Sermon Series: Heavenly Virtues

1/11 - 2/23/2020

Some of our most dominant social values today are education, success, and wealth — what we may call “Achievement Values.”  We may be "successful," but how often do we consider the state of our souls? This seven-week series helps us shift from from achievement values to heavenly virtues, or what author David Brooks calls eulogy virtues. These form the foundation of a life rooted in faith.

Connection Group Materials

Call-to-action handout


2/22 - 2/23/2020 | Humility

The issue of humility is difficult because we think we are greater than we are, at the expense of recognizing the greatness of God, or we think we are lesser than we are, at the expense of recognizing the person God made. Jesus, having all the power of God, did not exploit that to become greater on this Earth, instead becoming a servant. Conversely, Isaiah initially tried to evade the call of God.

2/15 - 2/16/2020 | Kindness

Truthfully, most of us aren’t cruel, at least not like a movie villain. However, we can offer a weak form of interaction with others, never engaging our heart and only trying to "check a box" to make sure we meet expectations. We can only truly be kind when we first see the worth of those around us. As Jesus describes it, we serve Christ by loving and serving others.

2/8 - 2/9/2020 | Patience

Job experiences an immense amount of loss in a very short time. He grieves and mourns his losses, but does he truly express his honest thoughts and emotions? Eventually, he explodes in anger towards God in a way that isn’t helpful. What would have happened if Job had shown enough patience to grieve and express his frustration?

2/1 - 2/2/2020 | Temperance

Fasting is a crucial part of our faith journey when we choose not to satisfy our cravings, to connect with Christ in his suffering and to realize our identities are not centered in worldly things. However, God gives us all the gifts of creation; they are a “right, good and joyful thing.” How do we find a balance between these two seemingly opposite commands?

Challenge Tasks

First Level | Identify something you overindulge in or underindulge. Give that up/Take that up for the week.

Next Level | Tell someone about it, and ask them to keep you accountable.

1/25 - 1/26/2020 | Justice

With wisdom, we find courage, and with courage we learn justice, which is what happens when we take a stand for the least and the lost among us. To do this, we need to recognize what needs to be done and the unique ways we can act. Though she could have turned a blind eye, Pharaoh’s daughter rescued Moses because she had both the courage and the position to act.

Challenge Tasks

First Level | Google and reflect on the life of William Wilberforce: “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

Next Level | Sign up to volunteer with the Storehouse ministry.

1/18 - 1/19/2020 | Courage

With an internal compass to understand wisdom, we discover courage to speak up for what is right. However, the source of bravery isn't our own strength but God: our protector, our shield, our stronghold. We become cowardly when we depend on ourselves for courage: we lose faith and falter. We become rash and fool ourselves into thinking we don't need God’s grace.

Challenge Tasks

First Level | Watch Hidden Figures.

Next Level | Talk to someone you see every day but don’t interact with. Ask them about their life; listen to their story.

1/11 - 1/12/2020 | Wisdom

The first of the classic “cardinal virtues” of the faith, wisdom is what the Old Testament writers describe as the basis for understanding God. All good change begins with choices made out of wisdom, which leads to making better choices for your life. How do we learn to be wise? Wisdom comes from the presence of the Lord.

Challenge Tasks:

First Level | Reflect upon an action you made this week. Was this a wise action or not? What could have been done if not?

Next Level | Schedule lunch with someone you see as a mentor or can help make you wise.

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?
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