Sermon on the Mount III: Salt and Light in a Pepper and Dark World | Steve Thomas

Matthew 5:13-20

Steve Thomas. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges both the ways of legalism and "I'm just going to do my own thing". While upholding the purpose of scripture, Jesus brings us back to the essential of relationship: loving God and loving others. In following Jesus model, we are indeed salt and light.

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Sermon on the Mount II: Towards Spiritual Maturity (Becoming Salt and Light) | Brandon Cook

Matthew 5:11-18

Brandon Cook. The Sermon on the Mount is a roadmap to life in the Kingdom of God, an invitation to be transformed. In this message, we examine Jesus’ statement that he came not to abolish but to fulfill the Law given to Israel, opening up the pathway to transformation. Using M. Scott Peck’s description of spiritual growth in four stages, we analyze Jesus’ statement to see how Jesus calls us out of mere law-keeping or performance and into a life deeply grounded in the love and generosity of God.

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Sermon on the Mount I: Beatitudes - Getting Right Side Up In An Upside Down World | Ryan Longnecker

Matthew 5:1-12

Ryan Longnecker. In the intro to our series 'Sermon on the Mount' we look at one of the most famous passages in Scripture, the Beatitudes. Jesus reminds us of God's promises to care for, defend, and comfort His people while also showing those who experience pain, persecution, and struggle might be closer to the Kingdom than they realize.

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Abundant August IV: Fully Mature Children of God | Brandon Cook

John 1:10-13 and Romans 8:26-30

Brandon Cook. In biblical teaching and Christian thought, abundance is synonymous with maturity. In this message, we explore what it means to become mature as we trust that God’s universe will provide everything we need for the formation of our souls so that we can welcome all reality, the joyous and painful, trusting that God “works all things together for our good.” This maturity will mean leaving behind our strongholds (the things that have helped us survive) so that we can learn to thrive in new ways of being with God, others, and in the world.

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Abundant August III: Giving Grows Out of the Heart | Barbara Sunofsky

2 Corinthians 8:1-3,7-8,12-15, 9:6-11a

Barbara Sunofsky. What if abundance has nothing to do with how much or how little money we have? Money is a reality in all of our relationships, past, present, and future. We consider how we feel when we have or do not have money, and how we steward its power in our relationships. Giving money away is a spiritual discipline that we practice because of our knowledge of Christ's abundance. As a community, we engage in spiritual formation to make a commitment to give all we readily and easily can, and beyond.

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Abundant August II: Relationships - God's Means for Abundance | Jaci Anderson

1 John 4:7-12

Jaci Anderson. The opposite of abundance is not scarcity, but isolation. Through relationships, we tap into the abundance God has for us in our families, city, and world. We learn from Africa New Day's Pastor Andre, and World Vision Clean Water projects, that relationships that give capacity, instead of create dependence, are essential to abundance. We contemplate: Who has God used and given you to access his abundance?

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Abundant August I: A Life of Being, Doing, and Pruning | Brandon Cook

John 1:1-14

Brandon Cook. In August, we focus on our discipleship value of abundance, which comes from a life of listening and responding. In this first message, we explore how all abundance flows from a life of obedience to God’s Spirit. This obedience has nothing to do with compulsion and everything to do with connection. And it means a pruning of our small self so we can live from a big story involving risk, romance, and adventure.

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Philippians - Honor One Another III: Forgetting What is Behind | Brandon Cook

Philippians 3: 1-14

Brandon Cook. Paul says that his old identity—based on his ethnicity and pedigree and accomplishments—is worth nothing in comparison to what Christ has done to bring us into the family of God. And then he says that to live fully into this reality of new life in God’s family, we must forget the past and strive to what is ahead. In this message, we explore some of the dynamics involved in “forgetting what is behind” so that we can be fully held by God, moment to moment.

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Philippians - Honor One Another I: Heaven Here and Now

Philippians 1:8-11, 20-24, 27

Brandon Cook. Paul writes from to the Philippians from prison, wrestling with big questions—he touches on the nature of eternal life and of heaven. In this message, we explore the theology of heaven and what it means to be a follower of Jesus here and now. We see, for example, that part of the work of the contemporary church is to deconstruct the Gospel Americana with its message that the goal is heaven rather than Jesus. This allows us to wrestle with our own big questions: How do we live well here while resting in the hope of eternal life? What does heaven here and now look like, and how would we lean into it?

