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Indestructible Hope (Christ is Risen Indeed)

April 24th, 2011 by Will Martin

Sermon Text: 1 Cor 15: 1-8; 12-20

When difficult seasons of life roll in nobody ever steps back and says, “Yes! Widespread hardship! This is exactly what I was hoping and waiting for!” Nevertheless, challenges do have a way of causing you to step back and ask, “What am I really banking on? Am I building my life on a foundation that’s strong enough to prevent circumstances beyond my control from taking it away?”

Today we gather to remember and celebrate the only hope capable of carrying a human life through anything that this world can bring.

People have not gathered for the past 2,000 years to proclaim, “The economy has risen,  it has risen indeed.” They have not gathered to shout the dollar has risen over the world market, or average life expectancy is risen, or the employment rate has risen, or residential home values have risen, or the value of your 401(k) has risen. Here’s the one indestructible hope that has strengthened human beings across the world for two thousand years in the face of the difficulties of poverty, disease, pain, all manner of hardship, and even death itself: Jesus Christ is risen – indeed!

Depending upon who you are that may seem like an abstract concept. You may ask, “What does Jesus Christ’s resurrection have to do with my life in this world today?” We’re going to seek to answer that question this morning against the backdrop of three questions: How much are you worth? How secure is your future? Is your past forgivable?

Hoping that the answers to those questions give you strength and joy,

Will (for the pastors)

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The Triumphal Entry

April 17th, 2011 by Will Martin

Scripture: Luke 19:29-44

Scripture Memory:  1 Timothy 6:17  

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”

Journey: As Easter, next Sunday is the one day of the year when we celebrate especially the resurrection of Christ from the dead. One week prior to his resurrection, on the first day of the week, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey greeted by the welcoming shouts and praise of many people. This is called the Triumphal Entry.

We’re told in John 12, that as Jesus rode into Jerusalem the people ran out to greet him with the branches of palm trees in their hands. Often people have thought that palm branches were a sign of peace but nothing could be further from the truth. The palm branch was actually a sign of rebellion. I’m betting you didn’t know that. . .   Come along for our Journey in the Word today and we’ll discover together the rest of the story. 

His peace and power on your life,

Will (for the pastors)

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Keeping What is Ours

April 10th, 2011 by Will Martin

Journey in the Word…

The history of the church is marked by traditions.  We often have traditions about the way we celebrate communion, practice baptism, take up an offering, dress for “church,” teach from the bible, encourage people to faith, etc., etc.  In the best senses of the term, “traditions” are positive things.  They are forms, routines or manners of behavior which are intended to preserve and emphasize things of worth and value.

However, sometimes traditions become so prominent in our thinking that they become unhelpful at best and destructive at worst.  Whereas their original purpose was to help us understand what it means to live a life of faith in Christ – they (the traditions) have become a focus of faith and confidence.  When that happens, we are led towards a soul-wearying life of bondage to dead religious rituals and value-empty routines.

That is just part of what we’ll consider today in our Journey in the Word as we think about Paul’s proclamation that in Christ alone we are given fullness of life and that He truly is all we need.

Blessings,

Will (for the pastors)

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Living in Deeply Connected Relationships

April 3rd, 2011 by Will Martin

Journey in the Word…

People who teach the Bible and seek to help others understand what it means to live like Christ often find themselves confronted with a dilemma.  The people they’re trying to help often have a real confidence in God.  They often want to please Him and obey his word.  But sometimes it is true that these same people are handicapped in their own growth in life because they have bought into ideas that on the surface sound Christian, but are in fact false.  So part of the challenge of helping others grow is debunking these “myths” about Christian life.

One of these myths goes like this: “If I have God, I don’t need people.  If I really depend on God, I don’t need to depend on others.  People disappoint us, people fail us, but God never fails us, so we should look to God and not to others to meet our needs.”

That may sound good, and as with most Christian myths there is a kernel of truth in it, but it’s a lie.  It is a boldfaced, community-damaging, life-crippling lie. Why? Come along for our Journey in the Word today and we’ll see why – together.

Hoping for your courage,

Will (for the pastors)

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