Sermon Series: Crux

4/28 - 5/26/2019

We tend to look for the satisfaction of a single answer: left or right, pro or con, blue or red. We want one idea to be right and the other idea wrong. The problem is, life isn’t always so clean cut. There are many instances in which it seems impossible to resolve competing claims. The life of following Jesus resists easy either/or thinking. Rather than insisting on one or another, what if we began to think of the big questions differently? In every big question, don’t just look to the usual positions. Look for Jesus. When you find the cross, you find the crux of the matter, and you will experience the fullness of the Christian life.

Messages

5/25 - 5/26/2019 | Sacrifice & Life

One of the most paradoxical of all of Jesus’ teachings is this: “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” How can we lose life by finding it, or find life by losing it? Consider: we spend our lives trying to find the “good life,” yet never achieve the fulfillment we seek. Jesus invites Nicodemus to be born again, but in order to be born again, we must die to the old self first.

5/18 - 5/19/2019 | Power and Love

Is God all-powerful or all-loving? The presence of evil in the world would seem to nullify one or the other: either God is all-powerful but allows sin, and therefore doesn’t fully love us, or God is all-loving but lacks power to remove sin. Since it is hard to reconcile the two, we tend to minimize one at the expense of the other. How are we to resolve the tension between a God who can do anything and a God who is pure love?

5/11 - 5/12/2019 | Gift and Responsibility

5/4 - 5/5/2019 | Sorrow & Joy

Somehow, we Christians have come to believe the idea that when we follow Jesus, our life should be free from trouble. Yet Jesus, nor the Scriptures, ever make such a promise. In fact, the Bible tells us that to everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven, including both mourning and laughing. What if the full Christian life includes both sorrow and joy - sometimes at the same time?

4/27 - 4/28/2019 | Faith & Works

Salvation comes through faith alone. This is a basic concept of Christian faith and was the cornerstone of the Protestant reformation 500 years ago. Yet, as German theologian and Nazi resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminded us, grace without response is cheap. God’s mercy compels us to act. How are we to resolve the tension between the call to simply believe and the call to do something about it?

All Series

More Than Conquerors
5/14 - 6/19/2022
In the early first century, culturally speaking, everything was positioned around the idea that a nation ought to expand and conquer to accumulate power and influence. In this way, the movement that began with Jesus was positioned well to be a religion that was focused on going out in the world, spreading its message to new nations, and converting others to this system of beliefs. The world was primed for a religious movement that would respond to the great commission, and in effect, go forth and conquer. Yet, the church was not about conquering. It did not hope to extinguish and assimilate every other person and culture. Instead, the early church grew on the basis that it had the ability to universally speak to the human condition of brokenness and offer hope and promise in the wake of that very condition. The church would be more than the conquerors. Everyone was coming to believe in the promise of God. The Gospel reached into different cultures, differently idioms and languages altogether. In this message, they preached and believed that Jesus would return again, and would return again sooner rather than later. Nobody could have fathomed the idea that 2000 years into the future, we would still be waiting on this return. They were teaching each other lessons and lifting each other up in the hopes that they would be alive to see the grand return. However, those lessons taught have a practicality that transcends any time period. In growing over this time, the church moved beyond the disciples. What was once an effort of individuals and leaders who had all had direct connections to, and conversations with, the risen Lord now transitioned to a movement of different ages, nations, and races of converted believers who had simply heard the Good News of the Gospel. They would lean on their own spiritual experiences of the divine rather than tangible interactions with God Incarnate. What will leadership look like in this new Church? Who can be a part of this faith movement? What will be required to participate? Most importantly, how do those messages speak to us today?
Appeared
4/23 - 5/8/2022
Easter has come, Christ has been resurrected. We have enjoyed the big celebrations, the Easter egg hunts, and the family meals, but we forget that there was more than an empty tomb after Christ was resurrected. There were more visits than the brief encounter of the women in the garden. A fully resurrected Christ is a free Christ. Jesus could have gone anywhere and done anything after the resurrection, and yet he chose to search for the disciples. Jesus sought out the ones who abandoned and failed him more than anyone else. The ones who swore loyalty disappeared. The ones who followed in his footsteps for three years turned their backs on the suffering Savior. The ones who pledged to help transform the world abandoned the mission in fear and shame. Yet the story of the cross and resurrection is true for each of us through the power of God’s grace: we are more than our worst moments. The worst thing is never the last thing. What might those disciples have been feeling after the cross? Can you imagine the deep silence between them? The shared knowledge of their failures? The unrelenting question: “What now?” Brene Brown defines shame as “an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love, belonging, and connection.” It is not hard to imagine the deep shame of these disciples, one that each of them knew intimately and yet did not want to name. Shame assigns identity based on our worst moments. It thrives on secrecy. It is “the fear that something we’ve done or failed to do, an ideal we’ve not lived up to, or a goal we’ve not accomplished makes us unworthy of connection” (Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart, 137). We see over and over again in the Gospels and Acts scenes of redemption and healing through God’s grace. Jesus could have chosen to abandon the ones who left him at the cross, who pretended they did not even know him, to start from scratch with better disciples. Yet in God’s infinite grace and unrelenting love, the disciples were chosen for connection, relationship, and entrusted with the mission of Christ. Jesus confronts their failures head on. This is the Christian story: our deepest shame is redeemed and we are transformed into world-changing disciples