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07 Jan 2018 Goals

Sunday Service: January 7th, 2018
Title: 2018 Goals
Speaker: Tim Morey
Scripture Focus: Romans 12:1-21
Speaker Intro:
This weekend: we ease into a series on our vision and values with an annual check-up of sorts. Text is Romans 12:1-21, which outlines three big goals I want us each to embrace this year. Pursue a mind soaked in Scripture, serve with joy and purpose, and love like you mean it.

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31 Dec Rituals and Habits

Sunday Service: December 31st, 2017
Title: Rituals and Habits
Speaker: Tim Morey
Scripture Focus: Exodus 34:10-23
Speaker Intro:
So holidays are times when we enact rituals that are meant to shape our way of being – Christmas to remind us of the incarnation, New Year’s to remind us to give thanks for another year of past and to look forward to what’s to come. The Bible also gives rituals – holy days, festivals, patterns which are meant to shape God’s people. On Sunday we will be looking at some of these rituals and how they are meant to shape us as God’s people.

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17 Dec Red Letters – Ep 12 – Take

Sunday Service: December 17th, 2017
Series: Red Letters
Episode: 12
Speaker: Doug Lee
Scripture Focus: Mark 14:12-26
Speaker Intro:
I am psyched to bring the teaching this Sunday as we get into Command #12: Take. I’ll be speaking out of Mark 14:12-26 where Jesus shares the Last Supper with his disciples as a way of marking the end of his time with them.  He does nothing less that summarize and culminate the gospel by pointing the Passover meal to himself.  And after doing that, he tells them to keep doing it until he comes back.  He knew that going back to the core of the gospel was going to be essential for us as a real source of guidance, hope, and power to live into the present-and-coming Kingdom of God.

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10 Dec Red Letters – Ep 11 – Watch!

Sunday Service: December 10th, 2017
Series: Red Letters
Episode: 11
Speaker: Tim Morey
Scripture Focus: Mark 13:32-37
Speaker Intro:
This week, Red Letters with an Advent twist, out of Mk 13:32-37.  Jesus’ commands as we await for his return can be summed up in the word “Watch!”  We are to be expectant of his return, which moves us toward righteousness, stewardship, and compassion.

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07 Dec He’s coming back??

“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
(Liturgy of St. James)

Advent is about Christ coming into our world as a baby, and about him coming again for his people. From the beginning, believers have anticipated Christ’s return, but what does that mean, and what are we to do with that truth? That will be our topic this Sunday.

Also, next Saturday the 16th is our Exploring Membership class. If you feel Jesus has called you to live out your discipleship to him with this particular community of faith, this class is for you (details below).

Lord bless you friends, and we’ll look forward to being with you this Sunday –

Tim
Mt633

Up.In.Out.Together

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03 Dec Red Letters – Ep 10 – Pray

Sunday Service: December 3rd, 2017
Series: Red Letters
Episode: 10
Speaker: Tim Morey
Scripture Focus: Matthew 6:9-13
Speaker Intro:
This week we begin Advent, and our Red Letters series will be bringing out some Advent themes.  The text is Mt 6:9-13, the Lord’s Prayer, with special focus on this line: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  What does it mean to pray God’s will be done?  And why would Jesus want his people to pray for this?  Short answer: Jesus wants us to enact God’s reign, even as we await for the King’s return.

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30 Nov #metoo

“Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
(1 Timothy 5:2)

The dominoes are falling. Hollywood’s power brokers, iconic media figures, Washington’s most powerful officials, titans of industry, sports idols. Everywhere that there are men who have abused their power to gain sexual advantage, women are coming forward and calling them out.

Good.

The amount of pain, degradation, and violation that women suffer in this regard is staggering. A majority of women have experienced harassment, ranging from inappropriate come-ons to groping, pressure and threats from men in positions of power, and a painfully high number have experienced molestation or rape.

We are right to grieve with our sisters in their pain. We are right to support our sisters who are speaking up about their experience. We are right to rejoice in truth – hard as it can be to hear – because it is right to “rejoice whenever truth wins out” (1 Corinthians 13:6). We pray for change, that this moment will contribute to a world in which women are more and more treated as their heavenly Father would have them treated. We also remember – hard as it can be – that the gospel is for both abusers and abused. Perhaps we have sinned in a different way, but all us have sinned, and all of us are in need of grace.

