“Life Together: Made For Each Other” (February 5, 2017)

from Genesis 1:26-27

Our lives tend to be a web of relationships.  Marriage, family, dating, friendship, classmate, co-worker, employee and employer, proponent and opponent of an issue or idea…

Relationships can often be a source of great joy or they can be a source of great pain in our lives.  There are times when we find ourselves seeking isolation because we have been so wounded by relationships…and there are times when without realizing it, we find ourselves living in a “functional isolation” born our of the illusion of connection we create through social media.

To say that relationship is complicated is an understatement…but what if we saw relationship not just as a challenge we have to navigate, rather something for which we were actually created?

Imagine how you might begin to look at God, and humanity around you differently if you lived like you were created for connection with both.

w/ Vern Collins

“Pray Like Jesus: Deliver Us” (January 29, 2017)

from Matthew 6:13

It’s not just that we feel overwhelmed from time to time…many of us are living lives in a constant state of being in over our head…and yet we tend to spend our time and energy looking to people and powers and systems in this world to change things…to give us hope.  What happens when those are the very things that seem to be stealing hope from us?

In our final week on the Lord’s Prayer, we look to Jesus’ petition for our protection and deliverance…a protection and deliverance He would make possible because He Himself was not protected from suffering.

w/ Vern Collins

“Pray Like Jesus: Forgive” (January 22, 2017)

from Matthew 6:12

We live in a world that is full of hurt, and many of us carry that hurt around inside us.  Whether we hurt over the things we have done that we feel guilt over, or whether we have been hurt by others…our lives are marked with pain of some sort.  The question is, what do we do with that hurt?  Do we simply learn to deal with it, or are we willing to release it?  To seek forgiveness, to be forgiven?  What about forgiving others?

Are we willing to name our pain, and trust that God can release us from it?

Are we willing to release others from the pain they have caused us?

Too often not…but it is not impossible.  Perhaps all it takes is a new understanding of forgiveness, what happens when we are forgiven, and what can happen when we forgive.

w/ Vern Collins

“Pray Like Jesus: Thy Kingdom Come” (January 8, 2017)

from Matthew 6:10

At the heart of the prayer Jesus offers as the example for His disciples to follow is surrender.    It is naming the work He has been called to do and committing Himself to that work…the work of seeing God’s purpose accomplished on this earth.

In inviting His disciples and all who would follow to pray in this way, Jesus is also inviting us to name and commit ourselves to being a part of God’s rescuing and restorative work on this earth.

And yet, our tendency is to build our little kingdoms and then ask God to bless them.

What if instead, our lives were spent building the Kingdom that Jesus came to inaugurate?  What if we began to bend ourselves to the work of God rather than trying to bend God to our work on this earth?

Imagine how different our lives might look.

w/ Vern Collins

“Pray Like Jesus: Our Father” (January 1, 2017)

from Matthew 6:7-9

If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by prayer, if the mystery that surrounds prayer, the fact that it seems like prayers too often go unanswered or aren’t answered the way you’d like…if you’re not even sure what or how to pray most of the time, then you’re in good company.  Even the Apostle Paul wrote that when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray, the Holy Spirit would be faithful to lead us.

That’s good news, but many of still feel unsure as to where or how we begin.

Jesus’ disciples longed for more in their prayer life too, and so they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11).  While Jesus didn’t answer every question they asked, or respond to everything they desired to see happen, He felt this request important enough to respond to…and so He gave them what we have come to call, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

As we work through this series, beginning with “Our Father,” may your heart for prayer be rekindled, may you encounter the power that are in these words, and may you be transformed.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Love All” (December 18, 2016)

from Matthew 1:18-25

Advent was never just about the single event of the birth of Christ…yes, it represents the waiting, the hope, the expectation…yes it connects us with those who hoped for so long to see God’s promised Messiah…and yes, it now offers us a framework as we wait for Christ to return.

But Advent was about much more than a significant event…Advent IS about much more than a significant event.  It is about the Kingdom Christ came to establish.  It is about reminding us that His Kingdom is still here and we are called to live in to it…to live into our new citizenship.

Worshipping Fully, Spending Less, and Giving More are all characteristics of the life of a Christ follower…but when we Love All we begin to look a lot more like Jesus Himself.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Give More” (December 11, 2016)

from Luke 3:7-18

There is something about Advent that begs the question, “why?”

“Why would God send His Son to this earth?”  More specifically, perhaps, “what is it in my life that I am incapable of taking care of on my own?”

In our Advent passage this morning we find John the Baptist in the wilderness, in light of the Christ Who has arrived and is about to begin His ministry, calling people to repent…to turn from what they thought gave them worth, and turn to a new understanding of who they are and what life is meant to look like.

And in this we catch a glimpse that the Gospel might just be about more than the individual…that maybe it is about those around us too.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Spend Less” (December 4, 2016)

from Matthew 6:19-21, 24

In all of the natural world, humans have the greatest proclivity toward collecting things.  Sure, there are animals that store away food, but with the intention of consuming it when there is no food to gather.  Humans, however, collect things that may never have an purpose beyond essentially taking up space.  Whether you hold on to furniture, trinkets, finances, or the latest technology…chances are there are things you have that you simply do not need.  And yet, too often, it is the “stuff” that holds our focus more than anything else.  Having it.  Acquiring it.  Longing for it.  Keeping it safe.  We worry a great deal about things in our world that ultimately only have a fleeting value.

