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The Weekly Message



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The Power of Perseverance

posted Nov 11, 2018, 1:29 PM by web feat

It's easy to believe that our faith and good works should somehow protect us and make us immune to misfortune. That if we live good lives, we should be rewarded and never have to suffer. But as we know, life doesn't work that way. The good news is that God never leaves us, and each challenge we face just makes us stronger and wiser and more compassionate toward others. God uses adversity to shape us into the people we were created to be. So, we must never give up and never give in.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

What Does Love Look Like?

posted Nov 4, 2018, 3:11 PM by web feat

A religion scholar asks Jesus,  
“Which is most important of all the commandments?”

We know Jesus' answer:
“The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

And the religion scholar responded,
 “A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!”

But what does that love look like in practice? How do we actually live what we say we believe?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

The Problem with Power

posted Oct 21, 2018, 1:43 PM by web feat

It's a surprising request from 2 of Jesus' 12 disciples:

 “Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honor in your glory—one of us at your right, the other at your left.”

Say what? How could they have heard Jesus' teachings and watch Jesus in action, and still not understand?

“You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.” (From The Message by Eugene Peterson, Mark 10:35-45)

But are we any different?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Words Matter

posted Sep 16, 2018, 2:49 PM by web feat

It's easy to be careless with our words, tone impulsive and just "shoot from the lip," without realizing the possible consequences. And yet, those words can cause more damage than we realize.

 "A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell." (From The Message by Eugene Peterson, James 3:3-6)

By our speech, we can also make the world a better place. We all have a choice.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

When You're Under Attack

posted Aug 26, 2018, 3:43 PM by web feat   [ updated Sep 16, 2018, 2:41 PM ]

We all go through those times when we feel we're under attack, when we personally experience the evil of this world. And in times like these, Paul reminds us we have options.

"...be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." [NIV, Ephesians 6:10-13]

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Stretching Our Faith

posted Jul 29, 2018, 1:59 PM by web feat

It's a story we've all heard...Jesus and his disciples find themselves surrounded by over 5,000 people, all eager to know more about this man who has done miraculous healings. But all are hungry - what to do? They don't have enough money, and even if they did, where would they be able to purchase enough food for that many? There's a little boy who happens to have 5 loaves and 2 fishes - yeah, that's going to get everyone fed!

Amazingly, Jesus once again does the impossible. With only 5 loaves and 2 fishes, he provides enough food so that all are fed, with enough left over to fill 12 large baskets!

How did he do it? We'll never know the specifics. But the bigger question is, why did his disciples - who had already witnessed miracle after miracle - still have so little faith? And how can we press through our own doubts?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Living Our Faith

posted Jul 22, 2018, 2:54 PM by web feat

A common challenge all Christians face is this: how can we actually live our faith, and not just talk about it? James gives us some very practical guidance:

Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger... Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!

....Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. (From The Message by Eugene Peterson, James 1:19-27)

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Strength in Weakness

posted Jul 8, 2018, 3:47 PM by web feat

We all face challenges we would never choose, and we try to be strong. But too often we think we need to be the source of our strength, forgetting that our real strength comes from God. Paul experienced a lifetime of difficulties, but never lost hope. In fact, he came to see his "handicap" as a gift.

"...so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."  (From 2 Corinthians 12, Eugene Peterson's, "The Message")

How can we do the same?

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Time for a Fresh Start

posted Jun 17, 2018, 2:42 PM by web feat   [ updated Jun 17, 2018, 2:46 PM ]

We sadly live in a time of serious division, when even some who profess to be followers of Christ disregard the lives of others, and too often put their own self interests first. But this is not what God intended for us. We must never forget that God created us all, God loves us all, and God calls us to love and care for each other as our brothers and sisters.  As Paul wrote,

"One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look...Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other." (From 2 Corinthians 5, Eugene Peterson's "The Message")

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

Don't Lose Heart

posted Jun 10, 2018, 2:20 PM by web feat

For many, this has been a week of great challenges. And in a moment, our world can be turned upside down.

The apostle Paul knew adversity well. From shipwrecks to prison cells, he lived a life of constant difficulty, yet never lost site of the bigger truth, and a bigger purpose. As he wrote to the Corinthians,

"Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever." (From 2 Corinthians 4, Eugene Peterson's "The Message")

God is making a new life in us as well, and though we may endure circumstances we would never choose, God is by our side, preparing us for something bigger and greater.

Click here to listen to the message, and here for other resources. 

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