Posts in Messages
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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The New Exodus in Mark VIII: Powers, Principalities, and the Kingdom of God | Brandon Cook

Colossians 2:13-15 and Various Texts

Brandon Cook. In the afterglow of Resurrection Sunday, we explore how the resurrection of Jesus was understood by the early Christians, and specifically the cosmic dimension of it. What does it mean that we live in a world that is not only physical but spiritual, and that we can align with good or with evil? In this message, we explore the ideas of spiritual principalities and powers and how we can move in our authority as followers of Jesus to seem darkness overcome in the world around us.

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The New Exodus in Mark VII: Delight and Lament (Resurrection Sunday) | Brandon Cook

Mark 16:1-8

Brandon Cook. The first to hear of Jesus’ resurrection come in lament and grief. Then they experience bewilderment and fear before, ultimately, encountering joy. In this message, we explore how to “get off automatic,” so that we can fully experience life and the resurrection. It will mean learning to lean fully into delight and also into grief. This is how we become people who are fully open to Jesus’ resurrection.

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The New Exodus in Mark VI: The Face of the Kingdom | Ryan Longnecker

Mark 11:9-10, 11:15-17, 14:17-20

Ryan Longnecker.   Palm Sunday, in the context of Good Friday, invites us to consider: How will we know something is God, or of God, when we see it?  Scripture reveals that God's Kingdom is: peace in a world of violence, for all nations, humble service, and giving our whole lives.  When we allow Jesus to be our model of truly living, we can't help but cry out, "Hosannah"!

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The New Exodus in Mark V: God of Provision | Brandon Cook

Mark 6:30-44

Brandon Cook. God is not up in heaven pulling the levers of fate. Instead, He enters into the pain and suffering of the world. We are called to enter in as God does -- embracing and not cursing being in the world, seeking God's provision and to nourish and feed those He gives us to love. In this message, we explore how to be a people who cling to God's provision.

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The New Exodus in Mark II: Who do you say I am? | Steve Thomas

Mark 8:27-38

Steve Thomas. How can we follow Jesus into this new Exodus when our way seems better or best?  In this message, we are encouraged to follow, trust, and confess.  Through abiding fellowship, placing confidence in God, and declaring who Jesus has revealed himself to be, we are transformed into people who are free and open to all God has for us.

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Living In Exile VIII: The Way of Jesus, The End of Exile | Brandon Cook

Ezekiel 36:23-38

Brandon Cook. The end of exile comes not just with a return to Jerusalem but with the promise of a new heart. In this message, we explore how Jesus is the way, and how his way is to call followers into a community of practice. Spiritual practice—training, discipline, holiness and wholeness—is what opens us to God’s transforming grace, fashioning a new heart within us.

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Living In Exile VII: The Art of Discernment | Brandon Cook

Daniel 1:3-14

Brandon Cook. How do we live in culture and the world without being transformed—in all the ways we don’t want—by the world. We can withdraw from culture or we can accommodate culture. Or, might there be another path? In this message, we explore again how Daniel said yes but also said no, which becomes a template for us as we consider how to live well in this world, following Jesus.

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Living In Exile V: Living in Trust | Brandon Cook

Isaiah 30:1-5, 15-22

Brandon Cook. Israel is rebuked for trusting in Egypt rather than God, which falls into their pattern of looking to idols to save them. What does that mean in our context, when modern-day idolatry is alive and well but looks so different than it did when Isaiah was written? In this message, we explore how following Jesus means living in trust, and how trust always calls us away from worshipping idols.

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