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When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge they discovered that they were naked. This lead them to cover themselves and hide. God responded by calling their names (Gen 3). It is the human tendency to hide the things we aren’t proud of. The question to ask is, “should we hide”? Tom offered his honest observations of religion and the culture it creates. Often when we think of what it means to be a Christian we think of our behaviors. If you look, act and behave a certain way, then you are in. Often we put on a smile and that tell others that everything is wonderful to try an live this out. Sadly, this is not always true, yet we regularly hide under a facade of positivity. Faking it with people, especially those of casual acquaintance, is understandable and maybe even appropriate at times. However, Tom believes we need people in our lives to let the real you out. What’s worse is when we take this hiding mentality to our relationship with God. In the story of Job, it is when Job finally gets honest that God offers His own thoughts on the issues at hand (Job 38). In his own story Tom shared how it would be easy to pretend his family’s story was easy. “We just worked hard, looked good, and we made it”. That is not the real story. The real story involves pain, laughter, heartache, time, mistakes, bad choices, good choices, and everything in between. Tom concluded by charging all of us to get honest with God.
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Chris focused on a key point of Tom McGreevy’s message last week and illustrated our view of doubt from a unique perspective. He explained that faith from a Jewish perspective would follow a covenantal concept, whereas the western religious model follows a more conceptual, or psychological concept. Chris used an example of a sign when hypothetically walking through a desert that said there would be a waterfall in 40 miles. He mentioned that there could be different signs that could increase his confidence that the sign was correct (a note from his wife with a picture, a note signed by Jesus, etc.) but it would be impossible to fully prove that the sign was correct unless he went on the journey to see for himself. Chris introduced Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJV). He explained that the interpretation of this verse in Greek would have many different translations of the words “substance” and “evidence”, but that these words offered the best picture of what the scripture was explaining. Faith is a covenantal concept based on trust. Faith gives room for God to work in us and through us.
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Jon starts his message this week with the movie trailer below. Please check it out prior to listening to the audio or Facebook links!
Through life, we may experience moments of pain and hurt – moments that will make us feel like a reed that has been bruised. However, God does not waste any of our hurt. He uses it to reveal His divine light and transform us to what He has already made us. On Sunday, Pastor Jon used a model of a light-bulb to illustrate how God uses broken reeds to be the light. The filament of the first successful incandescent light-bulbs were made of bamboo (broken reed). However, running electricity through bamboo quickly burns it up. By covering bamboo with carbon and creating a vacuum, the filament can burn for long-periods of time. In much the same way, God takes the broken life that we have and covers us with his “carbon”, changes the atmosphere around us, and turns us into lights when we plug into God’s power. Peter’s life is a prime example of this. Throughout the Gospel, we see accounts of mistakes Peter has made interlaced with flashes of brilliance. However, despite his mistakes, God still calls him to pastor His church. Likewise, God will use our failures to shape us and bring us from glory to glory.
Larry started his message by revealing how he came to follow Christ. He started off as a person of the streets using and selling drugs. Later on, he was transformed by the power of Christ into a new creation. Along his walk he has viewed himself through many different lenses, such as being a pastor. The main point of his message was that we must view ourselves as children of God first. Out of that, our sonship flows to the rest of who we are and what we do. He brought our attention to Matthew 16:24. Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross.” In his old ways if someone crossed him Larry would have showed him who they were messing with. As he is continues to be transformed by Christ, he denies himself that right, and shows them Christ. He shows them love instead of beating them up. Ayana, closes the message with three points.
- We are all called to conform to image of Christ.
- Disciples have discipline – it is a choice to deny yourself and it takes work.
- It's all worth it