In this sermon, I will share some exciting news about our way forward as a church. The Reynoldsburg church will take intentional steps to grow current disciples and t make new disciples. These steps are met with the growing challenges of being a church in the 21st century. We continue to assert in faith that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine.
Starting with a description of God’s character (Exodus 34:6-7), we will launch into this series by making the case that it is of paramount importance to believe, embrace and embody God’s character first. When we live into God’s character, the natural outflow should be the sharing of God’s character, particularly His grace.
Will we intend to follow in the footsteps of the early Jesus followers, who were adamant about living lives that reflected their allegiance to risen Christ. Informing people about God’s kingdom is not done exclusively through preaching or teaching. We can do this through our service and our presence. Frost offers many examples for Christians to follow. In this concluding sermon, we will challenge the church to embrace a new habit of being Sent.
It is a blessing that we are a church that places a high emphasis on Bible reading and study. Having said that, many of us struggle to make time with our Bibles a priority. This sermon will not only encourage a robust re-engagement with scripture, it will also be an invitation to spend a weekly time learning about Jesus by reading the gospels, books about Jesus or watching films and videos about Jesus. The church will be challenged to embrace a new habit of Learning about Jesus.
Busyness is robbing us all of enjoying a life in the Spirit. Our busy schedules and subsequent fatigue means we don’t allow time for silence, solitude, meditation, prayer and listening. In this sermon, we will highlight the benefit of listening for God’s voice. The church will be challenged to embrace a new habit of listening.
The Bible is rich with the theme of hospitality. God first demonstrated hospitality in the garden when he welcomed Adam and Eve to eat and partake of the food in Eden. We are reminded through the ministry of Jesus and the early church that eating with others represents a best of a hospitable spirit. The church will be challenged to embrace a new habit of eating.
Flowing out of the previous series on sharing, we begin this new journey by continuing the conversation about generosity. God’s call to his people is to be a “blessing” to the nations. Given our possession of the riches of God’s generosity, we have so much to give in terms of blessing others. This sermon serves as the introduction to the series as well as the first challenge to embrace a new habit of Blessing.
On this Sunday, those involved in the missions to Guyana and Honduras will share their ministries with the church. In highlighting these missions, we will see the importance of sharing God’s real estate (the globe) with others.
The generosity of God is on full display in our lives. Even the poor among us possess a wealth that is not experienced in most parts of the world. How does the community of God view their wealth and how willing are we to share this wealth with others?
The community of God loves worshipping God. The gracious and loving God has invited us into his presence to worship. Do we see the import of sharing this invitation with others to be a part of God’s gathering?
Starting with a description of God’s character, we will launch into this series by making the case that it is of paramount importance to believe, embrace and embody God’s character first. When we live into God’s character, the natural outflow should be the sharing of God’s character, particularly His grace.
On the second Sunday of Advent, we probe our struggle with belief. We will be prodded to examine our struggle of belief, and the incredible blessing of belief. Using the movie, “The Polar Express”, we will be challenged to be awakened to a deeper faith in the promises of God by believing that his appearance to the world
Today is the first day of Advent. Today we began the lighting of the first Advent Candle as we journey towards the Christmas season. In the first sermon of Awaken, we focus on the fourth reading of the Lectionary texts. In 1 Corinthians, Paul highlights in his greetings that God has gifted and equipped the people of God for a special purpose. Using the film “It’s A Wonderful Life” as a backdrop, we will encourage everyone to accept their place in God’s story and within the story of the people with whom they have had interaction.
In this concluding sermon, we explore the place of wisdom in the Psalms of Orientation. Psalm 133 is a Psalm that celebrates the Jews ascent to Jerusalem for the three Jerusalem festivals. It was a celebration of kindred minds, hearts and spirits joined together in the celebration of God. May we be reminded of the beauty, power and necessity of being one in God’s kingdom. May we unite in purpose, in passion of God and in pursuit of Holiness as God’s chosen ones.
Highlighted by Psalms like Psalm 136, many Psalms of Orientation are simply expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for all the activity of God. As we enter into seasons of thanksgiving and gift giving, may we be reminded that we have been oriented as people who give thanks.
Many of the orientation Psalms profess outright trust in God, even in the face of adversity, trial and calamity. We follow God because he has demonstrated time and time again that he is able to defeat the foe, calm the storm and make a way when there seems to be no other way.
