Easter – March 31, 2024

“The Empty Tomb”

Mark 16:1-8

We are always being invited to something. As you watch youtube ads or see other people wearing certain brands or following trends, those are invitations to buy in. To say yes. To follow. Some invitations are great. And some are meant to be turned down. And we have to be really careful with our responses to these invitations because every yes, is a no to a million other things.

But the Bible talks about an invitation that is so great, it’s worth dropping everything to respond to. What is this greatest invitation? In this week’s verse, we see that there are three parts to this invitation:

  1. To see the real Jesus
  2. To see the real us
  3. To see our real life/purpose

The Life and Times of Samuel – March 24, 2024

“Spirit-filled Saul”

1 Samuel 11:1-15

Maybe we see something a type of injusticec on the news, and it infuriates you. But sometimes you don’t act on it because you feel like you don’t have power. But as Christians, we too have something powerful inside of us- a source of power called the Holy Spirit, God himself living in us.

Our Bible story today is about what happens when the Holy Spirit moves a person and takes control of their heart. We see that the Holy Spirit makes us angry at evil and dedicated to God’s glory.

The Life and Times of Samuel – March 17, 2024

“The ark of the LORD is captured and returned”

1 Samuel 6:1-12

It’s normal for young Christians to grow up going to church and believing whatever the pastors say. And we can be really passionate about Jesus, and we can spend a lot of time doing church stuff.

But then our faith gets challenged. We’ll be challenged by friends or culture or professors, or tragedy, or the stress of life. And in those moments, we actually need a reason to keep believing in God. And it really helps if we know where to find evidence.

So, my big question today is: How does God make himself known? My big idea today is that God makes himself known, to all of us, with extraordinary power and extraordinary kindness. My goal today is to show you this idea in our Bible story, and we’ll see that we are actually quite similar to the characters in the Bible story.

The Life and Times of Samuel – March 10, 2024

“The Calling of Samuel”

1 Samuel 3

For some of us, we don’t know what it means to “hear God” because God doesn’t normally speak audibly, yet the Bible tells us we are meant to know and recognize his voice.

John 10:27 tells us, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

So, we know that it should be normal for followers of Jesus to listen to his voice. But how does this happen? How does this work? So, my big question today is: How do we listen to God’s voice? 

The Life and Times of Samuel – March 3, 2024

“Eli’s wicked sons”

1 Samuel 2:12-26

We are all in the process of becoming someone. Whether intentional or not, We are all in the process of becoming someone. At every single moment of your life, every decision and action you make or don’t make is an investment towards a future version of you. Hitting that snooze button in the morning. Reading everyday. Sneaking onto the transit without paying. Working out 3 times a week.

All these things shape you but it does so in a slow compounding way that you don’t really notice until one day, you realize, this is just who you became and you can’t pinpoint how you got here! And that’s a bit scary! Because I live a lot of my life on autopilot which means I’m probably becoming someone I don’t want to be.

The good news is that we’re not these helpless puppets that have no say in the way we’re formed. God has given us a lot of freedom to shape who we become 5 years from now, 10 years. 50 years. But where do we start?

That’s our focus today.

How do we grow well? In all ways, spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, financial even. How do we become Christians mature in Christ?

The answer I want to show you today is that to grow well, we need to honour God above all else, in order to:

  1. Keep ourselves from becoming scoundrels
  2. Keep others from becoming scoundrels

The Life and Times of Samuel – February 25, 2024

“The Birth of Samuel (The Story of Hannah)”

1 Samuel 1:1-20

This week, we begin our series on the life and times of the prophet Samuel.

Today, I want to start off with a question: What is the most mysterious part of prayer? Is it the lack of answers or the deafening silence? Or maybe it seems like God says yes to some people but then he says no to others?

We find prayer to be really mysterious. So my big question today is: What is the kind of prayer that God honors?

That’s what our Bible story is about today. Our Bible passage comes from 1 Samuel 1:1-20. It’s a longer story, but it’s a good one.

Our passage today tells us that God honors us when we:

  1. Bring ourselves as we are
  2. When we trust what He has said

Revelation: Seeing the Invisible – February 18, 2024

“A good look at heaven”

Revelation 21-22

What is heaven like? That’s actually a really important question.

Obviously it helps to know about heaven if we ever have to deal with end of life issues. But heaven is so much more than a topic for the end of life.

In my experience, our idea of heaven changes the way we live every day. And if you really know what heaven is like, you’ll feel the power of heaven even nowadays. You’ll be more stable, and more optimistic, and you’ll be more bold, and you’ll have a stronger sense of direction in life. But first we need to get our idea of heaven right.

So our big question today is, what is heaven like? And our big idea is that heaven is a perfect place with perfect relationships. Because it’s a perfect place, we can be excited to go there, and we can be excited to take people there. And because it has perfect relationships, we can experience the power of those relationships even today. My task today is to show you all these ideas from the Bible so that you can have a firm expectation based on God’s words.

Revelation: Seeing the Invisible – February 11, 2024

“Fire and Brimstone”

Revelation 18:1-5

The bible talks about a time when Jesus comes back and gets rid of evil forever. When the Bible talks about the final judgment it sounds pretty scary, and it should cause all of us to pause because all of us have done things that are wrong. There are no perfect people – including myself – nor perfect societies.

But, there is a just and righteous God who will one day overthrow everything that is evil and sinful, including us and whatever empires we have built without Him. The good news, however, is that the Bible tells us that God, out of His great love, has made a way for us to escape the judgment to come.

So, my big question today is: how can we be ready for God’s judgment?

We find our answer in our Bible passage this week. There are two keys for being ready for God’s judgement:

  1. Expect justice
  2. Escape early

Revelation: Seeing the Invisible – February 4, 2024

“To the Church in Pergamum”

Revelation 2:12-18

There’s a prevailing idea in our culture, that as long as there’s consent and as long as you’re not hurting anyone (DIRECTLY), you should do whatever makes you happy. This is the kind of freedom that we celebrate!

And it’s not that bad of a rule. At first glance, the only ones in danger of getting hurt are people who have agreed to it or yourself. And so this is like the main idea of our time. You do you. And everyone has to accept it. And it’s even become a trait of our churches. We turn a blind eye and let people do what they want as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but today, I just want to make the case that there’s a point when tolerance and compromise becomes harmful. When it’s no longer loving, but just apathetic – “I don’t care what you do or what happens to you, just don’t involve me.” When it’s no longer freedom but it’s slavery – “I can’t NOT do this. I MUST live like this. My heart needs it.”

And so here’s our question today. For ourselves, for our friendships, and for the church…

WHEN MUST WE CONFRONT WHAT IS WRONG?

Our answer is:

1) When INTEGRITY demands it
2) When INFLUENCE demands it
3) When INHERITANCE demands it

We get this from our passage today as we continue our series in Revelations.