What can we learn in the midst of all this? Two themes that run through these stories stand out to me as especially significant. First, we can’t avoid reaping what we sow. And second, the Bible’s sexual ethic, object of scorn that it is, is actually brilliant.

As story after story comes to light we are shocked, but should we be? Our entertainment industry is hypersexualized, both feeding and shaping our culture’s longing for whatever sexual freedoms we as individuals desire. Should it surprise us that such an environment might also lead to a culture of abuse? And that a culture which objectifies women on our screens will also end up objectifying women in real life? And that where power goes unchecked it leads to abuse, and where abuse happens, abuse of a sexual nature will often be in the mix? (It was a shocking, if not entirely surprising, outrage to learn that the powerful in congress have a fund for paying off women who come forward with complaints. They have a fund!!!)

In a culture which every day tells us that we deserve to have our desires satisfied, we need to remind ourselves that God puts fences around our sexual expression, not because he would deprive us of something good, but to preserve that good. Both on an individual and a societal level, he wants to protect us from the harm that results when our libidos become our gods.

For our culture to continue to celebrate an anything-goes sexuality, which degrades sex and objectifies women, while simultaneously shouting, “But don’t you go and abuse it!” is as naïve as telling a drunk to take the car for a spin but not to hit anything. If we do not exercise our sexuality in the way which God has designed it, we will experience wreckage, personally and societally. And we will not be able to control the shape that wreckage does and does not take. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “God will not be mocked, we reap what we sow” (Galatians 6:7).

Second, the Christian sexual ethic, which to a watching world seems naïve and backwards, is brilliant. If you wanted to shape a society where sex is not a commodity, women are not treated as a means to an end, where it is taken seriously that intercourse joins people in more than just their bodies, that recognizes how serial hook ups lead to severely damaged souls, where children grow up with the benefit of two parents, etc., one could hardly find a better starting place than the words of Jesus:

“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

Then, as now, people recoiled at the challenge those words posed. In the Jewish world, the idea that one could not simply obtain a divorce for any reason and move on to the next partner was enough to cause Jesus’ disciples to ask if marriage was worth it! (To which Jesus also affirmed the value and dignity of singleness/celibacy – a teaching that challenges us as well.)

As Christianity moved into the Greco-Roman world with its anything-goes sexuality, the Christian sexual ethic was even more foreign. Wherever your attractions took you – male or female, child or adult, slave with no choice or willing partner, spouse or mistress – nothing was out of bounds. For the Christians to affirm as they did that sex was only for those who were married, only between men and women, only for those old enough and free enough to consent, and that you were to be faithful to one partner for life – this was crazy talk. And as our society becomes more post-Christian, it sounds crazier here as well.

Yet it would be hard to deny that to the degree we live by the sexual ethic Jesus taught, we find a level of shalom that reflects the deepest longings of both individuals and society as a whole. We ache for the lack of whole and healed sexuality.

We do well to pause here, in the midst of the avalanche of scandals, and look at ourselves. Are my interactions with the opposite sex respectful, marked by dignity and “absolute purity,” as Paul says? If not, why not? We might ask ourselves, how am I letting the culture shape my view of women? Of men? Of sex? Is my own sexual ethic derived from the Scriptures, or from the world’s present mood? Do my choices in what I let entertain me feed a Christian ethic or a worldly one? Am I seeking to have my views and practice shaped by Jesus and the Scriptures, or am I being conformed to the world around me?

God do your work in us. Give us grace to live as your people, honoring you and honoring one another.

Lord bless you friends, and we’ll look forward to being with you this Sunday –

Tim
Mt633

Up.In.Out.Together

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26 Nov joy – prayerfulness – gratitude

Sunday Service: November 26th, 2017
Title: Joy – Prayerfulness – Gratitude
Speaker: Tim Morey
Scripture Focus: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Speaker Intro:
This week we are having an open mic sharing service around the guiding question, “How is God showing up in your life these days?”

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19 Nov RED LETTERS – EP 9 – Go, Get Moving!

Sunday Service: November 19th, 2017
Series: Red Letters
Episode: 09
Speaker: Brenda Chance
Scripture Focus: Mark 16:14-15
Speaker Intro:

Mark 16:14-15
Later, He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole of creation.”