God’s Law is at the heart of the people of God's commitment and devotion. We are not speaking merely of written words or words on tablets, for God’s Law comes from God. They are in essence God. For the believer, following God’s Law is just right. It is an expression of right orientation. In this sermon, we will read aloud all of Psalm 119 with limited commentary. It is our desire to simply breathe in the beauty of God’s Law.
More than anything, the Psalms remind the people of God that we are a worshiping community. Some of the Psalms of Orientation are promptings to worship God with excitement, exuberance and energy. How does our worship give testimony to the world about who God is and who His people are?
God’s creation has always been at the heart of prompting faithful response and worship. In this introductory sermon, we will reintroduce Brueggeman’s theology of the Psalms with focus on Psalms of Orientation. We will read and respond to a few creation psalms and commit to worship the God who made it all.
Most of us are great at talking theory and theology. We know the buzzwords and jargon that make us sound like we get it. But the harsh truth that Paul lays before us is that theory and practice are far from interchangeable and are most definitely not equal.
The Way of Jesus as lived out in the life of a disciple is not merely a set of beliefs to verbally affirm. It is a lifelong, daily, excruciatingly taxing commitment to living like Jesus, no matter what the cost.
Our longing for home need not come and go in accordance with the stuff that goes on in this world. Our longing for home is the embrace of our true identity and our true citizenship. It is with that faithful embrace that we are able to leave behind what we used to be and to take on what we are meant to be.
Even though Jesus had full rights as God, he did what was best for us. He became a slave for us. He chose us over choosing to be right. Could it be that Paul is challenging the “combatants” in the struggles in the Christian community to become comrades by giving up their right to be right? Could it be that Paul is challenging those who are gripped with the perceived shame associated with “giving in” to compare their shame with the humiliation of Christ? What would happen if when we disagreed, we chose to be Christ rather than “right”? What if we chose to be Christ rather than being passionate about winning an argument? What if we were in tune with being Christ, rather than getting our way?
When we make room, the Holy Spirit can give us peace that passes all understanding. This peace doesn't erase or negate our confusion, conflict or chaos, but peace becomes the static presence that helps sustain us.
This is a repeated directive throughout the New Testament. We are prone to compete and tear each other down, but a body that is not easily broken is one that places a premium on encouragement and building one another up. What greater things can the church accomplish by cultivating a culture of encouragement?
Most of the one another passages are positive directives. (i.e., Do this...). There are some that encourage the body not to do things (e.g., don't lie to each other, do grumble against each other). We will explore the "do not" list and connect how the "do nots" promote loving relationships in the body.
Everyone in the body has his/her own struggles and issues. As we live in community with each other, it is incumbent upon the members of the body to share in each other's suffering. This can be a messy proposition, but it is the call of God for his people.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone." That quote captures the tragedy of a community who lives together with unconfessed sin. Some argue that confession is heartbreakingly missing from our community. Yet, freedom from sin and a vigorous life together may be stimulated when we confess our sins and pray for one another.
In Paul's letter to the Romans, he lays out some heavy agenda items that have been the source of theological query for centuries. But underneath the heavy theological mysteries are simple urges to this growing Christian community to get along with each. We will explore what it means to be devoted to one another as well as explore some of the other "one another" pleas in Romans
In the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, we are prompted to ask for God’s forgiveness, while we are actively forgiving others. Forgiveness is wired into the DNA of a follower of Jesus. Forgiveness in the body of Christ is crucial in maintaining a healthy movement of God. How does God’s forgiveness inform the way we forgive one another?
This oft repeated phrase was one of the concluding directives given by Jesus to his apostles. It is no wonder that this phrase is repeated throughout the New Testament and stands at the core of relational health in the body of Christ. How can love reinforce the bond between brothers and sisters in Christ?
Work productivity experts are starting to recommend that workers find time to take a nap during the work day. What research has discovered is what God knew from the beginning. Sabbath is that which restarts and recharges us to live in unison with the creator.
Jesus was a busy man. He was so busy that he insisted on getting away to be with God. While Jesus had his run ins with his opponents over the Sabbath, he never intended for Sabbath living to be dismissed. He demonstrated the value of retreating to be with God.
