Sermon Series: We Are The Church

4/11 - 5/31/2020

“The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is the people.” As we live into a time when our church buildings stand empty, as choir lofts sit silent and hymns are unsung, as pews are not filled with loving community, we need this simple reminder: the church is not a building, the church is the people. We’re getting back to the basics by diving into the lectionary texts that churches around the world will read together during difficult circumstances. We will learn from ancient Christians who knew how to be the church without buildings, pews, or altars of their own. We are the church, together.

Messages

5/30 - 5/31/2020 (May 30/31, 2020) | Pentecost

Pentecost is the birthday of the church. Christ was crucified, rose again, spent thirty days with his disciples, then ascended to heaven. Pentecost takes place 40 days after Easter Sunday and is a day of celebration. The purest meaning of Pentecost is that of a time of renewal for Christian believers. It’s a day focused on evangelism, empowerment from the Holy Spirit, deeper intimacy with God, and fellowship. The celebration of Pentecost imparts faith, hope, a sharing of community, and an awareness of a purpose much greater than ourselves.

5/23 - 5/24/2020 (May 23/24, 2020) | Easter Isn’t Easy

The disciples must have been thrilled to have Jesus back. Their simple and impatient question reveals it all: “Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now?” Their anxious readiness for redemption leads to impatient prodding. When will Jesus give us the final victory? How can we persevere when he isn’t with us physically? Why won’t he do what we want him to?

5/16 - 5/17/2020 (May 16/17, 2020) | Transformation is Always Possible

The words we read in today’s scripture are spoken by the man we read about last week who simply stood by and watched the first martyr be killed. Between these two passages, the worst enemy of the Gospel became God’s most outspoken witness. He, the most unexpected candidate, found transformation in Christ. We can too.

5/9 - 5/10/2020 (May 9/10, 2020) | Courageous Witness

In the face of the worst and most difficult circumstances, Stephen persevered in his witness. While we focus this week on the climactic end of Stephen’s journey, his courageous witness began long before his martyrdom. How do we choose to be brave like Stephen, not just in the big moments, but in every moment?

5/2 - 5/3/2020 (May 2/3, 2020) | Simple Practices

As Wesleyan Christians, we hold to the belief that we are always going on to Christian perfection. Are we truly devoted to the teachings of scripture, to sharing meals, to prayer and thanksgiving? What do these practices develop within us? “A sense of awe came over everyone.” When was the last time we allowed ourselves to be “awed” by God, not because of magnificent church buildings or events, but in the simple practices of our faith?

4/25 - 4/26/2020 (April 25/26, 2020) | The Gift of the Spirit

While we are trinitarian people, we don’t often get the chance to focus on the third person of the Trinity. What is the gift of the Spirit? How does the Spirit show up in our lives? How do we recognize and connect with the Spirit? In this time of social distancing, we are called to realize what bonds us together is stronger than proximity: the Spirit makes us the Body of Christ.

4/18 - 4/19/2020 (April 18/19, 2020) | Confidence in Christ

What brings us through difficult times? Confidence in Christ. Not that Jesus will solve all of our problems, but that God is fully present with us in all circumstances. As we read, we will focus specifically on vs. 25-28. We are called to have confidence in Christ, but how do we cultivate that within ourselves?

4/12/2020 (April 11/12, 2020) | Easter Sunday

The church is a people that continues on throughout history, even after the biggest setback of Christ dying. Because God never leaves us, we can always continue on.

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