Acts 16:6-15 In our text this Sunday, Paul, Silas and Timothy launch out into new territory to advance the gospel, but with no real sense of direction. Whichever way they turn the road is blocked for more than 200 miles. Given that Paul had a clear and proven strategy plus an exceptional team, it seems strange that the only divine direction they get is negative. They seem caught in a liminal space, the space in-between the “tried and true” and a new beginning. It is an uncomfortable place to be with no clear direction, but from a Biblical perspective these times are essential for our spiritual formation. If we embrace them, they deepen and matures us in ways our that our fervent activities cannot and lead us to new thresholds of opportunity.
Acts 15:36-16:5 In Psalm 133 the psalmist joyously proclaims, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together as one!” This was Jesus’ overriding prayer for his disciples – “that they may be one even as we are one… so that the world may know that you sent me” (John 17:21-23). When the Holy Spirit was unleashed on the day of Pentecost the dream came true – the disciples shared all of life “together” with one mind and heart. Then suddenly a rupture occurs at the highest level of leadership. Emotions get heated, tempers rise and a fissure erupts with leaders parting ways. What drives leaders to disagree? How should it be handled? What does God do when things are not resolved amicably.
Col 2:6-7 Like Walking Trees Once a person comes to faith, how does one continue to live and grow in faith? This Sunday we have a guest speaker who will share on this key idea for the spiritual life from the book of Colossians. Bruce Hindmarsh is the professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, BC, and his main area of research is Evangelical Spirituality. Bruce and his wife, Carolyn, have been with the staff for a retreat this week. We have been so blessed by his time with us and are thrilled he will be speaking this Sunday.
Josh 8:30-35 “Are we finally there!?” This is often the question that follows the “Are we there yet?” question in most long family car rides. While the Israelites and Joshua have come a long way, they still aren’t ‘there’ when it comes to fully inheriting the Promised Land. This Sunday, our final Sunday in the Joshua series for 2018, we will see Joshua lead the people in a covenantal renewal ceremony of sorts, before they continue the conquest of the land. We, like the Israelites, are in daily need of renewal. The good news is, we have good news!! In Jesus and the omnipresent Spirit, we have all we need at our disposal to be daily renewed and to arrive ‘there,’ living in the Presence of our King!
Josh 8:1-29 After the miraculous victory at Jericho in Joshua 6 came the devastating defeat at Ai in chapter 7. The sin of Achan was dealt with, but as chapter 8 begins, Ai is still standing in the way of the conquest of the land. There’s no way around it. How do the people of Israel rebound after the defeat? Failing to obey the Lord will lead us to defeats similar to Israel’s. How do we face up to the same spiritual enemy a second time when we totally blew it the first time around?
Josh 7 As we resume our studies in Joshua, the people of Israel are ready to move forward after the miraculous victory God had given them at Jericho. The next stronghold, Ai, doesn’t appear to amount to much, after all, what’s so remarkable about a place whose name means “ruin”? Israel doesn’t simply lose the battle, they are routed, all on account of one man’s sin and his bet that he could somehow prevent his actions from ever seeing the light of day. Together we’ll discover from the story of Achan what’s involved in dealing with the high cost of sinning.
1 Cor 15:20-28 He has risen! The man who was dead and buried on Friday, was alive on Sunday morning. He is the living one! And because he is the living one, life wins! God wins! The good news of Easter is that God wins, but, also, that those who are in Christ will win too! That’s what Paul is trying to get across in his resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15. We will soak in verses 20-28 this Sunday, but I encourage you to read the entire chapter in preparation.
John 12:12-33 We take a break from our Joshua study this Sunday to enter into the story of Jesus as told by John. I invite you to soak in John’s version of Palm Sunday this week, when some Greeks show up asking to see Jesus. It’s the same question you and I ask everyday, isn’t it? We want to see Jesus.
Josh 6:1-27 Almost everyone is familiar with the battle of Jericho and its theme song “the walls came a-tumbling down.” But few understand the nature of “holy war” and how the theme developed in the Old Testament and was taken to new levels with the coming of Jesus. Though the methods of our warfare have changed, the theology in these texts is extremely profitable for our instruction.
Josh 5:1-15 “Let’s get the show on the road,” many of the Israelites must have been thinking after Joshua 4. However, “Not so fast,” is the Lord’s reply. The pause button remains pressed as there are some final — and critical — preparations that must be made before the conquest of the land can officially begin.
Josh 4 So the journey across the Jordan is complete but there remains work to be done before the conquest of the land begins. The Lord knows the forgetfulness of His people and wants to help them install a “Never Forget The Jordan River Wonder” memorial before He continues to work Wonders. None of us can see into the future, but we can all look back into the past to see how God has worked to provide us with hope in the present and the future. What are those moments in your life’s past where you can see God’s wondrous hands at work?
Josh 3 Armed with the knowledge that the inhabitants of the land are melting in fear, Israel is ready to enter the land. Now God says it’s time to go, but as they arrive at the Jordan they find themselves faced with a flooded river and a fortified city. Even IF they could cross the river, they will be left with no retreat – there will be no turning back! It seems to be a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’ but God has said go…