The Holy Spirit is forming a community that is peculiar from all others, not only in kind, but in degree. This community is the source of spiritual power for its members in the marketplace, providing it’s a Spirit Community. But how would we know? What could we expect if we belonged to one? And how could our present circles of influence become a Spirit-filled community?
The hidden life of a prophet begins with walking in the Spirit. The more we grow in that capacity, the more effective and influential is our witness to the places where we work and live.
The Holy Spirit is the active Presence of God with His people in many places. Most of the time, these people are not ministers and these places are not religious. But something happens there, in these places with these people, when they surrender themselves and their work to the Holy Spirit.
The present crisis of work is not economic, but spiritual in nature. It’s a reckoning with the meaning of our lives and our labor. The gospel of God is that we have been “called” to a higher purpose, to something more, and our work is the platform where God does His work.
David went from caring for his father’s sheep to fighting a giant. How did he do that, and what can we learn from his example? What might happen if we practice remembering God’s faithfulness, trust God has given us enough, and say yes to God in the everyday circumstances of our lives? Maybe the the more we say yes to God, the easier and more natural it becomes so that, walking in step with the Spirit, we live a life of yes.
The Kingdom advances at the speed of our announcing it. It’s time for the Church to believe the gospel again. But what is it? And what does it mean to believe it?
The kingdom of God comes one gathering at a time, when citizens live together with God and for the world. How does the kingdom of God advance? What is the place of the local church, or the Christ-centered business or team, in that advance? How do we avoid the temptation of an Empire?
God’s vision for a new society involves a “kingdom of priests,” which is odd because priests build seminaries, and not kingdoms. Yet Isaiah says we “will be called priests of the Lord, (and) named ministers of our God,” (61:6). What do priests do? How are they different from the prophet that everyone wants to be? How do we co-opt our jobs to do the work of a priest?
The pandemic has exposed deep flaws in the purpose and value we give to our work. The way that we work isn’t working. Yet despite our trouble, the gospel includes a vision of worship in our work, a festival of sorts in the desert, and calls us to participate. How do we find the worship in our work? Where is the festival in the desert?
Jesus uses the faith of a marginalized woman to expose our pride and invites us to a better way.
Israel has lost her way. Her kings are evil; her prophets, rejected; widows, abandoned; and sons, without breath. A devastating drought appears to be her end. But just as the brook dries up and only crumbs remain in the flour jar, Yahweh brings a sudden joyous turn. Miraculous meals are provided, sins are forgiven, a child resuscitated, as Yahweh tells the story of Israel coming back to life through a prophet, a widow, and her son.
It doesn’t always take everyone being shut inside their homes to encounter a loss of community. Even the most introverted person finds themselves losing a beloved community from time to time.
On Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of the people of God, beginning the Church’s mission to the world. Paul reminds us that we can misunderstand and misuse the gifts of the Spirit, hindering the effectiveness of our mission. While the proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” has generally been accepted by organizations, teams, and even churches, is it possible that in the economy of God, those we perceive as weak might make us stronger?
Most Christians want to help others find their way back to God but for some the idea of sharing the gospel feels awkward. What if, instead of learning a few talking points, we learned a few skills? And what if these skills applied to almost any conversation?
Why is there so much division among us? The walls that divide us are not between different races or generations but in every human heart. The good news is that in Christ these walls come tumbling down as God forms us all into one new Person.
Why do smart people do stupid things? Our trouble is not rebellion but folly. Blindness. We walk in darkness, “having no idea what we’re stumbling over. The good news is that, in Jesus, God has opened our eyes and we can see things as they really are.
It has never been harder, and it has never been more urgent to share the gospel than it is today: harder because people are disenchanted and less interested, yet urgent because so much is at stake. But even when the soil is hard, we must keep sowing.
So often, as we grow in our walks with Christ, we ask God to increase our faith. We desire to see evidence of God at work around us so that we have greater assurance and reason to believe in his authority and power. But the author of Hebrews tells us that faith comes before proof—that it grows in the absence of something, rather than just in its manifestation. If this is true, then perhaps we must be intentional to cast off or give up things that prevent our faith from growing.
Most of us admire Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego for their courage; but behind their courage is a value that keeps them standing tall. This is more, then, than a story of how to stand up in a moment of decision; it’s also a reminder that obedience might cost us all we have. This sermon will examine that tension and help us understand explore what kept these three on their feet.
Noah and The Flood. For many of us, we know the story, we learned about it in Sunday School. And yet for others they know it only from the people who are debating the historical facts in the public square. In both these cases, the purpose for telling this ancient story gets submerged. Craig Bartholomew wrote “A major feature of any story is its central conflict, the thing that goes wrong and needs to be fixed.” The Flood story is about the relationship and conflict between God and creation. The climax involves a deluge of water never encountered before and a boat full of animals. The resolution; well, that’s the plot twist in our story.