Resolved.

January 1, 2017

We all feel like this is good time to start making some new fitness plans, some new budgets, to make some new eating habits, and new career goals. We might be deciding that we just need to read a lot more this year or study harder or work harder. We are hopeful that 2017 will be the year that our workplaces, our relationships, our bank accounts and even our bodies finally start looking right. What if all these things come to pass? Will we be satisfied? What if we really don’t need a new thing …

In the book of 1 John, the apostle John tells believers that they don’t need a new commandment, but they need only to follow Christ who has given the old commandment new meaning. He tells them that Christ gives eternal significance to all the old commandments We too can follow Christ who empowers us to follow His commandments. Today’s text gives three ways to make eternal resolutions in Christ.

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Christmas at the Movies

Elf

December 4, 2016

Elf is a classic because of the redemptive Christmas themes found in its story. Themes like: a baby boy that gets adopted, an otherworldly young man whose love and innocence cause him not to fit it anywhere, and a man named Walter who is on the “naughty list” and rejects his son. In the movie, Walter’s priorities are upside down, he puts his job and position ahead of his wife and kids, and he is angry and miserable. The story is really about Walter’s redemption by accepting his son.

The prophet Isaiah wrote of a Son that would be given to humanity that would be the Messiah bringing light to a sin-darkened world and establishing an eternal kingdom of peace in a world filled with chaos and brokenness. We can recognize and receive Jesus as this Son that was given to us to bring us out of darkness and into His kingdom of peace and light. The text gives three prophecies that were fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ as the Son that was given unto us by God.

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Exiles: Living as Sojourners in this World

Living in Harmony

November 27, 2016

It can be hard to find a way to live in harmony with the culture around you. Do you feel that it is difficult to be a believer in your workplace, when your with friends or even at home? Do you sense this tension between being an authentic Christian and getting along with others in certain sectors of your life?

In Peter’s first letter to believers in Asia Minor, he tells them that they can live in harmony as exiles in their world by truly becoming God’s people. We too can live in harmony with our world by living as His people. The text gives us three ways to live in harmony.

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Living in Holiness

November 20, 2016

Do you find yourself at odds with the prevailing culture? Or…are you comfortable in this culture? Peter says we should be set apart….

In Peter’s first letter to believers in Asia Minor, he tells them that they can live in holiness as exiles in their world as God’s chosen people. We too can live in holiness as exiles because God has called us to be set apart as His chosen people. The text shows us three ways to live in holiness as exiles in our world.

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Living in Hope

November 13, 2016

Do you ever feel like an exile? Like you just don’t fit into this old world? Do you feel a little out of sync? Do you ever lose hope as things often seem to be getting worse? How should we live as Christians when the dominant cultural appears at odds with our faith? The apostle Peter’s first letter says that we should live as exiles. In fact, he refers to the first century Christians as exiles three times in his letter.

In Peter’s first letter, he told believers who were living as exiles in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) that they could live with great hope in Jesus Christ. We too are living as exiles in a hopeless world and can experience a life of hope through Jesus Christ. In today’s text we will see three ways to live in hope in a hopeless world.

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Stand Firm: An Exposition of 2 Thessalonians

Standing Firm in God’s Work

November 6, 2016

Work. Many of us consider work something we have to do in order to pay for the things we really want to have and to buy the time to do the things we really want to do. Americans have made play a higher goal than work. But that’s a low view of work. It diminishes it to an activity that we have to put up with, rather than a fulfilling and meaningful purpose for living. We place such a high value on entertainment and recreation that it has become a kind of idolatry. We celebrate idleness over work. We have made an idol of idleness!

God has a much higher view of work. As Jesus said, “My Father is always working, and so am I” (John 5:17). As soon as God made man, He gave him a job to do. And He has a job, a purpose for your life too! In the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he told them to stand firm in doing the work to which God had called them. We can stand firm in the work that God has given us to do. The text gives three ways to stand firm in God’s work.

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Standing Firm in God’s Word

October 30, 2016

Where are you feeling discouraged today? Where do you feel you are failing or falling behind? Paul wrote to give comfort, confidence and help establish his flock. He encouraged them to stand firm. Paul told the Thessalonian believers that they could stand firm in the Word of God that he had taught them. We can stand firm in God’s Word. The text give three imperatives for standing firm in God’s Word.

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Standing Firm Against False Teaching

October 23, 2016

Perhaps you’ve been alarmed and shaken by today’s headlines. How are we supposed to face these things? The apostle Paul told the believers in Thessalonica not to be shaken by the false teaching that they were hearing concerning Christ’s return, but instead to continue to stand firm. We can stand firm against false teaching about Christ’s return. The text gives three “do nots” on how to stand firm against false teaching about Christ’s return.

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Standing Firm in Suffering

October 16, 2016

Suffering often causes a theological problem for us. We put our trust in God, yet bad stuff still happens. We pray for healing, yet a loved one dies. We pray for reconciliation in marriage, but it ends in divorce. We share our faith with a neighbor, and they reject both our message and our friendship. Suffering tests our faith! Are you going through a time of suffering today? The apostle Paul told the believers in Thessalonica that they could stand firm in their faith in Christ Jesus during times of suffering.

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Worship and Witness

Worship and Witness is … Reproducible

October 2, 2016

Do you ever wonder what sort of legacy you are leaving? Do you wonder if people will remember you the way you want to be remembered or some other way? Do you think about what it is that you are really passing on to your kids or your friends or coworkers? We all really want to leave a good lasting impression, but many of us feel like we are far from doing it. Don’t you want to leave behind something that is really worth having? Don’t you want to share a great legacy with future generations? So what sort of legacy would be really worth sharing?

In the book of 2 Timothy, Paul tells his disciple Timothy that the grace of Christ can be shared to future generations. Paul teaches that the worship and witness of Jesus Christ is reproducible. We too can share the grace of Jesus with future generations. Our text gives three ways that we can make our worship and witness reproducible.

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