Have you ever witnessed a relationship rupture? A spouse cheats, a friend gossips, a coworker betrays to protect their own career; there are countless examples of violations that will rip a relationship apart. Have YOU ever experienced a ruptured relationship in your life? When that happens, we are often left wondering if there is anyway to go back. Is there anyway for this relationship that has been blown apart to be put back together again? According to the book of Leviticus, there is a way to heal ruptured relationships, but the cost is high and the process is bloody. Join us as we continue our study in the book of Leviticus, this week looking at the Guilt Offering.
Christianity offends people for many reasons. But one of the biggest is the message that says, “You’re a sinner in need of salvation.” Few things in our culture are considered as offensive, primitive, and negative as the idea of sin. And yet how can we make sense of a world full of evil, injustice, cruelty, darkness, and oppression if we have no way of thinking about those things within ourselves? This passage, which is all about the fourth offering in the book of Leviticus (the “sin offering”), offers great help to us in understanding sin and how to deal with it.
Three of the biggest struggles in our world are 1) personal identity and worth; 2) social fragmentation; 3) hope for the world. The third offering/sacrifice in the book of Leviticus (known as the shalamim) is a direct answer to each of those struggles. On the surface, it’s difficult to see how a seemingly primitive, bloody, barbaric ritual such as animal sacrifice could possibly address these things. But when we understand what it means and put it into practice, we see it does exactly that.
We all long for joy. But one of the biggest obstacles to deep, lasting joy is materialism and greed. Put starkly, money has the power to rot our hearts. Enter the book of Leviticus. Although known as a “rulebook,” Leviticus is really about how God wants to transform people and the world. This week, we look at the second offering described: the minhah (or “gift”). When we understand this offering and practice what it shows us, it has the power to transform the rot into joy.
Leviticus is all about a transformation process. One of the main ways it takes place is through a series of offerings, most of which are blood sacrifices. We’re tempted in our culture to say, “Haven’t we left this behind?” But we should make sure we understand what’s actually happening before we simply move on. This first offering, the “burnt offering,” helps us to do that. There’s more transformation here than we might expect.
Leviticus is infamous for being a very difficult, and also very weird, book. And yet, for all the weirdness it contains (“Why can’t we eat shellfish?”), it addresses most of the problems that occupy our attention today: immigration, caring for our environment, poverty, violence, relationships with neighbors. This week, as we introduce the book, we see that even though Leviticus sees all those things as problems, it shows us that they are symptoms of a much bigger, much deeper problem. What is that? Join us as we begin our exploration of this amazing book.
The Bible has been the most powerful, transforming book in all of human history. It has radically changed countless cultures all over the globe, and it has been the driving force behind some of the biggest social changes in history. When coming to the Bible, we should expect that it can and will change us... but how does that work exactly? How does the Bible actually do that? How is it that the Bible has brought such radical change to so many people and places, throughout world history? Join us as we wrap up our sermon series, "The Book," and as we seek to answer the question: What can we expect from God's word? You might be surprised.
In our world, there is a growing loss of confidence and hope in anything we can really rely on. If we can’t rely on the survival of democracy, or historical institutions, or truth, or even our planet, is there anything we can really on? The Bible presents itself to us as the unchanging, eternal word of God. But getting the most out of it depends on learning how to read it. Psalm 119 offers us help on just how to do that. Join us for this week’s installment of The Book.
What is the Bible? It’s a huge, complicated, intimidating book. But do we really understand what it is? The way we answer this question is important. Because whatever you think about something determines the way you treat it and its implications for your life. Therefore, what we think about the Bible determines the way we will approach it, and its implications for our lives. Join us this week as we continue our series on The Book.
Is the Bible really the Word of God? Many in our culture would claim that the Bible is really just a power-play; the theological preference of those who happened to win the battle for doctrinal supremacy. Others would say that the Bible is merely one example among many of God's words to humanity. But the testimony of the Christian Church is that the Bible is the definitive, authoritative, final Word of God. But how do we know? How do we have confidence that this particular book, and no other book, is God's Word? How do we know that that it is really God's Word and not someone else's? Please join us as we seek to find answers to these questions in the second week of our sermon series on the Bible: "The Book."