What does it take to produce twelve happy homeowners who have had their houses painted for free by Central Ohio Work Camp? In short, a lot. It takes a lot of manpower (teenpower?), supplies, time, money, prayer and selfless dedication of God's people to believe that he can take our acts of service and change the hearts and lives of people in our city.
Despite the myriad of reports that the church in America is declining in numbers and waning in influence, the Spirit of God is at work throughout the world - and even in America.
We read of God's powerful work through the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. The real question for us is, do we believe that he is still able to do the same work in 2017? If so, we can't keep quiet, we must testify.
Ecclesiastes states that much of life is a seemingly endless cycle of meaninglessness. Nothing is new under the sun, it's all been done before. But what if we had the choice to bring a glimmer of New into the world?
In many faith traditions, doubt is a bad word. If you have doubt, somehow you are displeasing to God. Life should be a culmination of certainties. The story of Thomas demonstrates that God pursued him in his doubt, and that he will pursue us even when we doubt.
We become so paralyzed by our mess ups and sins and pride and addictions and relapses that we don't often feel God's forgiveness. Being forgiven - and feeling forgiven - is crucial, because in response to our forgiveness Jesus is calling us to take care of one another. To feed one another.
When we read this story, try to keep in mind that even though we know that this person is Jesus, the two disciples had no clue. And yet these two disciples poured out their struggle to a stranger. And that openness opened the door for them for:
Jesus tells Mary Magdalene to "Go" and "Go" she did! She was the first evangelist, the first teller of the "Good News." She was the one who went with urgency to the Apostles. What if this woman - who had once lived in darkness but now lived in the light of the resurrection - what would have happened if she didn't go?
We were created in the image of God, and we are meant to connect in the image of God. This can only happen when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with each other. Vulnerability is difficult, but it's also necessary to create sacred spaces and welcome God into our relationships.
“Don’t let death steal the hope of resurrection possibilities!” We conclude our Lenten journey by celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on this Easter Day 2017. Two women, whose hope seemed crushed at the crucifixion, now see their hope restored as they encounter the Risen Christ. Will we seek to have a similar encounter? Will we rise up and live our lives as ones being empowered by the same spirit that raised Jesus from the grave? This is our moment to rise up!
Jesus is calling us to surrender all to him. He calls us to give it all up for him and for the kingdom of God. The ultimate motivation for us to surrender is contained within the Matthew narrative. Jesus was a Messiah (a King) and could have lived life in a palace full of pristine possessions, accompanied with a fat bank account. Yet He gave that all up for you and me. He valued you and me more than money. Because he valued us more than money, we have enough!
While Peter wants to know the details on how many times he has to forgive, Jesus answers with the reason why he should choose to forgive. The answer to why is based on who we are. We're a forgiven people, and we're called to be people of forgiveness. This is the way of the Kingdom of God, and as his people, we're expected to bring this way of life to this world.
After exploring the healing stories of Jesus in Matthew we are met with the fact that healing is not confined to physical healing, and that healing accomplished more than physical restoration. In fact, these healings helped to highlight Jesus' mission to be involved in changing the lives of people who allow him to invade their space.
Jesus calls us to place our treasure in heaven, the only place that is truly secure. If we do that, he tells us that we don’t have to focus so much of our energy on worrying – God knows what we need and He will provide enough.
I wonder what role did Jesus' 40 day experience with God play in his refusal to listen to the tempter? I wonder if part of the reason we are more prone to succumb to temptation is because we have not introduced a steady diet of experiencing God in our lives. Are we spending time in God’s word? Are we spending time alone with God?
The reason behind us looking at core values and coming together around a common vision is not necessarily to suggest that we have been stumbling. But it is our belief that coming together with a unified vision for the body here will place us in a prime position of experiencing the blessing of God and sharing that blessing with our community.
Reynoldsburg's participation in God's mission is a team sport. As a diverse group of disciples, we "come to the table" together with our gifts, talents, differences and conflicts. To think that we can accomplish anything apart from the integral work of the Holy Spirit is idiotic and a recipe for failure. Our way forward demands we feel our connection to the Triune God and to one another.
God's attention to detail can be celebrated as we consider how he created humankind. Paul says we are his "masterpiece" (NLT). As his masterpiece, God has commissioned us to participate with him in global mission to declare the reign of God (The Kingdom of God). Our service in our community is one of the loudest cries that we believe that the kingdom of God is here.
