Tag Archives: New Life

“Encountering Jesus: On the Beach (in the Ordinary)” (May 19, 2019)

from John 21:1-17

Have you ever stopped to consider how our entertainment, experience, pursuit-of-satisfaction driven culture affects our expectations of what encountering the Lord ought to look like…ought to feel like?

While there are certainly times when an encounter with God evokes a physical and emotional response…while there are times when those encounters are fantastical…what about those times seeks to encounter us in the ordinary…in the familiar?

What if you began to look for God in the familiar? In the every day? Imagine how things might begin to be different…how different following Jesus might begin to look.

w/ Vern Collins

“Resurrection Repair” (April 21, 2019) Easter Sunday

from Luke 24:1-12

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

So often we think of what the Cross of Christ means we are saved FROM, but how often do you consider the empty tomb of Christ and ask the question, “what am I saved FOR?”

Why do we look for life in dead places? What if the resurrection isn’t just something that happened 2,000 years ago…what if the resurrection can happen in your life NOW?

w/ Vern Collins

“Belonging: Offering Accepted” (February 17, 2019)

from 1 Corinthians 12:12-27

It is difficult to feel a sense of belonging when you don’t feel like you have anything to contribute to thing to which you have given yourself to belong. Even for those who would just as soon fly under the radar and are content with doing next to nothing, eventually the chasm of disconnect created is too much to navigate, and you are left feeling like there is no place for you.

In God’s Kingdom, in the Body of Christ…in the church, no gift offered is too small. In fact, Paul suggests that those who feel the least significant are perhaps the greatest gift to the church, and to what the church is called to be in this world.

What if your belonging included your willingness to use the gifts God has given you…no matter how small they may seem…to use the gifts God has given you in and through the church to transform the world?

w/ Vern Collins

“New Year Resolution: Broken Already (Jesus Knows)” (January 13, 2019)

from Ephesians 1:5-10 and John 4:1-18

Many of us see the turn of the calendar year as an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to make some changes, to improve some things about who we are. We enter a new year with a sense of hope and possibility.

What happens when we fall short of those things we want to see change?

What happens when this seems to be the pattern not only in our resolutions and goals, but more importantly in our walk with Jesus? How do you navigate the feeling of falling short once again? Is there guilt? Shame? Weariness? How does it affect your relationship with God? With others?

How might things begin to look different if you approached those disappointments with the understanding that…Jesus knows…and loves you anyway?

w/ Vern Collins

“Believe” (January 6, 2019)

from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Much of our energy and effort at the start of a new year is given to some measure of improvement of who we are. Whether it is committing to exercise more, be more intentional in relationship, eat healthier, or work harder…the new year represents for many a new start.

What if instead of simply trying to improve something about who you already are, you allowed a new or renewed understanding of who you are as one loved by God to transform the way you live the life that is ahead of you?

Imagine what could be different if you lived into the truth that you are the beloved of God. In the waters of baptism we have opportunity to claim that truth over our lives.

w/ Vern Collins

“Manger and Mystery: Recovering the Stable” (December 2, 2018) w/ Vern Collins

First Sunday in Advent

from Isaiah 9:1-7

As we begin the season of Advent, the march toward Christmas we must acknowledge that there is much that is familiar about this time of year.  There are traditions we uphold, customs, gatherings that happen every year, people we expect to see, even food we expect to eat…it is part of what makes this time of year so special…being able to enjoy things that we don’t always get to.

What if in the familiar, we have lost sight of that which is foundational to our reason for celebrating?  Has the birth of Christ simply become for us another familiar tradition rather then the foundation of our hope and the expectation of our future?

w/ Vern Collins

“Healing Connections: Forgiveness” (October 28, 2018)

from John 8:1-11

Often times we can know that God loves us and calls us to love those around us…to be LIKE JESUS to the world around us.  We can know that God loves us so much that He gave His Son as a payment for our sin.

If we know those things, what keeps us from feeling like we are living the new life that Jesus promises?  Why do we feel “stuck” somewhere between where we were and where God is calling us?  For many of us, it can be boiled down to one word: FORGIVENESS.

Too many of us carry the stones of condemnation or anger or frustration or hurt around, hindering our walk in the freedom of grace that God offers us in Jesus.  Maybe it’s our inability to forgive someone who has hurt us, or maybe it’s our inability to forgive ourselves…regardless, the invitation is to out those stones down and walk in freedom!

w/ Vern Collins

“Summer Reading-John: Revelation in the Routine” (August 12, 2018)

from John 21:1-14

What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you?  There is no denying that it is the the pivotal event on which the faith of Christians for generations continues to be built…it is the hope on which the church stands, and we mark it each year when we celebrate the resurrection at Easter.

But too often, we think of the resurrection as just that-an event.  Something that happened.  Something that can be marked at a point in time and is completed.  When we view the resurrection as simply an event, however, it becomes difficult to live in the hope that is made possible through it.

What if the resurrection is so much more than an event?  What if the resurrection is an eternal reality with significant implications in your every day life?

What if Jesus, truly does meet us in the routine with new revelation of Who He is?

w/ Vern Collins

“Summer Reading-John: I Am the Resurrection and the Life” (July 8, 2018)

from John 11:1-44

To be sure, the raising of Lazarus from the dead is one of Jesus’ most spectacular displays of power over the course of His ministry.  But for those who are familiar with the story, is it possible that we allow the miracle to overshadow the proclamation made by Jesus when He states, “I Am the resurrection and the life?”

Certainly there are tombs we need to be called out of, but in making this statement, what is Jesus speaking in to our present…what is Jesus speaking into all of our “IF ONLY” statements?

w/ Vern Collins

“Life Together: Community” (April 15, 2018)

from Ephesians 2:11-22 and Psalm 133

As we begin a new series inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work, Life Together, consider what makes you unique?  Or what is one unique thing about you?

