John 1:6-13 Like a musical overture to a symphony, the prologue to John’s gospel introduces the major themes of his work — the pre-existent Word, light, life, witness, darkness, rejection, believing, birth, glory. It is poetic — prose, dense with layers of meaning, ambiguity and especially surprise. After we are initially captivated and seized by awe with John’s exalted view of the the Word — preexistent, creator of all things, equal with God (John 1:1-5) — we can’t help but wonder, How will the Word make its grand entrance on planet earth? What kind of reception will the Word receive? What impact will it have in a world shrouded in darkness? The answers John gives are not what we would expect, but equip us with realistic expectations and tools for how to spread God’s light and love in a hostile world.
John 1:1-5 How one begins a story says a lot about what that story will be about. In his gospel, John begins with the Word who ‘was’ before anything else came into being. Whose greatness is matched only by His love. And who is powerful enough to ensure that the Darkness will not overcome the Light and that Death will ultimately be defeated by Life. Come join us this Sunday as we begin our Advent series walking though John’s introduction to the story of the One who was both fully God and fully man, the Word who became flesh and dwelt amongst us.
Genesis 22 This week we come to the climax of the Abraham and Sarah story. In what has been called the most difficult passage in the entire Bible, we come to the binding of Isaac. Way back in chapter 12, God calls Abraham and Sarah to cut themselves off from their past. Here in chapter 22, God calls them to cut themselves off from the future. It’s a monstrous test from God to Abraham, one in which we struggle to find the words to understand. But, could it be that through this uncomfortable, even horrific test, we make the ultimate discovery about God?
Genesis 21 Do you live a life of wonder and amazement at God’s great gifts? Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? After a long 25-year wait, the promised baby finally arrives and, wonder of wonders, it’s a boy! Sarah responds in wonder and amazement at God’s great gift. However, not everyone is happy with the new baby. But even in the turmoil and conflict we discover another wonder-ful attribute of God – he hears all our prayers. Wonder upon wonder and every wonder true! Come this Sunday full of wonder at God’s great gifts, then share them during our time of body life.
Genesis 19 Genesis 19:1-29 Last week we saw that God came down to investigate whether Sodom was indeed wicked. On his way to Sodom, he stopped to see Abraham and Sarah. And, we saw Abraham’s hospitality on full display. In chapter 19, the two angels arrive at Sodom, and they find the people of Sodom not very hospitable. In fact, they are very wicked and depraved. They are living by the motto: No one tells us how to live our lives. So, God judges them. However, within God’s judgment, we find deliverance. Lot is delivered for the sake of Abraham. The story ultimately reminds us today of our deliverance from sin, evil and death through Jesus Christ, who gave his life as a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6).
Genesis 18 After God’s promises to Abraham last week, we expect chapter 18 to be the birth of Isaac. But, it is not. Lot enters the picture again and will be the main focus of the next two chapters. (Remember he has moved into the wicked city of Sodom.) But God, in his great love and mercy, initiates contact again with Abraham and Sarah. They’ve done nothing to deserve all this attention. Yet, God continues to initiate. And, in this week’s text, he initiates contact disguised as strangers, even angels. How will Abraham and Sarah respond this time? Both of their responses become quite instructive for us. But, through it all, we continue to learn about God and his character.
Genesis 17 This week we return to the covenant. God had already entered into a covenant with Abram in chapter 15. Chapter 17 completes it. God wants Abram and Sarai to be active partners with him in his work. But, what does it look like to be an active partner with the living God? In other words, what marks us out who partner with him by faith? (Here’s one hint – this is baptism Sunday.) What is amazing is that this chapter stands alone in the Old Testament as containing five long and elaborate speeches by God himself.
Genesis 16 God made extraordinary promises to Abram and Sarai, but it has been ten long years and still no hint of fulfillment. They have grown weary of the wait. They are desperate people in a desperate situation, and they do what desperate people do in desperate situations. They act! But, they act without consulting God, which ultimately sets in motion the most hostile conflict in world history. But, within all the brokenness and fear and pain of not waiting (in trust), we still find hope. We find a “God who sees.”
Genesis 15 After spending two weeks considering Lot and his life apart from Abram, this week we return to the main storyline of Abram and Sarai, and God’s extraordinary promises to them of land and offspring. This week’s text provides the foundation of much of the theology of Paul, so it is an all-important text for understanding what it really means to walk in trust of the living God.
Genesis 14. Last week, we saw Abraham choose peace over conflict and display his trust in God in the area of land, as he allowed Lot to choose first and choose the ‘better’ portion. This week, we will see Abraham drawn into conflict for the sake of Lot and continue to display his trust in God, this time in the area of possessions. Come join us as we consider what it looks like to walk ‘In Tracks Of Trust’ in the area of money and possessions.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that when we follow Christ, we “walk by faith, not by sight.” This phrase will be the theme for this week’s study in the lives of Abram and Sarai. Abram and Sarai (and Lot) are back in the land, but another crisis hits. This time, Abram and Lot each have too many possessions for the land to sustain them. What will they do to solve this crisis? They must either choose to walk by faith, trusting in the living God and his promises, or walk solely by physical sight. We are faced with the same option everyday – will we choose to walk in trust of the living God or solely by sight? Genesis 13:5-18