Sunday, May 30, 2010

Explore More: Ephesians, Week 3

May 30-June 5, 2010; Week 3

KNOW | Personal Study
Set aside 30 minutes and read Ephesians... AGAIN.  Surprise, surprise!  By the third time through you will begin to pick-up on common phrases; Paul's writing style; and how different parts of his letter connect, build upon, and relate to one another.

GROW | Discussion Option #1
Why did God choose a nation, Israel, to be His people?  Read Genesis 12:2-3 and reflect on God's mandate for Abram/Israel.  How does this passage illuminate the question above?  The Church (literally 'called out ones') is the redeemed nation of God's children through Christ Jesus.  Keeping Israel's calling in mind, what do you think is the Church's calling/responsbility?

GROW | Discussion Option #2
What is the glory of God?  Read Isaiah 42:7 and Colossians 1:27.  What does the person and work of Jesus do for our reason for being?  Out of context, this reason for being seems incredible selfish of God.  Why or why not is this selfish?

SOW | Application
John Piper (Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church) often makes the observation, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."  Take time this week and reflect on your relationship with God.  Ask yourself the question, "Am I satisfied in Him?"  After you've taken time to do that, consider how your satisfaction in Him affects your life.  Tell someone this week how Jesus has satisfied you...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Youth Come to Christ!

Last weekend Calvin Williams took a group of youth and leaders to History Maker Youth Conference in Langley.  Two youth gave their hearts to Christ and many others were strengthened in their faith.  Thank you for your support of Calvin, our youth leaders, and our youth.  Your prayer, service, and financial investment makes an eternal difference!

Kid's Camp Garage Sale

A big thank you to everyone who donated their "junk" and their time for our Kid's Camp Garage Sale!  We raised over $1800 for Kid's Camp!

A significant number donors and volunteers lead by the Clark's made this day possible.  Thank you to Safeway for letting us use their parking lot.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Explore More: Ephesians, Week 2

May 16-22, 2010; Week 2

KNOW | Personal Study
Set aside 30 minutes and read Ephesians... AGAIN.  Yes, I know you did this last week, but trust me, new things will pop out.  In preparing for this series I read Ephesians more than a dozen times and each time I learned new things which made me understand the other verses with greater clarity.

GROW | Discussion Option #1
What are the qualities of a good gift giver?  Think of the times that you have received a really good gift and what made it so great.  Think of times you have received a horrible gift and reflect on why it was so bad.  Compare and contrast these situations and then line it up with creation's greatest gift, Jesus.  How does seeing God as a good gift giver and Jesus as the gift change your relationship with Him?

GROW | Discussion Option #2
When someone gives us an over-the-top gift that we don't deserve we call that a gift of grace.  Gifts of grace be given in different ways, such as... patience in the presence of incompetence; kindness in the face of opposition; forgiveness in the presence of hurt; generosity in the presence of greed; diligence in the presence of laziness; humility in the presence of pride; and etc.  Who in your life has extended grace to you?  How did they do it?  How did it make you feel?

SOW | Application
How does the grace of God, as demonstrated so completely in Jesus, impact the way I approach life and treat others?  Is there someone in my life that I can bless with a gift of grace this week?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Explore More: Ephesians, Week 1

At Sunday's gathering I referenced some sheets called "Explore More" that people were welcome to take home.  These sheets contain ways that we as a church can better reflect on what is communicated on Sundays.  In case you missed Sunday or you forgot to pick-up a sheet, here it is...

May 9-15, 2010; Week 1

KNOW | Personal Study
Set aside 30 minutes and read the letter to the Ephesians.   Doing so will not only bring greater context to parts of the whole letter, but will also help you track where we go as a Church on Sundays.  The Bible is the only letter that I know of where people jump around to different parts... how does that make sense?!

GROW | Option #1
Although a secular analogy can never be a perfect illustration of God's character and plan, it can (if done with accuracy to God's Word) illuminate parts of God's character and plan.  Read Ephesians 1:3-23.  How does the example of a family business illustrate God's and our involvement in the very meaning of life?  (This question will make more sense if you listen to the sermon/drama presentation on Sunday, May 9, 2010).

GROW | Option #2
In Ephesians 1, Paul talks lots about the fact that we were chosen by God and that He predestined us to know Christ.  How do you balance this or right this with other verses such as 2 Peter 3:9 NIV "The Lord .... is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." and Revelation 22:17 NIV  "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."?  Discussion like these can be divisive if we allow ourselves to be more important than others.  Approach with humility and discussions like these can build our faith and trust in God.

SOW | Application
Knowing whose we are changes how we see ourselves.  How does knowing that we are Sons and Daughters of God through Jesus change the way we see God, ourselves, and others?  Does this realization change how you live?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Are You Ready for Mother's Day?

There is an aspect to Mother's Day (and all holidays for that matter) that is annoying.  Commercialism is near the top of the list of reasons.  It's subjective allowance to treat our Mom's less lovingly for the other 364 days of the year is also valid reason.  Then there is the less seen hurt that exists around all holidays.  Anytime one promotes something, there is a reaction by those that don't have that something.  Negative reactions usually ensue such as hurt, bitterness, longing, jealousy, apathy, anger, etc.  For those that fight those responses it makes 'celebrating' that much more difficult.  Relational holidays (such as Valentines, Mother's Day, etc.) polarize our responses even more than other holidays because personal relationships are connected to them.

Where does the Church to come into all of this?  As Christ's body we should respond to everything in a way that fits the heart of the Father as revealed in Jesus.  Furthermore, we are people of the Spirit, who is God working within us to reveal His heart in every situation.  Therefore we are to be sensitive to God's Spirit at all times, knowing that each situation is different and therefore requires a different response.  I think there are times and environments where celebration of our Mom's is good and right.  I also think that there are times and environments where greater sensitivity towards those that find days like Mother's day difficult, is needed.

To the Christian (and the Church) it is obvious that we should honour and serve everyone at all times... with our thoughts, our words, and our actions.  To the Christian is inherent that we should regularly honour and thank those that are in our life.  For the Christian doesn't need secular holidays to remind them of these things, but only the presence of God dwelling within them.  With that being said, however, I don't think it is wrong at all to use what Hallmark meant for profit and turn it around for God's good.  Each and every day (even Mother's Day) is an opportunity to celebrate with those that are experiencing good times and be present with those that are finding the day difficult.  Jesus is present in both circumstances when we are present with those we share life with.

So my challenge this weekend and every day is to give permission to Jesus to love our neighbours however they need to be loved in the present (that includes our Mom's too)!