How has God changed you? We often pose this question to others and are hesitant to answer it for ourselves. In Paul?s letter to the Ephesians, he makes a strong case regarding God?s grace and its power to change. The Reynoldsburg direction begins to takes form when we embody the Lord?s gift of grace, a gift that awakens us, give us life and transforms us. Our lives lived in community, in worship to God and in service to others reflect that we have been changed.
In this sermon we look back at 2016. We recognize the highs and lows of the year while identifying God?s fingerprints on the events of the year. The case will be made that we begin 2017 making a commitment to attend to God?s revelation and to one another in community.
In the end, the story of Christmas is that God chose us. Whatever may have gone wrong in your life in the past, or whatever may happen in the future, you can hold your head high because God has chosen you.
Tonight we share in a simple response of worship to God , the Father, for sending us his Son to bless us, heal us, forgive us and save us. We pray that the story of Christ?s birth and the exciting anticipation of his return will move you closer to a relationship with God. May your heart be fine-tuned by the Spirit of God. May your mind be put at ease as the fast-pace of the Christmas season slows down. May your eyes see afresh, the good news of Jesus Christ.
When we experience breakthroughs in our lives, we celebrate and we rejoice. This doesn't mean that we won't experience disappointment, sadness or heartache. But given the overwhelming activity of God, there is much to be joyful about. And even if there is a current circumstance that causes worry or distress, let's always consider our joy in the Lord.
There are so many areas in our lives that pit us against one another. We just completed rivalry week in College football. We just completed a contentious election cycle that has highlighted the differences we embody in our society and the world. We are Team Coca-Cola or we are Team Pepsi. Team Edward or Team Jacob. In this season of Advent, we turn our attention to the return of Christ. But while we wait for the return of Jesus, we embrace God?s call to be peacemakers. Yet to embrace a call of peacemaking, we need to receive God?s gift of peace.
We as the people of God live in the age of the peace of God. We know that chaos is the operating narrative of the media and politicians. If we let the world write the narrative, it would seem that peace is unattainable. But we worship a God who sees peace as an overriding narrative of his followers.
Advent is a time that we are reminded that as the people of God we are not exempt from heartache, tragedy, the effects of war, the impact of sickness and disease, or the angst of living in a broken society. But as the people of God, when those who do not know God cast a vision of doom and gloom, we are a people who choose hope!
Are we prepared to stand in the midst of the ashes and see the beauty of the Lord arise? God, out of his covenant relationship with us, is reinvesting us in our neighborhood to restore, reconcile and renew. Let's get to work!
The language of "new" is deeply embedded in the book of Revelation. While there is much about the book that is confusing, misunderstood and debated, this fundamental truth remains: That God enacted his mission of salvation to reclaim his creation, and in doing so He will make everything new!
In this sermon we consider the magnitude of implications regarding salvation and conversion. As converted beings, into the image of God, our allegiances (political, social, temperament, etc.) are transferred to an orientation where God enacts transformation. It is within this realm that we, as mission partners with God, live and serve with him in the effort to change the world.
While looking through some of the narratives in the Gospel of Luke, it appears that a primary impetus behind the encounters Jesus had with people was a desire to reconnect them with their communities. Many of the people Jesus encountered had to live in isolation because of their sickness or circumstance. In this sermon, we probe the idea that salvation seeks to established those who are broken in a community.
We live in a broken world filled with broken lives. Brokenness breeds more brokenness. Yet God has declared that he desires to fix or repair what has been broken. At the top of his ?fix? list is the relationship he has with men and women.
If ever there was an acknowledgement of the presence of an emotion in scripture, it would be fear. Throughout the biblical narrative we see God through prophets, preachers, angels - and even himself - identifying and addressing fear.
The fact that God will be present with folks when they are afraid is not just a promise given to Israel or biblical characters. That promise is also given to us.
Fear's main job is to protect Riley and keep her safe. He is constantly on the lookout for potential disasters, and spends time evaluating the possible dangers, pitfalls and risk involved in Riley's everyday activities.
There are very few activities and events that Fear does not find to be dangerous and possibly fatal.
There is something within all of us that causes us to be distressed, disturbed or disgusted. Again we encounter an emotion displayed in the life of Jesus. But what happens when disgust turns into contempt for others? As we affirm the presence of disgust, we will also draw attention to the damaging effects of contempt for other people.