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLVIII: An Abundant Life of Lament | Brandon Cook

Acts 28:23-31

Brandon Cook. The Book of Acts comes to an end with Paul in prison in Rome, facing an uncertain future. But it doesn’t before Paul levels a lament about the hardness of heart around him in those who refuse the good news of Jesus. Paul taps into the Jewish legacy of lament—of giving voice to the things that disturb and shake us. In this message, we explore how lament—which can feel like an assault on God Himself—is actually part of how we demonstrate trust and move forward in hope.

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLVII: The Power in the Powerlessness | Brandon Cook

Acts 28:1-9

Brandon Cook. Paul’s journey continues with a shipwreck (!) and a snakebite (!!). His path is filled with ambiguity and powerlessness, yet he is filled with power. In this message, we explore how the only way to walk in the fullness of the Kingdom of God is by embracing the powerlessness we might detest, and finding there a fountain of God’s life and provision.

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLVI: Jesus is Our Hope | Jessica Lacy-Driscoll

Acts 26:1-8, 9-18.

Jessica Lacy-Driscoll.  In light of Paul's testimony before King Agrippa, we ask: How do we let Jesus be our hope in the midst of longing and waiting.  Jesus often brings his goodness in ways we do not understand.  We open ourselves to his presence of hope by grieving, confessing, receiving, encountering and being commissioned.  We consider where Jesus is inviting us to put our hope in him.

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLIV: Life as a Partner | Brandon Cook

Acts 24

Brandon Cook. We do not understand life in God until we understand what it means to be God’s partner, his fellow laborer. But this is not how most of us have been trained to think about who we are. In this message, we explore how Paul the Apostle viewed discipleship—life following Jesus, and how at the heart of it, we are invited not only to see ourselves as children of God but as those who are at work with God in seeing all things made new.

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLIII: Walking the Narrow Path | Brandon Cook

Acts 23

Brandon Cook. Paul follows in the footsteps of Jesus. Literally. On trial before the Sanhedrin, we watch him shrewdly navigate the religious rigidity which soon boils over into bloodthirst. What is happening here? Why are the religiously rigid out for blood? In this message we explore one of the pitfalls of walking the Jesus path: the temptation of religious rigidity, and how we can avoid it by whole and holy obedience and commitment.

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLII: Encountering Jesus | Matt Cullen

Acts 22:1-22

Matt Cullen. How do we learn to encounter Jesus as he really is?  As Paul recounts his most pivotal encounter with Jesus, Matt recounts his own life reorientation which includes asking the questions: “who are you Lord?” and “what should I do?”.  Matt offers prayers of confession and repentance for generational strongholds of busyness as we are invited to slow down, make space to hear the voice of Jesus, ask questions, and surrender together.

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Acts - The Shape of the Kingdom XLI: Imagining Kingdom Community | Jaci Anderson & Ryan Longnecker

Acts 21: 26-40

Jaci Anderson and Ryan Longnecker.  We return to our series in Acts as Paul helps the early church establish the Kingdom of God through community that has to face very real tensions and conflict.  Engaging scripture through the contemplative practice of Imaginative Prayer, we consider that, Jesus calls us out of hiding in the crowd, or from the crowd, and into risk for Kingdom Community.  Jaci and Ryan discuss and demonstrate experiences of both hiding and risking to create Kingdom Community.  


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The New Exodus in Mark IX: Living Under the Authority of Jesus | Brandon Cook

Mark 6:7 and Various Texts

Brandon Cook. As we continue to consider how the early Christians understood the death and resurrection, we explore the the authority of Jesus which, throughout the Gospels, Jesus commissions us to live in.
How then do we live fully under Jesus’ authority? We will see that it involves blessing creation and all of life, when the temptation for all of us it to blame and curse. And that in so doing, we become restorers of God’s good garden, where we live, work, and play. 

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