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.
Everyone needs hope, and we will all try to find it somewhere. Many things promise to give it to us, but in one way or another, they all fail. There is only one hope that can give us what we need to face life and stand firm, and that is Jesus. Join us this week as we continue our study in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.
The gospel of Jesus presents itself as the story of everything. It also invites us to look at other stories and see, not just what about them is false, but what about them is true and good, yet lacking the ability to fulfill our longings. No account of reality can be proven beyond a doubt. But we can ask the question, “Which story makes best sense of the world we experience?” Join us as we examine the gospel story and see what it tells us about God, ourselves, and the world.
Throughout history, one of the biggest questions people have asked is, “What is the good life?” Not just a pleasurable life, but a meaningful, fruitful life. This is hugely important, because every day we make decisions about what we’re going to do, what we’re going to focus on, what we’re going to love, value, and give ourselves to, on the basis of some vision of the good life, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. In this passage (really it’s a prayer), Paul gives us what we really need to find answers.
One of the most dangerous things in the world is when you think you “get” something, but you really don’t. The more important something is, the more disastrous the results if you get it wrong. This is especially true with the gospel. Paul writes his letter to the Colossians because he wants to make sure they get it. In these first few verses he shows us something so central to the gospel that you can’t really get it if you don’t get this: grace.
We all want this world to be a better place. But making that world a reality is a different story. We can devote our lives to making the world a better place, but still feel that nothing we do makes any difference. So one of the biggest questions we can ask is: Is there any real hope for the world? And if so, what is our role in that? In this passage, Jesus helps us by giving us three things. A vision for the world, a mission for our lives, and the power we need for that mission.
Human beings are meaning-makers. We can’t help but seek meaning in events. That’s what Peter and John are doing in this passage. They see the empty tomb of Jesus and the grave clothes lying there and ask, “What does this mean?” Why the focus on the grave clothes? They give us three powerful reasons the resurrection of Jesus Christ matters in your life and in this world. Join us as we learn more.
Sometimes we don’t realize what we really need until it’s taken away. But sad as that is, it can be a real gift, because it can change you. This story is kind of like that. Everything that happens here is a response to the death of Jesus. But it transformed these two men. And it can transform you also, if you see what happened to them.
We’ve all had defining moments in our lives; experiences that have changed us, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. But what if there was a an experience that had the power to change you for good that would make all other defining experiences pale in comparison? That’s what John had in this passage. And he says it’s available to us too. It’s all in the blood and the water. Join us as we explore it more deeply.
Our individual lives - our questions, struggles, hopes, and fears - are inescapably bound up in the state of the world we live in. That means one of the biggest questions we can ask is: Where do you find a healing for the world that makes a real difference in your own life? Is real hope and healing available for both our lives and the world? The cross of Jesus Christ is the most profound, significant, and transformative answer ever offered. It’s real healing for your life and the world. How? Join us this week as we look at the crucifixion of Jesus.
Do you ever wonder what you are supposed to be? If you have some destiny, some purpose, some calling, something you were born for? This passage appears to be the last place that might have anything to say to that. But in reality it takes far deeper into that question that we can possibly imagine. Because this passage shows us the truth about humanity: both the glory it was created for, and the ruin it has become.
For many people, politics feels more real than just about anything else. It seems like the weight of the world and the hope of humanity rests on the outcome of various elections. In contrast, the death and resurrection of Jesus often feels inconsequential, particularly when we face the problems and challenges of our world. That’s why this passage is so necessary and helpful. Because it shows us what it means to say that Jesus is King, and what his kingdom actually means for this world.
This passage is a shocking passage, because one of its main messages is that we all reject God in one way or another, whether we are secular, agnostic, religious, or somewhere in the midst of those things. How do we reject God? Why do we reject God? And what does God do about it? Join us this week as we begin a new series asking the question: "Why did Jesus die?"
Our culture has a unique understanding of and emphasis on freedom. We say, “Everyone should be free to live however they want as long as they don’t harm someone else.” But the longing for freedom is something all people have shared throughout history. In this passage, Jesus offers us a truer, deeper freedom. But it means letting go of the freedom we think we want in order to receive the freedom we really need. Tune in to this week’s message to learn more.