design courtesy of Ottoman Creative Group
One of the first people I shared our theological vision with is not a member of First. In fact, he’s not even a Christian. One night we were hanging out, talking about work, and he asked me what I’d been working on. Well, that was this vision. So I shared it with him, and we discussed it for the next half hour. When I was done, he said, “Wow. I’ve seen a lot of churches and religious communities over the years. But I’ve never seen one like that.” I replied, “Neither have I.’
A community like this might seem like a dream, but it’s precisely what we see in today’s passage—a beautiful, loving, sacrificial community. We may have experienced bits and pieces of this kind of community. But why haven’t we enjoyed it in full?
Title: A People of Love
Text: Acts 2.40–47
image courtesy of intentblog
By virtue of our union with Christ, we are a people of hope. It is true that because of Jesus we have hope. But there’s much more: since the hope isn’t bound to one subgroup of people or a single nationality, we are carriers of this hope to those without it.
So how does this hope change the way we live?
Title: A People of Hope
Text: Acts 16.11–18
- the slave girl
photo courtesy of loveisasmallworld
How should our liturgy shape the way we think about this year’s bitterly divisive presidential election, and the way we act towards those with strongly different opinions?
Title: The Passing of the Peace
Scripture: John 20.21
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Last Sunday we began a new series focusing our attention on Jesus’ vision for our church. We looked at Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17, and saw that through the gospel the Spirit has made us a community of faith, a community of hope, and a community of love. I’ve tried to sketch out that vision in a diagram you’ll see attached to this sermon.
What does it mean for us to be a community of faith? Our text today illustrates three different ways the Scriptures speak about faith, and shapes what it means for us to be a community of faith.
Title: A Community of Faith
Text: Acts 13.42–52
photo credit: Michael Toomey
When you come to church, what do you see? I would guess that the first time you came here, what you really noticed was this building: the imposing facade on the corner of 79th and Broadway, the enormous sanctuary (especially by upper west side standards), the beautiful roseate window. Or maybe when you come, what you see is worship service: the liturgy we follow, the musicians on stage, or the Scripture we consider during the message. Or perhaps what you see when you come are the people. After all that’s what a church is, right? It’s not a building but the people.
All of these are good and legitimate answers to that question. But Jesus’ prayer in John 17 unveils for us even more—a work so profound that the only historical comparison you could draw is with the Garden of Eden itself.
Title: A Refuge for the World
Text: John 17.20–26
Posted in A Refuge for the World
Tagged A Refuge for the World, Christ's intercession, Glory, Humanity, Humanness, Image of God, Imago Dei, John 17, Prayer, Psalm 8, Renewal