Sunday Preview for February 17, 2019

The Kingdom of God – One Tribe with One King and One Law Humans have divided up into tribes ever since sin entered the world.  Unlike those in ancient times, modern “tribes” aren’t limited to blood relatives, nor do they exist to ensure survival; they are cliques centered on shared activities, interests, and ideas. You probably belong to several tribes: fans of your favorite sports team or Netflix show, members of your gym, or followers of your political party. Some of these tribes are open while others are more restricted, but they all possess heroes, jargon, and rituals that define […]

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Sunday Preview for January 20, 2019

On June 16, 1953 over one million citizens rose up in protest against the Communist government of East Germany.  After the uprising had been brutally suppressed, the East German poet Berthold Brecht wrote a poem that sarcastically criticized the government: After the uprising of the 17th of June The Secretary of the Writers’ Union Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee Stating that the people Had forfeited the confidence of the government And could win it back only By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier In that case for the government To dissolve the people And elect another? No doubt many […]

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Sunday Preview for January 13, 2019

In the Christian Year, the first Sunday after Epiphany remembers and celebrates Christ’s baptism.  At New Hope will observe this day through the reading and preaching of Mark 1:9-13 which tells the story briefly and powerfully. After an obscure childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, Jesus came from Nazareth to be baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.  This event marked the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and started him on the road to the cross. In Christian baptism we receive a new identity as God’s children.  Our life without God is washed away and He publicly marks us as His […]

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An Oasis of Joy, Part 2

In my previous post, I described how joy arises in us as the Holy Spirit confirms the fact that we are God’s children.  When we hear the word of God – whether in a sermon, a song, a prayer, the counsel of a friend, or our own reading and study – the Holy Spirit affirms that word and the fact that it applies to us.  The Spirit rejoices over the love that God has for us and calls us to rejoice as well. At this point, some objections may arise.  If indeed the Spirit rejoices within us when we hear the […]

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An Oasis of Joy, Part 1

Each week of Advent is special, but the third week stands out from the others.  For one thing, it’s marked with a different colored candle – pink instead of blue.   More importantly, it introduces a note of celebration that is muted in the other weeks of the season, because the third week focuses on joy, the simple delight and happiness in what God has done through Jesus. It takes strenuous effort to grow in hope (week 1), to cultivate peace (week 2), and to deepen faith (week 4).  In all three cases we must swim against the tide of the […]

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Sunday Preview for December 23

Advent concludes tomorrow with a word about faith.  Our passage, Luke 1:39-45, introduces us to two women who each believed remarkable promises from God.  Their stories demonstrate how all the blessings of salvation flow from this one foundation – faith that answers the faithful promise of God.  Come in the morning and worship!

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The Second Week of Advent – a Season of Peace

We live in a world torn apart by war.  Military conflicts like the seventeen-year war in Afghanistan grab our attention the most, but they hardly constitute the fullness of war on the planet. Smaller-scale wars in our cities pit rival gangs against one another and the police. Personal wars smolder and flare up between partners and spouses who commit physical, sexual, and verbal assaults. Economic wars separate companies, communities, and individuals into winners and losers, with the losers facing bleak prospects that may endure for generations. Environmental wars involve poor human stewardship of the earth, and can poison land and […]

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