On Thursday night of what we call “Holy Week” Jesus arranged for a final gathering with his beloved friends. The mood was tense. Shadows of fear and violence danced around them as even the betrayer sat in their midst. There is a sense of confusion and powerlessness amongst the disciples. Some desperately ask for more details around Jesus imminent departure. Others quarrel over their importance in the coming Kingdom. In the middle of this cauldron of conflict, Jesus confronts them on the topic of power, but does it in a most unexpected way – by washing their feet. With this scandalous act of love, Jesus posits a radical new pattern of living.
Can we adopt this posture of serving in our own lives? Or, like Peter do misguided beliefs about power threaten to preclude us from experiencing this precious grace?
3 Very Strange Words – Sin, Salvation,Shalom
When we start with God and ask Him “What About Ideals?” we begin to grasp his desire for flourishing/shalom in all spheres of His creation and soon realize that sin is shalom-breaking, a way of spoiling the way God wants things to be. Download Audio
3 Very Strange Words – Sin, Salvation,Shalom
In order to understand these three very strange words, we need to reflect on the question,
What About Creation?—so we understand God’s ideals for the way the world should be.
3 Very Strange Words- Sin, Salvation, Shalom.Before we can understand these three words, we need to reflect on the question—What About God?—without any reference to ourselves. He is the immortal, invisible, God only wise.
We welcome Bruce Main, founder of Urban Promise, a ministry created in response to the problems of inter-generational poverty and the incarceration of youth in Camden, New Jersey. Its mission is to equip children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, personal growth and success. Founded in 1988 by Bruce and his wife Pamela in the basement of an unused Baptist church, Urban Promise began with just one adult staff, 12 college-aged volunteers, and a small budget. Today, the organization has grown significantly working internationally in 8 different US cities, in Toronto, and in countries such as Malawi, Uganda, Honduras, Liberia and the Dominican Republic. For more information, go to www.urbanpromiseinternational.org
We are taking a season to be attentive to God’s faithful presence, asking how we, as a community, might join with Him in bringing shalom to the places we inhabit. Today we are asking the question, what is our neighbourhood? (Jn1:14) The World has changed to the degree that “neighbours” living in close proximity generally don’t have the same level of connectedness or inter-dependance they once did. Life in the neighborhood – whatever form it might take – is the context where “The Word becomes flesh” through the lives of Christians living in community. In order to be “light and life” in the places we inhabit we must find ways to root deeply into the relationships and spaces where God has us.
In John 1:14 God’s spoken Word appears in a Bethlehem cowshed in the form of a mortal body. “The Word made flesh.” As we consider our own mission, what must we learn from this altogether extraordinary manner of communication? How is the good news made relevant – fleshed out – in the down-to-Earth, day-to-day of our lives?
While the philosophers of John’s time sought to know truth through the intellect, the truth had come in bodily form and was knowable only in Jesus. The Church’s witness of this truth is not just to tell the story, but to live as salt and light – a visible expression of the good news.
Without mission – a sense of purpose and pursuit beyond ourselves – we are lost. But what does it mean to be a Church on Mission? Should we send more missionaries, more money, more shoe boxes? As we have been listening to God in this season of our Church’s life, we sense a call to be attentive, working our sails to capture the wind of God’s Spirit. So we must be attentive to God – as he is already present, and at work in the places we inhabit. And we must be also be attentive to who we are – as God takes our raw material and fashions it into something useful for his Kingdom.
Our last service of the year will be intimate and interactive. Come prepared to share with each other your experience of Gladvent 2017, and also to receive a “Star Gift”—a word to guide your way into this new year.
It’s unexpected, it’s subversive, it’s astonishing. Our all-powerful, all-knowing God chooses to inaugurate His kingdom by coming down from heaven to dwell among us in the finiteness and frailty of human flesh. In the words of Dan Allender, “(Jesus’) arrival is an invasion, not a merry Christmas.” As Jesus “invades” the lives of familiar characters in the Christmas story, we see how unsettling and how revolutionary God-With-Us actually is. Even today, Jesus invites us to be transformed and mobilized by the unexpectedly good news of God-With-Us.