. They both occur during the 70-year period of Israelite exile in Babylon in the 6th century BC, yet these accounts have tremendous value for us today: they show how God brings glory to Himself in the midst of a culture of critics. Any trial in our lives, no matter how big or small, — when met with courage and faith — can become a demonstration of God’s power and creativity. When that demonstration is simply and humbly attributed to Him, the critics that surround us can become witnesses to an undeniable glory, hungry for more (just like Anton Ego in the animated film, Ratatouille).
The Apostle Peter had heard Jesus describe this era as “the end of the age.” Peter, like all of the early Christians, believed Jesus. Even though it has been 2,000 years, it is still the end of this age and this carries certain responsibilities for those of us who are followers of Jesus. In this message we learn about three relational priorities: love for God, love for our neighbors and love for one another while we anticipate Christ’s return.