Welcome to 2022! We are going to focus on each week on a different grace practice. The goal of the Christian life is to become, every day, more like Jesus: holier, happier, and deeper. This requires a set of habits we can employ each day. That is the way to become "Everyday Saints."
Do you instinctively embrace authority? By personality some of us are natural followers some neutral resistors. All of us have had mixed experiences with authorities in our lives, like parents, bosses, coaches, or police.
This fall we’ll examine the commands that came from our spiritual Master, Jesus Christ. As we study them, remember that His authority is unique. He has ultimate power as our Creator and Judge, but only uses that divine authority in the way of love, shaping us to be people of truth and gladness. As He said “Come to me all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you (accept my authority), and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls—my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Understanding and following His commands is the narrow way that leads to an abundant life.
What do Alvin and the Chipmunks, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Bing Crosby, Mariah Carey, and Bruce Springsteen all have in common? They all recorded songs that are part of our new Series! We will contrast one classic secular tune with a corresponding biblical theme.
Our individual experience of the season, like our individual experience of the season, like our individual experience of our faith, can be shallow and profound, intensely meaningful and utterly trivial. Often deep human longings and persistent questions reflected in the songs we sing and in the art we create. With the arrival of Jesus, God enters into our story to reshape those longings and answer those questions.
The greatest metaphor for the church is the “Body of Christ.” This fall, we will explore how we can build-up that body in a time when there is such a high level of division and conflict in our society and culture. Together we can bring the reconciliation God intends to the communities where we live, work, and play!
We will examine four biblical passages that help us learn to listen for His voice and to discover what is most distinctive about the way He communicates His love and direction. In a noisy world, learning to listen to God is a most valuable and necessary skill.
The book of Revelation is unique in its appeal primarily to our imagination- not a freewheeling imagination, but a disciplined imagination.
Addressed to seven fledging church communities in the west part of Asia Minor, its focus is the return of Jesus Christ and the final establishing of God's Kingdom at the end of time.
Filled with verses of great comfort and images of absolute horror, Revelation has fascinated and repulsed readers for generations. It has given rise to exotic and elaborate theories about final things and also been ignored by many believers. We will seek to recover its original context and discover the crucial message it contains about providence and history.
God speaks in parables and stories, commands and proverbs, poetry and songs, and in natural and historical events. He also speaks through images and symbols, disclosing deep purposes. May God bless us, as together we enter the vivid and vital world of apocalyptic.
The disciples experienced the love of God through Jesus. They harnessed a new word, “agape.”
They came to believe that this new word signified the most potent force in history and the nature of God Himself.
Agape love had the power to redeem and transform people and relationships.
During April and May, we will agape love, using the Bible’s most famous chapter on the subject, 1 Corinthians 13.
If we are to fulfill the great command, to love God and neighbor, we must have a clear sense of its dimensions and its depth. It should be a life goal of every person to become a better lover!
Seven last words, gasped out with labored breath. Seven sentences spoken before dying. Sometimes too many words can fail to convey a truth worth telling. But here on the cross, each word is profound, each sentence delves deeply into the heart of God and the nature of reality. These words change the way we see God, life, death, and suffering. This Lent, we will spend our weeks at the foot of the cross, listening to Jesus' seven last words.
VPC 2.0 looks at the future of this congregation, endeavoring to listen to God while keeping a steady eye on the changing circumstances of our day. The sermon series title reflects a dual truth. We owe everything to the men and women who have worked and served before us, but we have unique challenges and opportunities ahead of us.
No previous generation in our church faced the collapse of the mainline Protestantism, or a rising tide of aggressive secularism, as we do. Bitter political divisions, cultural revolt and protest, and fierce debates about the past and future of our nation, intensify the claims we make to offer a gospel of life and health and peace. The shape of ministry in the wake of the pandemic is also uncertain.
At the same time, there are great opportunities for teaching, equipping, and outreach through new technologies. There is much to be learned from other communities of faith that are thriving in our city and region. Our new facilities provide a platform for new ventures in faith and the arts, and new strategies for building community and initiating conversation.
Where do you see the opportunities and challenges?
In any renovation project there are phases. Deconstruction first, followed by construction. Removal and tearing down, then addition and building up.
The life of the disciple, and the life of the blessed community of faith, also has these same movements. Critical evaluation and repentance are followed by growth and renewal. An honest look, and full ownership, of our shortcomings, can be followed by fresh development and new virtues.
This season we are studying the Old Testament prophets. God called them to the necessary and difficult task of pointing out the things in Israel’s life that needed to be removed, torn down, and deconstructed. In poetry and prose they identified and called out injustices and hypocrisy and unfaithfulness—but always with the purpose of making possible righteousness, authenticity, and true faithfulness.
It takes courage to look at our individual and corporate areas of struggle and rebellion. But every strong enterprise, whether religious, economic, political, or educational, must do evaluation honestly and well, to avoid stagnation and decline and to achieve potential.