Ecclesiastes 3 - We all live with the same amount of hours in each day, with no ability to make those hours go either slower or faster. As we feel the limitations of time, the Lord desires to use those limitations as one of the ways he teaches us to trust in him. As we explore the topic of time we will ultimately see how God sent his own Son into time in order to redeem us from sin and also redeem the time he has given each of us here on earth.
In Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 we again see that any “under the sun” (life without God) pursuit, including pleasure, results in vanity, emptiness, a meaningless end. Our society is obsessed with pleasure in a myriad of forms, inventing new ones every day. Fortunately, the Creator of pleasure provides us with an eternal perspective in our approach to this topic.
All of us have been given work to do, whether in the realm of business or family or academics. So, how do we learn to view and approach our work with God's perspective? As we explore this topic, we will be reminded that our work can only have eternal significance as it is grounded in the finished work of Christ's death and resurrection, whereby we have been saved by grace and have become God's "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Ephesians 2:10).
We continued our "Chasing Eternity" series out of Ecclesiastes this week with a look at wisdom. There are many principles for living wisely that can be helpful and good, but they all eventually fall short in providing true fulfillment and satisfaction. Ultimately, to live with God's wisdom is to receive Christ and his death and resurrection on our behalf.
This Sunday we began a new series in Ecclesiastes entitled "Chasing Eternity." Have you ever felt frustrated by life, feeling that despite your best efforts, life always seems to get the best of you? Why is that the experience for so many of us? And why would the Lord perhaps even set it up that way? In this challenging book from the category of Old Testament wisdom, we started to examine how wisdom can emerge from frustration, and that, ultimately, the wisdom of God is made available to us through Christ in even the most frustrating of circumstances.
Luke 6:27-36 - We were honored to have Jon Quitt, pastor of Vineyard Community Church, bring our message. As he and Pastor Ben swapped pulpits for the week, we were reminded that we as a congregation are a part of the larger church in Tuscaloosa.
I Peter 2:4-10 - This message by Jim Gleason, one of our elders, centers on what God has designed the church to be and to do.
As we consider new elders to bring onto the elder team, it is highly important for us to remember the biblical qualifications for elders so that we can be guided by these qualifications as we submit names for new elder candidates. This sermon focuses on "Seven Ways Elders Serve," taken from 1 Peter 5:1-5. Elders are God's chosen method for shepherding God's flock, so it is vital that we approach this time of identifying new elders with much prayer and guidance from God's word!
This message, "A Practice of Racial Reconciliation," is part two of our series on the gospel and race. Using Peter's experience in Acts 10 as our example, we will look at practical steps we can take in this area that help us to be the body of Christ in a way that reflects God's heart for all races and nationalities.
In our next two sermons, we will address the topic of the gospel and race. This sermon looks at how race is specifically included as a central component in God's plan of redemption from Genesis to Revelation. Then, in the next sermon we will think through practical approaches that each of us can engage in when it comes to God's desire to bless all races through Christ. We always want to be learning and growing as a congregation in what it looks like to be the body of Christ, and racial reconciliation through Christ is one of the most powerful displays of gospel transformation!
The body of Christ living together in biblical community is one of the greatest ways that the Lord reveals himself and carries out his plans and purposes in the world. In this message, we look at four characteristics of biblical community from Ephesians 4:25-32. As we look at each one, we will also emphasize that we can only live in these ways as we live out of our new life in Christ.
As we prepare for our prayer service on Wednesday, January 16, we will be "Beginning with Prayer," taken from Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. Many of us may feel that our prayer lives are inconsistent at best, so it is important for us to revisit this topic often in order that we may continue to learn to pray together. Please join us this Sunday as we consider this practice that is so crucial to knowing and experiencing God.
Galatians 5:16-24 - Often in this season we get wrapped up in all the things we need to do, and it invariably bleeds over into how we approach Christ. Instead of focusing on the many things we could be doing, may we take this time to hit the pause button and reflect on our relationship with Christ, our life with Christ, and our understanding of Christ, remembering that it starts and ends with grace by the work of the Holy Spirit.
II Thessalonians 2:13-17 - As we remember the first coming of Christ and look forward to his second coming, may we find comfort in the promise that "he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus."
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 - The presence of suffering in the world can be difficult to reconcile with the existence of a good God, and yet God used the suffering of Christ to accomplish his redemptive purposes. As we follow Christ, we share in his sufferings, and our suffering can also be used by God in ways that accomplish his redemptive purposes in our lives and the lives of those around us.
Isaiah 12 - The author of Hebrews warns us not to neglect the great salvation that is available to us in Christ. In this message, we take time to consider that Christ came to earth in order that he might become our Savior, one who saves us from our sin.
Psalm 119:49-56 - On this first Sunday of Advent, we look at how the psalmist encourages us to experience the Lord through his words. In doing so, we will remember that God's words to us in the Bible point us ultimately to Christ, who is described in John 1 as the living Word, one who came as a light into the darkness of our world and the darkness of our own hearts.
Luke 2:25-35 - As we enter into the holiday season that can often be filled with much noise, busyness, relational struggles, sadness, and disappointments, may we remember that God is one who offers comfort. And because Christ came to earth, died on our behalf, and rose again to new life, we now have access to God as our Comforter.
Psalm 107:3 says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.” The more aware we are of God’s goodness to us, the more our hearts erupt in thanksgiving to him. This message takes a closer look at Psalm 107 and helps us remember and recognize God’s goodness in our lives and to subsequently respond with thanks to him.
Mercy. A great Bible word that perhaps many of us don't quite understand. What is mercy? Why is it important? How do I get it? How do I practice it? How do we relate to God and others through the lens of mercy? All of these are questions are addressed in this final sermon in our "Guarding Our Hearts" series as we look at Matthew 20:20-34.