Eric Crisp - Ephesians 1:2, 15-23; 4:4-6. If Christ is present in the world through His Body, the Church, then why are so many today devoted to one more than to the other? If the Church is truly the Body of Christ, there is no other way to belong except together. It’s all or nothing! So what does this mean for the way we practice our faith?
Steve DeNeff - Belonging - Ephesians 1:3-11, 22. Most of us have a deep longing to belong to another person or community but it’s often for our own sake. Paul describes a different kind of community and another way of belonging. In the Church, our community begins and continues in what Christ has done to both of us, whether we know it or not.
Steve DeNeff - Second Conversion - Acts 9. In the famous story of Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, there were two encounters that changed Saul’s life. One was with Jesus himself. The other was with Jesus’ people. Both were essential to Saul’s conversion. Yet we speak of one more than the other. In this intro to the fall series, Me-to-We, we’ll look at 4 characters that God brings into our lives to finish the work he started in us.
Dave Ward - It Is What It Is - Titus 3:1-8. There is a brokenness to our world. This brokenness is not just something that exists “out there.” If we look carefully, that brokenness is in here. It is tempting to ignore it or resign ourselves to it, saying “it is what it is.” God’s amazing grace gives us another way forward. For anyone needing a second chance, a new start, this is the best news possible. But this grace is not just for people who have not yet received it or come to know it. We need daily reminders of Christ’s amazing grace so we can live lives of amazing grace. If we do this well, then we ourselves become living reminders of God’s grace to others.
Jeff Clark - Building from the Rubble - Nehemiah 1:1-4, 2:1-18; 2 Corinthians 10:3-18. Paul says, “it is not the one who commends himself who is approved but the one who is commended by the Lord.” But many of us find our ordinary lives messy from forces that are beyond our control. What new potential might emerge if we humbly lived fully surrendered to Christ in the sphere of service God assigned us? We might find a Spirit-empowered believer has an advantage in building something beautiful from the mess.
Steve DeNeff - The Greatest of These… - John 15:7-14; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a. It is common to hear people speak about love. We search for it but too often it eludes us. The Christian vision of love is more powerful and practical than almost everything we’re hearing. And it is within our reach. At the peak of Peter’s list of virtues is love - for those inside the Church and those outside as well- but how do we learn it and what does it actually do?
Ethan Linder - By Design - 1 Corinthians 10:23-11:1. Many of us want lives that are more expansive, whole, and free; but it’s not as easy as wanting it (otherwise everybody would live that way). In this passage, Paul invites us to examine the structure of our lives, and how we can partner with God to build lives that are “constructive,” not just to us, but for others.
Steve DeNeff - Colossians 1:9-10; Philippians 1:9-11. The first two virtues of a beautiful life, virtue and knowledge, are often competitors in society today. In reality they are joined, but how? How does knowledge stimulate virtue and how does virtue cultivate more knowledge? In other words, how do we get smarter without becoming insulated or arrogant? To link these two virtues we need to practice the Biblical vision of both as expressed in these prayers of Paul.
Steve DeNeff - 2 Peter 1:2-11. Of all those who become Christians this year, about one in four will actively pursue this spiritual growth and of those who do, about one in ten will move on to new heights. What the others lack is often a vision and/or a plan. What do you want to be? And how is that going to happen? In this passage, written to new believers in the first century, Peter gives us a vision (v.4) and a plan (v. 5-7) for getting unstuck in our spiritual lives.
Eric Crisp - 1 Peter 4:7-11. When we recognize our identity as God’s special possession, we begin to sense that there is a better way to live in our world. But formation into this other way does not happen by accident or alone. We long for shepherd-elders who have seen suffering and the resurrection power of God. We need connections with those whose lives exemplify the Jesus-centered life.