Command #9: Go, Get Moving!

Summary: What happens after Jesus brings heaven to earth in the life of someone in need of Him? It’s important to take note of the answer, because likely the words Jesus speaks to the leper, the lame, the demoniac, and the unsuspecting disciples, might be the same thing he asks of us. Jesus doesn’t sequester his followers. They don’t wander off and get separated. Nobody gets sat on the bench. Every recipient of Jesus’ miraculous touch in the gospels is sent out from the presence of Jesus to bear testimony to the power of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t make old lives a little bit better; He radically transforms lives and commands them to get going with living the rest of His story.

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12 Nov RED LETTERS – EP 8 – Rest!

Sunday Service: November 12th, 2017
Series: Red Letters
Episode: 08
Speaker: Tim Morey
Scripture Focus: Mark 6:30-32
Speaker Intro:
Command #8 is out of Mk 6:30-32, where Jesus tells his disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Rest! Finally, a command we can get excited about, yes? Jesus is not messing with our money, sex lives, telling us to love people we don’t want to love, etc. All gain, no pain. But the question then becomes: why do we have a hard time obeying this command? We will be exploring this question on Sunday, and gleaning some practices from Jesus to help us grow in this.

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09 Nov lament for texas, new york, las vegas

We watch, horrified, as one national tragedy follows another on our television screens. Mass murder in Las Vegas, a terrorist attack in New York, a massacre of Christians at worship in a Texas church. It feels like there is barely time to absorb one before news of violence breaks again.

How do we respond? Any talk of response feels small, trite. But we can’t help but respond – it flows out of us in one way or another, for good or for ill. Three biblical examples come to mind.

Lament. At its simplest, to lament is to be honest about what has occurred, and choose to feel it. To enter into the grief rather than looking away, to allow our hearts to break, to resist the urge to move too quickly toward the numbing we seek when we are in pain. We tell the truth – clear-eyed acknowledgment of evil, honest admission of loss. Sorrow – we let the tears flow, in grief and in anger, at a world that is not the way it is supposed to be. And lament leads us to cry out to the God whose tears mingle with humanity’s, and who chose to right the world’s wrongs by allowing himself to die on a splintery cross.

Prayer. Shortly after his wife’s death, a colleague asked CS Lewis whether he prayed much. I pray all the time these days, he replied. “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping.” In times of tragedy, prayer will be mocked, ala “You should do something, not just pray!” But nothing, nothing, nothing we can do is more powerful or more necessary. We need to pray because we need God’s action in our world, and just as importantly, we need his action in us.

Action. In tragedy, we rightly ask, Is there an appropriate action for me to take? Perhaps we know an affected person that we can reach out and comfort. Perhaps we feel moved to give financially to a person or a cause, or to call a legislator, pressing for better gun laws. Perhaps we need to engage in self-examination, asking honestly, in what ways might I be complicit in our culture’s love affair with violence? There is no either/or between God’s action and ours. They are necessarily interwoven, as we are Christ’s Body on earth. Much of the good He does will come through you and I.

And just as important, we remember that as followers of Jesus there are actions we don’t take – in body, speech, and in the posture of our hearts. We don’t retaliate. We guard against a desire for justice devolving into a desire for vengeance. We don’t hate. We follow the command of Jesus, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). We remember that we too are sinners in need of grace, and we act accordingly.

May God’s peace come to those who have lost so much in these past weeks, and to us as we respond.

[**On another note, the women’s event this weekend had to be postponed – sorry about that! It will be rescheduled after the holidays.]

Lord bless you friends, and we’ll look forward to being with you this weekend –

Tim
Mt633

Up.In.Out.Together

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05 Nov All Saints’ Day – Martin Luther

Sunday Service: November 05th, 2017
Title: All Saints’ Day
Speaker: Tim Morey
Speaker Intro:
Speaking of, it’s time for the annual All Saints’ Day message!!! I love these, but then again, I’m very nerdy. Given that this week marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the historical figure we will learn from this year is Martin Luther. Among the lessons in his life: courageous love for the truth, embracing the authority of Scripture, and God’s use of broken vessels.

* the 2-minute trailer that Pastor Tim mentioned in this message can be found here *

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