Luke 10:38-42 How Jesus calls us to allow him to minister to us, to be in a position of replenishing our souls. Mary and Martha. Will close as helping people to see this as an invitation from the Lord, not a slap on the hand.
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.
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.
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 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.
Mark 8:22-26 When do people start looking like trees? When Jesus isn’t finished working on you. This Sunday, we will be taking a look at one of the most unusual miracles Jesus ever performed during His earthly ministry — a miracle that reminds us that He isn’t finished with us, that there is more to see, and that He can open our eyes in ways no one else can. “Jesus, the Great…Ophthalmologist?” (or “Is Your Vision 2020?”)
Nehemiah 3, Ephesians 4:11-13
John 17:20-26 In John 13-16 we have Jesus teaching and training his disciples to go out in the world and represent him. But in John 17, Jesus starts to pray aloud, so his disciples hear him. This is one of the most astonishing passages in the Bible. At one level it’s astonishing because it is an extended conversation inside the triune God, an actual conversation between the Son and the Father. It’s also true that Jesus is, so to speak, on his deathbed, and having been at the bedside of many people right before they have died, I can tell you that people who are dying are not really interested in small talk. They go right to what is most important to them. And that is true here as well. And when we look at this prayer in its entirety, we see the main thing that he has on his mind and heart as he is about to die is us, the church. He prays for a number of things for us in this chapter. This Sunday we will focus on one of those things as we look at the final 7 verses of that prayer.
As humans, we long for community, a place of belonging and connectedness. However, these longings are being eroded by a culture that does not make time or create space for deeper relationships. Instead of togetherness there is an increasing sense of isolation and loneliness. The influences of the culture seep into the church. Authentic spiritual community is more difficult to find. Our souls suffer and God’s presence in the world is diminished. This Sunday we conclude the summer series by exploring the question, Does Community Matter?
The gospel is the good news of what God has done in Christ. It is good news for us, and we receive it as true. Is it also good news and true for the world around us? We live in a multicultural, pluralistic age and location where diversity, acceptance and tolerance are promoted. How do we bear witness to the truth in such a world? God sent his Son into this world on a mission: to proclaim the good news, and to be the good news. Now we too are sent into the world around us on a mission: to be witnesses to the good news of Jesus.
Living in our Silicon Valley culture today we can find ourselves so easily driven, distracted and feeling depleted as a result. How do we sustain our life with God so that we can thrive and not just survive? The art and practice of learning how to catch our breath become invaluable and essential for us all.