Disgust has always been proud of her refined tastes. For over a decade, her expert judgement has protected Riley from gross broccoli and helped her to avoid icky boys. After all, her job is to keep Riley from being poisoned, physically or socially.
Although highly opinionated and extremely honest, Disgust always has the best of intentions. Her colleagues view her as a bit of an elitist, but Disgust refuses to lower her (and Riley's) standards for anybody.
The world is a disgusting place and it's her responsibility to say so.
Didasko Children's Home was founded and began to function in 1983 outside of the Capital city of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to help meet the growing need to care for orphans, abandoned, exploited and abused children.
Sixteen years ago, Jorge Castillo left a secure job at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, and with his wife Rosa, who was a teacher, and two children they moved to Didasko (20 miles outside of Tegucigalpa) to become the directors of this vital ministry.
They accepted the challenge of the Lord to care for these children that had been abandoned, neglected and abused; to win them to Christ, and to give them the love and warmth of a home that they had never known before.
Much is written about the destructive consequences of anger. Yet, anger is an emotion displayed by God and Jesus on numerous occasions. Our journey in this series turns toward a discussion about the anger we embody. Why are we angry? When is it good to be angry? What role does anger play in your daily disposition?
Anger tries to keep his cool, but it's difficult when there's so much rampant injustice in the world.
He is quick to overreact which results in rash decision making and rude remarks. Ever since Riley turned, he's been fighting the good fight, organizing tantrums for important causes such as: "car seat liberation", "nap eradication" and "more cookies". It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.
All of Anger's impatience and impulsiveness ensure that all is fair in Riley's life.
We think that when people are sad, the best thing to do is cheer them up. Often, what they need is simply our presence and an affirmation of their pain.
None of the other Emotions really understand what Sadness's role is.
Sadness would love to be more optimistic and helpful in keeping Riley happy, but she finds it so hard to be positive. Sometimes it seems like the best thing to do is just lie on the floor and have a good cry.
The character of Joy takes her cue from that which has been embodied by the people of God for centuries. We are a joyful people prompted by the stimulus of God's love, grace and presence among his people.
Joy loves Riley more than anything and has been her lead emotion since day one. She's lighthearted; a big fan of laughter, chocolate cake, and spinning until you get crazy dizzy and fall over.
Joy see's life's challenges as opportunities, and the sad bits as hiccups on the way back to something great. Hope and optimism dictate all of her decisions, and Joy works twice as hard as anyone else to make this happen. She just wants Riley to be happy. After all, isn't that the point of life?
In this introductory sermon, we will introduce the series by briefly exploring the complexity of human feelings and emotions. We will also introduce Inside Out as the film that will help us explore this important topic. Being fearfully and wonderfully made demands we have sense of being made up of physical, spiritual and emotional elements.
While the Jewish concept of salvation may have been limited, they praised God mightily none the less. How much more so should we loose our minds in praise to God for the wonderful salvation he has given us in Jesus Christ!
In this introduction, we will lay out our plan to look at Psalms of New Orientation. We take the cue to ?Shout, Worship, Know and Enter?. All are key words to unleash within a spirit that leads to outward praise and celebration of the God of the heavens!
On the surface, Jude is a poignant rebuke of false teachers. Deeply embedded in the letter is the author?s use of mystical understanding and literature that was familiar in Jewish folklore. Ultimately, the letter is an appeal to Christians to remain faithful and unfazed by current circumstance. It is a call to root oneself in the doxology at the end of the letter.
Philemon is a short and beautiful reflection of the pastoral ministry of Paul. There are no lofty theological considerations. It is simply an appeal in love for a brother to receive another brother. Hear how Paul?s appeal was for his brother (Philemon) to ?partner? with him in something greater than his own personal issue.
Like 2nd John, the text is short and to the point. The conclusion of the letter includes an emphatic compelling to imitate or mimic what is good. What model of doing good do we use or follow? How does the answer to this question function in the mission of God to the world?
Short and to the point. Not much more can be said about this obscure letter. But what if this was the only letter the church had? What does it tell you about life in the early Christian community? Emerging out of this short offering is a simple encouragement to abide in Christ?s love.
We're not meant to be "fixers" (which is how our society works), we're meant to be in relationship. And relationship means things like empathy, validation, listening - simply being WITH people. Which is hardest when that involves pain. And it's hardest when we can't fix it.