There is a way to read this passage that will send you to hell—not just the place of eternal punishment that our confession of faith speaks of, but a life of hell here on earth. This misreading of today’s text is the way most people understand the story of the Good Samaritan, in fact, quite likely many of us read it.
But if we miss what Jesus is saying, we’re in for a hell of our own making.
Title: A Word about Compassion
Text: Luke 10.25–37
- the expert’s question
- the expert’s assumption
- Jesus’ question
The year 2017 marks the five hundredth anniversary of one of the most significant events in church history: Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of Wittenberg Chapel. His action ignited such a revolution, not just in Germany but all over the world, that it is considered the starting point of the Protestant Reformation.
But the case could be made that the Reformation began about a hundred years earlier, a little further south. For the life, integrity, and eventual martyrdom of John Hus were an early challenge to the authority of the Pope, and a harbinger of the reforms that would come.
Title: John Hus
Text: Romans 8.18–25
- Three stories converge
- Great Western Schism
- Czech Reform Movement
- John Wycliffe
- Three acts
- Hus at Bethlehem Chapel
- Hus in exile
- Hus on trial
image courtesy of Warner Bros.
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the title character stumbles upon a fascinating object, the Mirror of Erised. Professor Dumbledore informs him that it tells neither the present, nor the future, nor the past. Instead it reveals “the deepest, most desperate desires of our hearts.”
J. K. Rowling’s mesmerizing invention underscores something about human nature: we do not merely exist. We want something. We’re headed somewhere. And as the philosopher James K. A. Smith convincingly argues in his book, You Are What You Love, that something we long for is a kingdom—not just a private Eden, but a world of human flourishing.
And while such a world is everyone’s desire, humanity is no closer to it than our earliest ancestors. Why are we so incapable of producing such a world? And for Christians especially, how do we justify our claim that Jesus is King of kings while our world is still in such a mess? Where is the good life, the ideal world, the human flourishing we all long for?
Title: A Word about Fruitfulness
Text: Luke 8.4–15
Here’s a preview of what’s ahead for our church family this weekend.
During the month of January, you’ll notice tables set up around the building where you can fill out a name tag to wear during the service. Not only will this simple gesture reduce awkwardness when greeting one another, more importantly it will help us continue to build a strong community here at First. Thank you for your participation.
We begin Sunday morning at 9.45am with classes for all ages. Please take children to the Chapel for check-in. Adults can head to Gano Chapel, where I will continue the discussion on church governance. The passage we will discuss is Ephesians 4.1–16
. I invite you to read and ponder it ahead of Sunday morning.
Sunday worship begins at 11am. The songs we’ll sing include Praise to the Lord the Almighty, Behold Our God, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed, The Power of the Cross, and Let Your Kingdom Come. I’ll continue my series on Jesus’ parables on Luke. Read Luke 8.4–15
as you prepare your heart to worship.
Annual Corporate Meeting (continued)
Last week’s meeting was adjourned until 1pm this Sunday. There is but one matter left to be discussed and voted on: the annual budget. Members are strongly encouraged to attend.
New Members Class
We’re organizing a new class for anyone interested in learning more about our church and how to become a member. Please contact Nick Peterson
or Clarice Turnbull
if you’d like more info.
image courtesy of Stephen J. Quirke
We began a series last week called Transformative Stories. These are the stories, the parables, that Jesus told as recorded in the gospel of Luke. These parables were told at a historical point in time and resulted from specific situations.
In last week’s passage, Christ’s transformative story arose from a question about His disciples: “Why do John’s disciples fast and pray, as well as the Pharisees, but Your disciples do not?”
This week Jesus’ parable is in response to a situation, one that would have shocked the onlookers. But nothing was quite as shocking as what Jesus would have to say about it.
Title: A Word about Forgiveness
Text: Luke 7.36–50
- the Pharisee
- the woman
- the Savior