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Life in the Spirit
John 14:25-31 This Sunday, we return to the Gospel of John where Jesus will teach us more about the Holy Spirit. Here at PBCC, one of our family values is “Life in the Spirit.” On our website, we say the Spirit “is who connects us to Jesus, enables us to know him and empowers us to make him known.” After exploring this text, we may need to re-word that description because the Spirit is doing much more than what we have listed there. Join us Sunday as we learn more about the ministry and effect of the Holy Spirit.
Weary of Conflict, Longing for Peace
Psalm 120 Psalm 120 is the first in a collection of psalms (120-134) known as the “Songs of Ascent.” These songs were gathered together to be sung by pilgrims as they went up to Jerusalem three times a year for the great worship festivals of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. These yearly pilgrimages shaped Israel’s identity in the saving acts of God’s grace. “Pilgrim” is an essential aspect of our identity as followers of Jesus. As God’s elect, we are not at home in this world. We are citizens of another world, making our way to a heavenly “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10). Psalm 120 gives voice to the pain and alienation we experience as foreigners and exiles in a strange land, juxtaposed with deep longings for God that break us out of our paralysis and launch us on our pilgrimage.
A Friend For The Jesus Way
John 14:15-24 Join us this Sunday, as I share with you about a friend of mine. We have been friends for a few decades now. I try to make time for my friend on a regular basis, and when I do, my friend provides strength and joy and peace and wisdom and comfort to me. The really great thing about this friend is he is always with me and never leaves me. I am of course speaking about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. He is the friend we have with us on the Jesus Way.
Life Along the Jesus Way
John 14:6-14 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life, the only way to the Father. I invite you to follow me on my way. I invite you to do life the way I do life, because the way I do life is truth and is life.” So, what can we expect if we choose to follow Jesus on his way? What can we expect along His way to the Father? Join us this Sunday as we explore Jesus’ initial words for what life looks like along his way.
Paying Attention to Jesus
Heb 2:1-4 It’s Labor Day weekend, the traditional end of summer and start of a new school year. But many students have been back in class for two weeks already. We hope that they are learning again how to pay attention in class. Perhaps their teachers have given a pep talk: “You must pay the most careful attention to what you hear else…” An exhortation to listen and a warning of the consequences for not doing so: “…else you’ll fail the test, your GPA will suffer, and you won’t get into your choice of school.” The preacher to the Hebrews does a similar thing. After presenting the excellence of the Son in whom God has spoken, he exhorts and warns: “We must pay most careful attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Throughout his sermon he urges us to pay attention to Jesus.
He Whom Angels Worship
Heb 1:5-14 God spoke in the past to Israel through the prophets, and God has spoken in these last days to us in the Son. On the Emmaus Road Jesus brought these two together, explaining “what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” After his magnificent opening sentence, the author of Hebrews also brings them together, showing how seven OT texts point to Jesus. They reinforce his claim that Jesus has become far superior to the angels. Indeed, Jesus is worthy of worship by angels and by us.
Name Above All Names
Heb 1:2b-4 “What’s in a name?” said Juliet to Romeo. “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But names do matter. We all bear names, and have preferences about how we want to be called. God puts his name on people. OT Israel bore God’s name. God gave the risen and ascended Jesus a name above all names. The people of the New Jerusalem will bear the name of God and the Lamb. What does it mean to bear God’s name?
God Has Spoken
Heb 1:1-2 We launch a new sermon series, on the Book of Hebrews, entitled Christ Before Us. In the past God spoke to Israel through the prophets, in words preserved as Israel’s Scriptures, what we know as the Old Testament. God has spoken again in his Son, who both fulfills and is better than those Scriptures. He became like us in our humanity, to offer his own self for our atonement, so that we might become like him. The book repeatedly places Jesus before us, urging us to look to Jesus, to see him, to consider him. It also shows how Jesus has gone before us, faithful to the end. He is our faithful forerunner, whom we are called to faithfully follow.
How A Church Functions
Ephesians 4:11-13 This week we conclude our 2-sermon series on how God intends for His church to function, as expressed in Paul’s letter to Ephesian church. Ephesians chapter 4 describes some foundational building blocks which contribute to a healthy and vibrant church, and we will focus on a few of these: “Devotion to God’s Word”, “Participating in God’s Work”, “Ministry of the Saints”. While many of us are familiar with these PBCC Core Values, it is good to review them in the context of Ephesians 4. We hope to see you this Sunday.
Unity of Spirit
Ephesians 4:1-6 In the fractured and polarized world of the last three years, one would think that the church ought to be a stabilizing and unifying force for society. However, we’ve seen that the church itself was just as divided and polarized as the rest of society, if not more so. We know that disunity is not God’s plan for His family; He desires His children to live in harmony in the bond of love. One of the strongest exhortations for unity in the church comes from Ephesians chapter 4, a familiar passage from which PBCC derives several of our core family values. In a short 2-sermon series, we’ll retrace the lessons Apostle Paul taught to the believers in Ephesus and learn how God intends for the church to live in unity and to function as a living body.
The Priority of Prayer
James 5:13-20 The longing to be known and loved is universal, going back to the banishment of our first parents from Eden. But surely we live in an especially lonely time. Social media offers us innumerable opportunities for connection which have mostly resulted in deformed ‘communities’, and ‘friendships’ without content. The church, God’s plan for human belonging, is seen by many (too often with good reason) as unwelcoming and self-important. We turn to scripture for a better word. The final verses of James contain practical instruction on healthy church life – describing believers who pray with and for one another, are honest about sin and suffering, and sing praises from the heart.
Jeremiah: The Prophet and His Message
Jeremiah is not a book we usually turn to for our Bible reading even though one of the verses we quote and hear quoted often is Jer. 29.11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” However, not only is Jeremiah filled with beautiful verse and amazing metaphors, but there is also much that we can learn from Jeremiah’s painful life and his hard message to the people of Judah. We will explore these two themes on Sunday.