Sunday Preview for September 17

All paths lead somewhere.  But where is somewhere? Do all religious paths lead equally to God?  The Christian faith asserts that we can only find God through Jesus.  But here again, we face the same question.  Do all Christian paths lead equally to Jesus?  Is the Christian life purely a matter of personal preference – of finding what works for us – or does the Bible offer any principles that everyone must follow in order to walk with Jesus?  If so, what are they? This Sunday, we will explore Galatians 3:1-9.  Here, Paul asserts two universal principles for the life […]

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Spiritual Practices – Faith, Anxiety, and Laziness

The lives of many Christians are plagued by spiritual anxiety or spiritual laziness.  A living faith in the presence of the living Jesus is the answer. Some people told Paul that his teaching about justification through faith alone would tempt people towards spiritual laziness.  They thought that the Christian life required anxiety in order for it to be genuine.  Others agreed with these critics, but saw the temptation towards spiritual laziness to be a feature, not a bug.  They used the doctrine of justification through faith alone to encourage a life of sin, which they considered to be more enjoyable […]

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Sunday Summary for September 10 – Faith vs. the Fear of Judgment

The fear of being judged makes you a slave to others, and a judge of others.  Oddly enough, it is faith in the judgment of God that can set you free. Out of the people you know and interact with, whose judgment do you fear?  By what standard do these people judge you? Children fear the judgment of their parents, which is often based on good behavior.  Students fear the judgment of their teachers, who value intelligence, and their peers, who rate appearance, success, and personality.  Employees fear the judgment of employers who evaluate their performance, while employers fear the […]

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Sunday Preview for September 10

If you knew that you could never fail at anything, what would you do? If you knew that nobody could ever hurt you, who would you hang around? How you answer these two (very) hypothetical questions will reveal much about you.  If you wouldn’t attempt to do big things, or if you would only hang around comfortable people, then you fear is too great and your faith is too weak. This Sunday we will look at Galatians 2:11-21.  In this passage, Paul writes about the doctrines of justification by faith and union with Jesus Christ.  These doctrines can unlock the door […]

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Sunday Preview for September 3

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” – William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII Few things stifle the Church’s witness more than hypocrisy (which comes from the Greek word meaning “actor”).  Contradictions between what we believe and what we do present people with an excuse to give the gospel a deaf ear.  But before hypocrisy corrupts the Church’s witness, it first corrupts its fellowship.  This Sunday, we will read Galatians 2:11-14 to see how hypocrisy strikes, and how we can strike back against it.

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Sunday Summary – Unlikely Missionaries

Lessons in the Christian Life from Peter, Paul, and Richard Nixon The sermon for Sunday, August 27 was based Galatians 2:1-10.  You can listen to it here.  What follows is a quick summary of the passage, as well as a few thoughts not mentioned in the sermon: SUMMARY OF THE PASSAGE In Galatians 2:1-10, Paul the Apostle writes about his first extensive visit to Jerusalem following his conversion nearly two decades prior.  During the interval, Paul had established churches filled with Gentile converts in numerous cities.  Paul, the Gentile churches, and their practices all aroused suspicion from many Jewish Christians […]

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Sunday Preview for August 27

The United States is a diverse but divided nation.  The Church in the United States looks much the same – divided along lines of race, class, doctrine, and much smaller details.  How can we testify to the gospel’s power to reconcile and unite different peoples?   Christians feel passion for different aspects of discipleship.  Some love teaching and theology. Others are excited by prayer, evangelism, missions, music, liturgy, counseling, or care for the poor. How do you relate to people whose passion differs from yours?  How do you respond when your special interest or pressing need isn’t emphasized in your […]

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