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Building Relationships & Reflecting Love
48 Episodes
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Don’t Be Deceived

Don’t Be Deceived

2019-09-0136:08

These days, we have an extremely low tolerance for stress and frustration. This is bad news for us, since everything in life involves stress and frustration, chief among these is our relationships. In Romans 7, verses 10-12, Paul talks about how sin "seizes the opportunity" of our inability to fulfill the perfect law of God and in this way it kills us. But we are under grace, if we are in Christ, so this means the law becomes a teacher. Unfortunately, we so easily are deceived into thinking because we can't do it on our own that everything is hopeless. That is the great deception, and we must combat it with truth.
A New Beginning

A New Beginning

2018-12-3027:23

As we enter every new year, resolutions are made. These resolutions, for us who know Christ, are promises that are only kept by team effort: as we keep in step with the Holy Spirit. We see how in Acts chapter two, the entering of the Holy Spirit caused broken and hopeless men to move forward with power. We too can move out in power as we walk in the Spirit. We can keep in step by using creative ways to make intentional time for God. We can lessen the focus on ourselves by serving and staying active at our local church. And we can put any undesirable habit into the hands of God. All of this, in step with the Spirit, is part of our growth and transformation in Christ.
No Guts, No Glory

No Guts, No Glory

2018-12-2332:03

The glory of God is a public display of God's infinite beauty and worth. This is precisely what was on display in the life of Christ, as it says in John, "the word became flesh... and we beheld his glory...". Christ radiated God's glory by moving toward sacrifice, toward the emptying of self in love. This is not a rote, mechanical act - but one of compassion, being moved from the very depths of his humanity - from the gut. In this way Christ models how we are to have compassion, in graciously forgiving one another. This is where God will get the glory.
Ultimate reality, God's reality, is fixed - and this irks us. We want fluidity, a journey without a destination. The philosopher Nietzsche referred to our dodging God's reality as "sacred games" that we would have to invent. We can fall into a truth crisis if we let feelings and emotions become our new value system. But as we see in the book of John, Jesus came into the word "...full of grace and truth." Christ's circumstances did not change the truth he was bearing. His truth was foundational, it was based in God himself. His purpose was to show us the truth of God the Father and the lengths the Father would go to graciously redeem us.
A Light Has Dawned

A Light Has Dawned

2018-12-0938:02

The reason for the season is is darkness and death. The light the dawned on this world came from the outside, because the internal structure of creation was steeped in chaos. Jesus, as this light, did not come into this world to deliver us from our biggest physical problems. If that were so, he failed. No, Jesus came to deliver us from sin - truly our biggest problem. Jesus saves us from a pointless Christianity, from a pointless Christmas. Imbued with such purpose, we are to walk in the light; live as children of this light; shine the beauty of this light before all people.
Same As It Ever Was

Same As It Ever Was

2018-12-0231:15

Christmas, in all its commercial foolishness, is a season that can generate a lot of angst. Year after year, it's the same as it ever was. We are living a parody of our lives and Christmas is the pinnacle. The answer is not to put Christ "back in Christmas." No, looking at the cosmic description of the incarnation in the book of John, we can remind ourselves of the truth that transcends this time, or our efforts to "reclaim" it.
As the people of God we should not be content with a superficial interaction with others. In James, we are called to look after, which is to visit, to intervene. We do this by grasping God's grace, knowing that we were created to love and serve others. Then we can move to imitate God's incarnation as Jesus, by emptying and denying ourselves for the betterment of others. By doing all this, we can manifest mercy; being careful to live as the genuine, caring community we are called to be.
Sacred Wounds

Sacred Wounds

2018-11-1838:43

In the second chapter of Job we find another amazing response to pain and suffering. And even among Job's laments later in the book, we find small glimmers of hope, which point us to something greater. There must be acceptance of the storms of pain and suffering in our lives for us to begin to turn our wounds into sacred wounds. Then we must see, as it is so for trees, life's fires bear necessity to burn off dead wood and push our roots deeper into the true source of life. And finally, there is a certainty we have as Christians that carries us through and makes real, deep transformation possible.
It’s Complicated

