Sermon Series: The Main Thing

3/5 - 4/9/2017

With God’s vision for all people in mind, now the work begins. New visions are exciting and easy to follow, but it’s after the glow has faded when we must become committed.  Our challenge, to use the old saying, is to know and keep the main things of life: to keep our eyes on the summit and our spirits committed to the work ahead.

Messages

4/9/2017 | A Generous Thing

What do you get when you climb halfway up a mountain? Nothing except discomfort - cold, wet misery. There are no halfway commitments to reaching the summit. You must decide to go all the way if you go at all. The widow who gave her last coin knew what it meant to keep the main thing the main thing.

4/2/2017 | A Faithful Thing

We long for the rare moments of clarity and joy, when life seems perfect and we’re without worry. These moments are mountaintop glimpses of God’s presence. But like the disciples in the story of the Transfiguration, Jesus calls us back down the mountain to the hurting, lost and lonely in the valley.

3/26/2017 | A Lonely Thing

The space in-between glorious vision and final fulfillment can be long and lonely. God appeared to Abraham, but then years passed while he lived as an immigrant, waiting for the promise to come to pass. It’s no coincidence that the name of the valley in between the mountains of Judah was the In Between. It’s for the in-betweens of life that God gives us community.

3/19/2017 | A Brave Thing

Ask any climber - it’s no small thing to walk away from a comfortable tent and toward extreme physical conditions on the side of a mountain. What motivates them? The joy up on the summit, yes, but also the struggle on the way, too. Similar discoveries await the one with spiritual courage, such as with Micaiah, the lone prophet who would speak truth to power, and the apostles, who stood before the Sanhedrin, life in their hands, knowing they must obey God over any human authority.

3/12/2017 | A Now Thing

Most of the time, it’s not too hard to find several solid excuses for what we really just don’t want to do. A man once came to Jesus with as good of an excuse as you’ll find - he had to attend to his father’s funeral. Jesus knows not only our circumstances, but our hearts. He knows that there’s no halfway mark when it comes to full commitment. You either do it, or you don’t. The only way to experience God’s presence is to move - now.

3/5/2017 | A Crazy Thing

It’s dangerous to pull the stops out, to put all of your eggs in a single basket, to double down. Some say it’s prudent, even wise, to “keep your options open.” But you’ll never experience the summit while hanging out in camp. It may seem crazy, but risking it all is exactly what Jesus asked the disciples to do. If you want to get to the summit, you’ve got to leave comfort behind.

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