What is the most powerful object on planet earth? Money? The Atom bomb? The internet? According to history the most powerful object ever to exist is the Bible... seriously! Every time the Bible has been introduced into a culture it has caused radical change. Every time the people of God have rediscovered God’s Word in their own language, revival and renewal breaks out. The Bible has been the primary force behind some of the biggest social changes and progress we have seen throughout human history. SO if we want to see radical change, in our own lives, in our communities, in our city, in our nation, or in our world, we need the Bible! But why is that? Why do we need God to speak to us? Join us as we look for an answer to this question. And please continue to follow along throughout our 5 week sermon series on The Book.
In a pluralistic society, where everyone has such different beliefs, it’s very difficult to be honest about who we are and what we believe, yet still live at peace with one another. The temptation is to hide what we believe (leading to fear) or impose what we believe in a shrill, insensitive way (leading to anger). For the Christian, this is especially challenging. God’s mission is to bring healing and renewal to the whole world, and he calls every Christian to be a part of that. How do we share that message in a way that creates peace, rather than destroys it? In this passage, Paul shows us how.
How does the gospel change what we would call unjust and oppressive structures and systems? We are often (understandably) frustrated with the social and cultural prescriptions we find in the Bible. If the only the thing Bible gave us was a prescription, then it would be hopelessly out of date for any other age. But the Bible gives us something much better. Embedded in the prescriptions for that age, are principles for every age. When we learn to see, understand, and apply the principles, we find the gospel has power to bring deep lasting change to the world.
What kind of community would you love to be a part of? Human beings are wired for community. So one of the most painful experiences is being cut off from community. And one of the most life-giving experiences is to be part of a flourishing community. This passage offers us a picture of the kind of community we were created for, and also gives us the resources we need for the difficult work of being part of that community.
Most people imagine that something like evil exists. But we also have a tendency to imagine that it’s some extreme category of wickedness perpetrated by especially wicked people, but not us. We see ourselves as immune. But what if we’re not? What if we’re all participants? And what if the only way the world can experience renewal is if we experience it ourselves? That’s what the second half of the letter to the Colossians is all about: renewal. Join us as we begin looking at it in this passage.
Interest in spirituality has skyrocketed over the past 20-30 years. Even though formal religious activity is declining, people are still deeply spiritually thirsty. We yearn to find comfort, meaning, hope, and some measure of control in a world that frequently feels desperately out of control. But is there such a thing as one, true spiritual path? In the second half of his letter to the Colossians, Paul begins to lay out just such a path. Join us as we begin looking at it.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to feel judged by Christians, whether you are in the church or out of it. In fact, this judgmentalism is why many leave the church or avoid it completely in the first place. What is behind this problem? Why do Christians fall prey to it? And what is the cure? Join us this week as we continue our series in the book of Colossians.
One of the biggest concerns in our contemporary society is the danger of oppressive systems. And one of the main ways these systems are perpetrated is through what’s known as “meta-narratives,” which is simply a way of referring to grand stories that tell us the truth about the way the world really is. In this passage, Paul warns us to “Watch out for oppressive meta-narratives!” What stories is he talking about? And why are they so dangerous? Welcome to this week’s installment in our series on Colossians.
Our culture is filled with many different narratives about what is true and what is good for people. Many of these narratives would claim sympathy, even alignment, with the gospel. But they are in fact counterfeit gospels. In this passage, the apostle Paul is deeply concerned to alert the Colossians to this danger, and help them through it. The only way to tell if something is counterfeit is to know how to identify the genuine article. Join us this week as Paul helps us learn how to identify the genuine gospel.
One of the strange realities of life is that people respond to suffering, even the same suffering, in different ways. Why is that? And especially, is it possible to find a way to say, as Paul says at the beginning of the passage, “I rejoice in my sufferings?” Who would even want to say that? If it were possible to find something that would give your suffering meaning, and lead you into a deeper joy, would you be interested in finding out more? Join us this week in our ongoing study of Colossians.