Fear of the Unknown

November 27, 2018

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, I’m paraphrasing, “Forget about the past. Stop looking back. It may have been great, but can’t you see I’m going to do something even better?” The Israelites were stuck in the past, remembering their former captivity and the miracles God had done, yet fearing the new freedom they now had.

Shedding Leaves

November 26, 2018

My husband and I went camping in northwest Arkansas a few weeks ago. We missed the peak color by a week or two, but the trees up there were still gorgeous. So many shades of yellow, orange and red. And leaves, there were so many leaves!

God's New Creation Conversation

November 24, 2018

In our First 15’s for this week, we have been looking at some of the ways in the past, present, and future that God has moved and is moving into the neighborhood (John 1:14). Yesterday, we looked at the ever expanding tent that God has pitched in the church. Today, we come to the close of our First 15’s, but we return to where we began the week.

God’s Church-Tent

November 23, 2018

In our First 15’s for this week, we are looking at some of the ways in the past, present, and future that God has moved and is moving into the neighborhood (John 1:14). Yesterday, Thanksgiving day, we looked at the temple as the dwelling place of God with God’s people--particularly in and through the songs of thanksgiving and praise offered up by God’s people.

Singing Songs of Thanksgiving

November 22, 2018

In our First 15’s for this week, we are looking at some of the ways in the past, present, and future that God has moved and is moving into the neighborhood (John 1:14). Yesterday, we looked at God’s mobile tent, the tabernacle, built for a mobile God drawing us into God’s promises for us.

The Mobile Tent, the Mobile God

November 21, 2018

In our First 15’s for this week, we are looking at some of the ways in the past, present, and future that God has moved and is moving into the neighborhood (John 1:14). Yesterday, we looked at the story of Babel, and how our tendency to demand community that conforms to our idea is mysteriously, messily countered by the community that God gifts us with.

The Mysterious Mess of Community

November 20, 2018

In our First 15’s for this week, we are looking at some of the ways in the past, present, and future that God has moved and is moving into the neighborhood (John 1:14). Yesterday, we looked at the story of creation as a story of God’s long, redemptive conversation, across the story of Scripture and across the years, for God to once again move into the neighborhood and walk and talk with God’s people.

The Long Conversation

November 19, 2018

In this final week of our Together series, in our worship services and in our group study we discussed John 1:1-13. In particular, we looked closely at John’s announcement of some very good news: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling [literally, “pitched a tent”] among us” (John 1:14). Or, as the Message translation puts it, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

A Beautiful and Well-Lighted Place

November 17, 2018

The American author, Ernest Hemingway, in one of his short stories, described a simple, but beautiful café that was open late into the night. Two waiters, one young and one old, have a discussion about a lonely man who comes to the café each evening. The younger waiter gripes about the man and wants to close the café so he can go home to his wife. The older waiter, however, has experienced, like the lonely man, the inevitable losses and suffering of life.

Entering God’s Conversation

November 16, 2018

This week, we are inspecting the threads, strands, and fibers that comprised the heart and soul of this together kind of discipleship community that Luke described in Acts 2:42-47. Yesterday, we looked at their practices of sharing a meal together, and today we come to the final practice that Luke lists for us in Acts 2:47. This community of friends were “devoted...to prayer.”

Feasting Together

November 15, 2018

This week, we are inspecting the threads, strands, and fibers that comprised the heart and soul of this together kind of discipleship community that Luke described in Acts 2:42-47. Yesterday, we looked at their commitment to fellowship, and so quite naturally that friendship and fellowship extends to a companion practice of being “devoted to...the breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42).

How They Love One Another

November 14, 2018

This week, we are inspecting the threads, strands, and fibers that comprised the heart and soul of this together kind of community that Luke described in Acts 2:42-47. Yesterday, we looked at their commitment to obey and live out Scripture. The next practice or discipline that Luke reports about this community is that they were devoted to “fellowship” (Acts 2:42).

Obedience is the Thing

November 13, 2018

This week, we are inspecting the threads, strands, and fibers that comprised the heart and soul of this together kind of community that Luke described in Acts 2:42-47. Yesterday, we focused on what is at the center of this community, the solid core of the strong, thick cord that bound together this community of friends: Jesus Christ.

Jesus at the Center

November 12, 2018

This week, in our worship services and in our group study we looked at the summary of the practices or disciplines that characterized the early church’s life together in Acts 2:42-47. Luke, the author of Acts, pauses for a moment in his story of the birth and expansion of the church to lift the hood and show us the working parts that drove the engine of growth in the early church.

God's Big House

November 10, 2018

This week we have been walking together through various sections of the book of Amos and looking at the reasons why, when a plumb line was placed against the house of Israel, God found the house to be unlevel. We can think of Amos as God’s building inspector, sent to survey the houses and buildings Israel had constructed to see if they were up to code.