It’s Complicated

2018-11-1140:24

We complicate things to avoid the truth. Our emphasis in this culture is on the stuff we have. The wrong emphasis can lead to losing sight of what really matters. But as we see in James chapter one, true religion is humble connection with others and thus staying connected with God. The connectedness with others and God should lead us down the narrow path - not letting our resident alien status in this world pollute us. There should be a difference in us, as we are made clean in fellowship with one another through the blood of Jesus.
Living a Decided Life

Living a Decided Life

2018-11-0432:51

In Exodus chapter four we find a puzzling story. We find Moses at a crucial time in his life, right before he becomes the mediator between Egypt and the people of God. But suddenly God moves forward to kill Moses. Moses' wife quickly intervenes and appeases God by circumcising their son. We see through this story the importance of not compromising, as Moses likely avoided the ritual of God's covenant sign just to appease man. For us, we need to understand that chaos is introduced when obedience is avoided. We must live decided lives, and cut off the other options. Do not deny the truth just because it is disagreeable to others.
Covenantal Baptism

Covenantal Baptism

2018-10-2837:21

Pastor Matt speaks about the sacrament of covenantal infant baptism, before administering the sacrament. God made a covenant with Abraham, which was sealed with the sign of circumcision. At the heart of this covenant between God and Abraham was a deep promise, that God would be with and bless Abraham and his children. We too, as Christians, share in this same covenant in Christ Jesus. And as our children are a part of our community, they too enjoy the relational benefits of the covenant people. The water we apply to a child does not wash away original sin or save them. Infants in the Church are baptized because they are covenant children and should receive the sign of the covenant.
A Final Warning

A Final Warning

2018-10-2134:18

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say – it has a sharp edge. It strikes at the heart of what is going wrong in our culture today. In the final chapter, we see a final warning. It's such a sour note to end the old testament on. But there is a seriousness to the reality of our sinful nature and its consequences. We must not misinterpret God's patience for his approval.
Selfishness

Selfishness

2018-10-1442:57

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say. Here, in the latter half of chapter three, we see our selfishness on display. We need to stop complaining, comparing and questioning God. We are all steeped in selfishness, and need to repent. We need to refocus on God within our relationships.
Robbing God

Robbing God

2018-10-0737:23

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say. In chapter three we see how we can easily tend toward a hoarder mentality. We have a greater heart for stuff than for people or God himself. We choose the illusion of security in stuff, and we live as if God doesn't exist.
Wearying The Lord

Wearying The Lord

2018-09-3033:50

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say. In chapter two, verse 17, we see the complaints of the people to God. Our concern is, so often, not with our relationship with God, but with the fact that others are prospering and we are not. Our constant complaints are wearying God. We see how we are to submit to the process, know that God's plan is for us, and know that he has not forgotten us.
Be Faithful

Be Faithful

2018-09-2343:12

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say. In the second half of chapter two, we encounter some harsh warnings. God lambasts the priests for breaking the covenant, and this breaking of faith extends from their families all the way to God. The faithlessness is a complete forgetting how God created us in covenant love.
A Lack of Passion

A Lack of Passion

2018-09-1640:22

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say. In chapter two, we see how we can lack passion in dark times. Our passion and zeal should be to honor God, not as a side gig. We need to ask ourselves if we are motivated and moved to honor God, because otherwise our lack of passion will communicate hollowness to the world.
Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say. In this passage we take a look in the mirror and see how unwilling we are to give God what is his to begin.
A Question of Love

A Question of Love

2018-09-0238:32

Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament, has some hard things to say – it has a sharp edge. It strikes at the heart of what is going wrong in our culture today. We want to be loved and chosen, there is a deep desire for an unending love, but our skepticism and doubt can cloud the chances of seeing God's true love. Malachi begins with a question of love. The people of God sardonically ask how God has loved them, and thus begins a series of doubt and questions which God answers with truth and rawness.
In God We Trust

In God We Trust

2018-08-1925:44

David expresses, in Psalm 56, a mix between fear and faith. We see him processing his distress over the insatiable rage of the men perusing him. Through his fear, we see David repeating the refrain "when I am afraid I will trust...". He is recognizing his fear and letting it propel him forward, and thus he grows in trust. The key to bypass the debilitating nature of fear is to focus on The Word, and ultimately The Word incarnate. Christ and His sacrifice has freed us from the full debilitating power of fear.
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