All of us…all of humanity possess some unique quality that distinguishes us from others.  The question is, how is it that our distinctions can become the things that divide us?

It is perhaps one of the greatest arguments against the church…that the Body of Christ is often as fractured as the world around it.  What if, instead of defining ourselves by the things that set us apart, we find our distinction in the One thing that unites us?  Christ.

w/ Vern Collins

Easter “Hope Beyond Fridays” (April 1, 2018)

from John 20:1-18

We have a great tendency to hope for things that will not last.  Sure, like the end of the week, they may bring relief or rest for a brief period of time, but ultimately they are as fleeting as Fridays.

What if, instead of hoping for temporary newness, and the wrong kind of resurrection…you dare to believe that Jesus brings lasting hope and a new life that will not spoil or fade?

Imagine the possibility.

Jesus is RISEN!

w/ Vern Collins

“Falling Into Goodness: Choose the Humble Path” (March 11, 2018)

from Matthew 5:1-3

As we continue our series through the season of Lent, we are invited to consider one of Jesus’ keys to the kingdom we have been talking about in recent weeks…

Humility.

What if, instead of the way we tend to think of humility, as what we stand to lose by choosing the humble path, we dare to consider that humility is instead about what we might gain?

w/ Vern Collins

“Set Free: Love” (September 17, 2017)

from Galatians 5:1, 13-25

This week begins an 8 week series looking at the Fruit of the Spirit Paul points to in his letter to the church in Galatia.

Living in the freedom that Christ offers is meant to look like something…the question is, are you living free or are you bound by things that have taken control in your life.  To live freely means that God is able to bring things from you that are produced by the Life that is in you…imagine how different things could be!

w/ Vern Collins

“Church: Outside the Walls” (September 10, 2017)

from Matthew 28:16-20

In our final week of our “Church” series, we are challenged with the work that the church was tasked with: making disciples.

What if making disciples weren’t the terrifying thing we believe it to be?  What if making disciples wasn’t about forcing something on people?  What if making disciples was not about what you do, but about who you become?  What if making disciples was simply rooted in relationship?

It can be.  And God can do amazing things in and through you simply by a willingness to say, “yes.”

w/ Vern Collins

“Easter: Not the End” (April 16, 2017)

from Mark 16:1-8

In each of the Gospels we are given an account of the resurrection of Jesus…that moment, that event which took place on the third morning when Jesus walked out of the tomb.  The event that changed everything.  The hope of the church, and the world hangs on that one event.  The one that says death and sin DO NOT have the final say.

We hear that story each year on Easter morning…hear that hope proclaimed.  But how do you make more than just the retelling of an account of something that happened 2,000 years ago?  How do you, like Peter for example, EXPERIENCE the resurrection…the LIVING HOPE of the resurrection…the hope that affects your life NOW right where you are?

Mark’s Gospel gives us an idea of how we might go from hearing an account to be transformed by this Savior!

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

“You Asked For It: How Do I Interact With the World?” (September 11, 2016)

from Matthew 5:13-16

ou’ve likely heard that Christians should be, “in the world, but not of the world.”  This saying comes from something Jesus says in the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel as he is praying to His Heavenly Father on behalf of His disciples.  While this saying is not incorrect, too often we have a tendency to view it as the finish line when in reality, Jesus meant for it to be the starting point.

What if you began to think of being set apart as having purpose, rather than thinking about it as simply being sequestered from the rest of the world?  Imagine what your life, leveraged in every situation for the sake of the Gospel, might begin to look like!

w/ Vern Collins

“Paul: Driven by the Gospel” (May 29, 2016)

from Romans 1:1-17

What drives you?  That question is best answered with the question, “what day is it?”  Simply put-what drives us is often determined by the season in life, the predicament, or the circumstance in which we find ourselves. It is determined by the life we seek for ourselves or the goals we have in front of us.

What if all of those things were filtered through a central driving force?  What if your life were driven by the Gospel of Christ?  What if it informed and determined everything else that drives you?

Week 2 in our series on Paul considers a life “set apart for the Gospel of Christ.”

w/ Vern Collins

“New Life: Fragile” (April 17, 2016)

from John 15:1-11

A mark of maturity is independence.  Whether it is making decisions on your own, setting your own curfew, paying rent, buying a car, owning a home, attaining a job, trying something new, or starting a career, the ability to think, act, care for oneself shows independence…which translates to this world as a sign of maturity.

The problem comes when that thinking or that value system begins to affect our understanding of life with Jesus.  No matter how much we accomplish, we are all fragile people living fragile lives.

What if, your maturity in Christ weren’t about exercising your independence, but becoming more deeply dependent on Jesus?  In John 15, Jesus calls that, “remaining,” or, “abiding,” in Him.

What would it look like for you to embrace your fragility, rather than try and cover it up with all that you are chasing or accomplishing?

w/ Vern Collins

“New Life: Things Have Changed” (April 10, 2016)

from Luke 24:36-53

Paul promises in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians that if anyone is in Christ then they are a new creation…he goes on to say that the old has gone and the new has come (from 2nd Corinthians 5).

That is quite a promise for those desperate for change.  It is a promise that is full of hope that things don’t have to continue to be as they are…that the struggles we currently have we might just be able to lay down, right?  Well, yes…sort of.

What if the change that is promised does not have anything to do with your circumstances, but you within them…or your perspective about them?

We tend to get frustrated when we don’t see the change we long for as followers of Christ, but perhaps we are looking for change in the wrong place.

What if the reality were you were just  few adjustments away from experiencing the change you long for in Jesus…change that sets you loose on this world as one who can shape it for God’s Kingdom?

Things change when things have changed.

w/ Vern Collins