Every human being longs for significance. We long to know that our lives matter, and that we have worth and value. The problem is that our significance in this world is completely tied to our performance. As long as we’re performing well, we feel good about ourselves. But if we’re insecure about our performance, we’re insecure about ourselves. That means that everyone experiences insecurity at times in life. This passage has a lot to show us about our problem with insecurity, and God’s remedy for it.
Names are important in the Bible. Your name is the public manifestation of your character, essence, and identity. So when God tells us his name in this passage, he’s saying, “This is who I am.” So who is this God? What is he like? This passage shows us. It therefore holds great importance for all people. For non-believers, it helps work through the objection that it’s intolerant and freedom-robbing to say you have the one, true God. But for believers this is just as important, because anytime you have a distorted or deficient understanding of God, it leads to distortions in our lives. Join us as we explore what it means that God has a name.
Exodus is one of the best books for our late-modern, pluralistic culture. Even though surveys indicate levels of formal religious participation are down, levels of spirituality are up. Its not that people aren’t looking for God. They’re just looking for God in different places. That makes this passage incredibly relevant for us. Because it shows us what it looks like to encounter absolute spiritual Reality - to meet the real, true, and living God. Join us this week as we see how that happens.
Have you ever felt like your life is on the slow track? Or on a detour? Or even worse, like you messed it up so badly you can never get it back on track? In this passage from Exodus, Moses was in the same exact place. And yet we find out that his life was not on a detour. He was in God’s school to prepare him for God’s purpose? What does that mean? Join us as we take a look.
It’s often very difficult to see any evidence of God’s work in the world. Especially when we’re confronted with a world full of pain and suffering, trusting that God is doing anything about it is difficult, if not impossible. That’s where the book of Exodus, and particularly this passage help us. This week we continue our journey through the book of Exodus, and we ask the question, “How does Gods’ salvation come into the world?”
Every religion or spiritual option has its own version of salvation. Even secular worldviews seek to provide answers to two timeless questions. What’s wrong with the world? And what’s the solution? Your answer to those questions is your theology of salvation. The Bible says the problem is sin, and the solution is salvation. But it’s very hard to get out from underneath all the cultural baggage attached to those words and come to an accurate understanding of what they really mean. Exodus is one of the best places to strip away the baggage. This week we introduce the story by looking at how Exodus helps us to understand what salvation really is.
This week, we welcome guest preacher Rev. Irwyn Ince. Irwyn is the Director of Grace DC Institute for Cross-Cultural Missions, and a passionate teacher and advocate for the reconciling, renewing mission of God to to heal our divided world. In this episode, Irwyn looks at the famous story of the tower of Babel from Genesis 11, and what it teaches us about our biggest problems, and God’s greatest solution.
As we finish this series on the Holy Spirit, we come to the topic of spiritual gifts. Whenever conversations about the Hoy Spirit arises, this is the topic that seems to come up most often. Unfortunately, there is either almost an obsessive focus on this subject, while other churches don’t talk about it at all. This passage, however, is one of the best places to look, because it shows us what the gifts are actually for. And in so doing, it shows us what it means to be the church. Welcome to this week’s episode!
One of the primary things the Holy Spirit does in our lives is to unite us to Christ. But what exactly does that mean? And what difference does it make in our lives? Join us this week as we look at one of the all-time classic passages in the Bible that help us to understand this life-changing work of the Holy Spirit.
In week one of our series on the Holy Spirit, we looked at who the Holy Spirit is. This week, we continue by asking the question: What does the Holy Spirit actually do in our lives? We’ll spend the next three weeks answering that question. But we begin by looking at the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration (to use the word the apostle Paul uses here). Guest preacher Tim Page helps us to see three dimensions of the Spirit’s regenerating work in our lives. Thanks for joining us!
When it comes to the Holy Spirit, few topics generate more questions, or more controversy. But this is arguably one of the most important and central components of the Christian life. So for the next four weeks, we are looking at the subject of the Holy Spirit. This week, we begin by looking at what Jesus himself had to say about who the Spirit is, and what the Spirit does.
Most of us don’t think we have a problem with money. In fact, most of us would rather not talk about it at all. But the fact that we would rather not talk about it is a potential indicator that we desperately need to talk about it. This passage in James helps us understand why money is so spiritually dangerous. But it also gives us a unique and counter-intuitive way to find freedom from materialism and a greater sense of coherence and stability in our lives.
Every human being longs for deep, meaningful community with other human beings. But we also know that anytime we get in community, it’s difficult. Unfortunately, this is often especially so in the church. In this passage, James actually addresses this reality head on by calling out the quarreling and fighting in the church. But he also offers us a far deeper diagnosis of where such community breakdown comes from, and the stunning solution that offers us all hope for the restoration of community.
One of the most challenging areas of our lives, and one of the most painful areas of our lives, is words. It’s challenging because we all have things we regret saying. It’s painful because there are things that have been said to us that have caused damage. Words have incredible impact for good, or harm, in our lives and in our world. Because of that, this is one of the areas of our lives most in need of healing. But how does that happen? This passage in James gives us a powerful answer.
One of the most basic thrusts of the gospel message is that we are not saved by our own works, but by the work of Jesus Christ for us on the cross. In other words, the gospel does not say, “God accepts you because you’re a good person.” The gospel says, “God loves and accepts you because Jesus was good on your behalf. You are loved and accepted because of his works, not your own.” This passage, however, seems to conflict with all of that! Is the Bible self-contradictory, as many assert? Or is it possible that we misunderstand what James is saying? Join us this week as we look more deeply at an issue that is essential to the heart of the gospel.
This passage is the first of a number of “tests” James offers to help us determine the authenticity of our faith in Jesus. James says that our relationship to the poor is one of the primary ways we are to follow Jesus. But he goes much farther than simply commanding Christians to care for the weak and the poor (although he certainly does that). James helps us to understand what needs to happen in our own hearts in order to make us people of true justice and mercy.
The book of James is about how to do life as a follower of Jesus. But following Jesus doesn’t fit into our typical religious categories. Christianity is famously a religion of grace. We are not saved by what we do, but what God has done for us. That means, on the one hand, that Christianity is not primarily a check list of do’s and don’ts. But on the other hand, that grace actually brings an even stronger call to obedience in our lives. How? Join us as we explore this passage.
The book of James is all about how to do life as a follower of Jesus. That makes it one of the most practical books in the Bible. That practicality shows up in the opening passage, which is all about how to get ready for suffering. James (and the whole Bible) is very realistic about life, and especially life as a Christ-follower. He says that if you become a Christian, you should expect your life to get harder in many ways. This passage helps us to get ready for the reality of suffering by giving us a vision for God’s purposes in the midst of it.
Tim Keller (best-selling author and pastor emeritus at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC) has called this psalm “the key to handling life.” In other words, no matter what you’re going through, no matter what you’re experiencing, no matter what you’re facing, this psalm gives you the resources you need to handle it. That’s an impressive claim, and this week, we take a look at how this psalm more than lives up to it.
Petition is a formal way of talking about asking God for our deepest needs. It’s the most basic of prayers, but it’s also fraught with challenges, the biggest one being our fear that God will not give us what we ask, or even worse, that he will ignore us. Many people have had their hearts broken or lost their faith in God precisely because of this. This psalm has much to teach us, not just about how to go about asking God for our needs, but the deeper heart dynamics that must be resolved if we’re truly going to find satisfaction for our desires.