Jesus, on the other hand, suggests that the treasure we store up ought to have an eternal value to them…that instead of storing up treasure on this part, we store up treasure in heaven.  When we hold that teaching up next to the simple manner in which Jesus was born into this world, then storing up Kingdom treasure looks a lot less like material investment and much more like becoming preoccupied with the hearts of others.

w/ Vern Collins

“Advent Conspiracy: Worship Fully” (November 27, 2016)

from Isaiah 9:2-7

The Advent of Jesus meant something to the small corner of the world in which He was born.  In fact, it would go on to mean something to the ENTIRE world.  From the birth of a baby to a criminal’s cross, the entrance of Jesus into humanity would forever alter the course of history…but has it altered yours?

Is your life different because of the Advent or arrival of Jesus?  Do you think differently about your time?  About your treasure?  About your future?  About those around you?

This and so much more is what we are invited into in Christ.  This Advent season, you are invited to pursue something a bit different from what this world says the season leading up to Christmas should be.   Come be a part of the conspiracy…it begins with worship!

w/ Luke Edwards

 

“As For You: Submit” (November 13, 2016)

from Ephesians 5:21-6:9

How are we meant to respond when there is disagreement with those around us?  How are we meant to prove our point?  How should we go about winning the argument?  How are we supposed to convince others to see things the way we see them?

What if, even in the face disagreement that is so difficult, our goal is not to win the day, rather to offer a new way forward…not a way born out of a rock solid argument, but out of choosing a different posture?  A posture of submission…of service.

Perhaps the key to navigating relationship is not guarding what is right, but pointing to what is Good.

w/ Vern Collins

“As For You: A Life Worthy” (October 30, 2016)

from Ephesians 4:1-16

It does not take long in this life before we begin working to be seen as being worthy…worthy of affection, worthy of attention, worthy of responsibility, worthy of advancement, worthy of acceptance.  Too often, we will go to great lengths to prove our worth, and too often come away feeling more unworthy for what we sacrificed in the process.

What if you began to live out of the worth you are already given in Christ?  What if you rather than living to prove your worth, you strived to live a life that reflects the fact that you have already been called, “worthy.”

And what would it look like to do that in the context of the Body that is the Church?

w/ Vern Collins

“As For You: Immeasurably More” (Combined 150th Celebration October 23, 2016)

from Ephesians 3:14-21

As Boone UMC celebrates 150 years of ministry in the High Country, we are excited to welcome one of our former pastors, Rev. John Fitzgerald, whose long journey over different seasons in his life affords him insight into the truth of Paul’s words here at the end of Ephesians 3, and the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church to accomplish immeasurably more than we could ever dream possible!

w/ Rev. John Fitzgerald

“As For You: This Grace Was Given” (October 16, 2016)

from Ephesians 3:1-13

To have an understanding of Gods’ grace in your life is  to know the power of forgiveness, the power of hope, the deep value in knowing that you are loved and desired, and ultimately that the God of the universe is FIR YOU.  This is displayed in the lengths God was willing to go to in order to present His Son, Jesus as a sacrifice for your sin, thus opening the way for you to be invited into life with Him.

What if that grace wasn’t meant to stop with you?  What if it wasn’t so much about how it makes you feel loved and accepted and believed in?  What if you stewarded that grace in such a way that it wasn’t trivialized…rather it was leveraged for the transformation of lives around you?

w/ Vern Collins

“As For You: Reconciled to Reconcile” (October 9, 2016)

from Ephesians 2:11-22

We could agree that walls are important in providing stability, creating a structure that is safe…and yet so often we erect walls that are harmful and divisive.

What if instead of building walls between you and the rest of the world, or adding bricks to those that already exist, you instead began to work to break them down, just as Christ has broken down the walls that separate us from God?

w/ David Hockett

“As For You: Grace” (October 2, 2016)

from Ephesians 2:1-10

We have somehow allowed the life of a Christ follower to be boiled down to doing more of the right things and less of the wrong things in hopes of looking like one is at least moderately connected to Jesus.  We make plans and ask God to bless them, and we go on living our lives keeping Jesus just close enough so that He is accessible in times of trouble.

What if, life were less about what you can get out of it and what you can accomplish and more about embracing the weight of the grace by which our small lives were saved?  Then perhaps it would be less about achieving your 5 year plan and more about realizing you have something to live for no matter where you land.

w/ Vern Collins

“As For You: Hope” (September 25, 2016)

from Ephesians 1:15-23

Too often we allow our circumstances to determine our perspective…when you are having a good day or things are going your way, then life is good, right?  But, when you’re in a tough season, or you’ve just gotten some terrible news, then life is NOT good.

What if, instead, you allowed your perspective to determine how you view your circumstances?

There is reason to hope…hope that penetrates and permeates any circumstance you might be walking through…and it is a hope born out of the power of the resurrection.

w/ Vern Collins

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